Contacted by the boyfriend of an employee asking to stop having another employee contact her

I own a small business of 16 employees. My husband is a partial owner of the business and is a W2 employee. Part of his role as a manager is to contact our team members to give them details about their work day, answer any questions, etc. The rest of my team is female and we have never had any issue until yesterday. I was contacted by the boyfriend of an employee via text from the employee’s cell phone stating that it was inappropriate for my husband to contact the employee, and that he was not allowed to do so anymore my husband, the manager, called from the business line the day prior to leave the employee a voicemail stating that there had been a staffing change the following day and that he would send over details via email. I responded explaining that he is a manager with our company. This morning, I was contacted by the employee asking for my husband, the manager’s personal cell phone number so she could put her boyfriend’s mind at ease and text my husband, the manager, directly to tell him to stop contacting her. I have not responded. I contacted my ADP HR Services for advice on how to proceed however they are closed today. How do I proceed? This is not the first time this employee’s abusive at home relationship has worked its way into our workplace I received a very threatening email submitted through our website 1 year ago when this employee’s boyfriend thought she was working too much and not spending enough time with him and I have a team of employees aside from this employee that I need to protect. I do not want to put them at danger. I also do not know how to change the way that our management is run and do not have the finances, etc. to creatively staff so that she does not come into contact with our manager, my husband. I just want to proceed in a legal way.

Asked on June 25, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

1) You do not owe her boyfriend anything whatsoever--you don't even need to talk to him and should NOT talk to him about her or her employment. The next time he tries to call, simply say it is not appropriate to speak to a non-employee about an employee, say "good bye," tell him you are hanging up now and then hang up.
2) Have the employee sit down in an office with you and your husband and explain to her that she needs to keep her personal life, including her boyfriend, out of the business and that if she cannot or will not, you will have to terminate her. Let her know that if her boyfriend contacts you or your husband again, she will be terminated. Give her a written summary briefly stating that she understands and acknowledges that a person with whom she is in a relationship cannot contact your company, or any of the owners and managers, and that if such a person does, her employment will be terminated. Have her sign the form to show her receipt of it and keep a copy. If she won't sign, terminate her on the spot.
Then if he does contact you again, terminate her: otherwise, you are subjecting yourself to potential future harassment from him.

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