Imagine this. Your sales manager oversees a staff of fourteen sales people, about half male and half female. As sales vice president, one of the sales people comes to you (and it really does not matter whether it was a man or a woman) with a pay complaint. The complaining party tells you that the sales employees have been comparing pay stubs and it has become clear that one of the sales people has been getting higher salary increases than the rest of the sales staff. Further, the complaining party tells you that it is common knowledge that the sales manager and the highly compensated sales person have been having a long running extramarital affair. The complaining party tells you that all of the sales staff want to be brought up to the pay level of the manager’s paramour to resolve this complaint.
How are you going to respond?
Well, however you plan to respond, keep in mind that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has a specific regulation (29 CFR 1604.11 (g)) that is going to cause you some heartburn. The regulation states that “…Where employment opportunities or benefits are granted because of an individual’s submission to the employer’s sexual advances or requests for sexual favors, the employer may be liable for unlawful sex discrimination against other persons who were qualified for but denied that employment opportunity or benefit.”
So, while this is a situation which will turn on a careful review of the facts, if the manager doled out larger raises to his paramour based on their relationship, you may have to reach for your checkbook. Another good reason to be wary of workplace relationships.
Did you know?