I saw my boss and his secretary being intimate at work but they are both married. Now my job is being threatened, what can I do?

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Question: I walked into the copy room after work last night and was shocked to find my boss and his secretary in a “very intimate” embrace. I apologized for interrupting them and left immediately. Both of these people have always claimed in the past to be happily married to other people. I’ve met their spouses at recent office parties.

This morning, the secretary told me that if I ever tell anyone what I saw, I will be dismissed before the end of the day and given a poor work reference. I’ve started feeling very nervous before going to work each morning and I think the quality of my work is starting to suffer because I feel so threatened.

I’ve been trying to forget the situation but now this woman is clearly directing her friends to stop by and ask me when I will be leaving and starting another job. Can I keep this job or should I just leave? Do I have the right to keep this position and sue on general employment discrimination or sexual harassment grounds?

Response: Retaliation by an employer and manager sexual harassment situations are never easy to deal with. It sounds like your boss and his secretary have already decided to force you out. What they’re doing is illegal but that doesn’t help you very much. To avoid acquiring a black mark on your work history when you don’t appear to deserve one, hire a lawyer that specializes in sexual harassment employment law right away who can help you choose your next steps wisely.

You have every right to try and hold on to your job. However, given the circumstances you’ve described, it may not be to your long-term advantage. A local attorney who’s helped many others handle similar employment law issues can help you pursue the most effective remedies while you consider looking for a new job.

If you really believe you can still keep moving ahead while working for this same company, tell your attorney so he or she can help you carefully document your employment file in a way that will support your efforts to stay there.

Answered by Elizabeth Smith

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