Can a company be liable for putting a spouse in a position that leads to adultery and eventually divorce?

My wife previously worked at a major cable provider. She held 3 different positions while there. She worked in a call center, where she was constantly being threatened about performance. She moved to the retail lobby, where the same thing occurred. Leading to her taking her final position with the company where she met the man she eventually left me for. The stress, travel and long hours away from her husband and children drove her into the arms of another man. Her employer had the ability to monitor the interactions while on company time, but failed to do so properly. My wife had a well documented brain injury and neurological condition during this time. Her employer was made aware of the happenings but failed to do anything beyond notifying my wife that I had contacted them, which in turn caused a further divide between us. As a result, my children have suffered the undue stress and rigors of divorce. I personally have suffered an insurmountable amount of stress and financial burden as a result of the neglect by the employer. I want to know if they can be held accountable for the pain and suffering of my family.

Asked on September 19, 2017 under Personal Injury, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, they are not liable for your marital difficulties:
1) First, employment in this nation is "employment at will"--not only does that mean an employer can terminate an employee at any time, but it also means and employee can quit an unpleasant or stressful job whenever she likes. If the job was too stressful or the time away from home too extensive, your wife could have left and found other employment. She chose to stay; the employer is not liable for any consequences of her voluntary choice.
2) There is no causal link: stress and hours away from home do not cause marital discord or infidelity. Many people work long hours and/or travel extensively without having marital problems. (If stress and/or time away from home caused divorces, there would be no married soldiers or sailors--or traveling salesmen, or business consultants with clients who are not local, and very few married doctors or lawyers, for example.) Without a direct causal link, there is no liability.
3) An employer has no duty to preserve your marriage--it's simply not something required of them. Without a duty to do something, there is no liability.

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