What to do about a fling that I has with a co-worker who was subsequently terminated?

I broke it off. She was let go for reasons other than the fling(management didn’t know about it). She is trying to sue my former employer for a hostile work environment and claiming she was sober for 5 months (which wasn’t true) and the ending of the fling caused to to use drugs again. My former employer called me to let me know that legal problems are coming from her. Am I liable??

Asked on July 9, 2014 under Personal Injury, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You are most likely not personally liable, for three reasons: first, that there is likely no "reasonably foreseeable" causal link between having a fling with someone and them going back to using drugs (people are only liable for reasonably foreseeable outcomes); second, that from what you write, you were a co-worker, not a manager/supervisor, and were not not engaged in causing her to have a hostile work environment (you having an office tryst, not discriminating against her); and third, there is no general claim for compensation for a "hostile work environment" (if there was, almost everyone could sue!), but rather only for hostility against people due to certain specific, protected characteristics, such as their sex, religion, disability, race, or age over 40.

Your employer could, of course, fire (or demote, suspend, etc.) you over this if they want, regardless of whether her legal claim goes somewhere, if the feel you caused them problems.

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