It is legal for your manager to discuss your sex life at work?

I was recently pulled into the office by my manager. She suggested that there is a rumor stating I slept with my supervisor’s husband. I denied all accusations. I am embarrassed by situation and fear that these accusations could prevent me from receiving future promotions. I have not contacted the hr department but is planning to do so. I no longer feel comfortable in the workplace and have not returned to work since. What should I do?

Asked on September 2, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You should speak with an employment attorney--it is possible that this may constitute one or both of the following situations or causes of action:

1) Illegal sex-based discrimination or harassment at work

2) Defamation, if the manager says this to any third person or party (so anyone, other than you) and the allegation is in fact untrue. (If it is true, then it is not defamation.)

Every case is different, and the facts are critical in determing rights and options. That is why you should consult with an employment lawyer, who can evaluate all the circumstances and advise you as to your course of action. If this does constitute either 1) or 2) above, you may be entitled to compensation, so it is worth you time to speak with an attorney (many provide a free initial consultation, to evaluate a case, anyway). Good luck.


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