Do I have a case for sexual harassment if a business relationship is dependent uponre-establishing apersonal relationship?

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Do I have a case for sexual harassment if a business relationship is dependent uponre-establishing apersonal relationship?

Approximately 4 months ago I entered into discussions about joining a start-up firm. The CEO and I became personally involved. Prior to deciding to enter into the relationship, we had numerous open and direct conversations about separating business from personal; specifically we agreed that we had tremendous synergy on the business side so if the personal side did not work out it would not affect the other. As it turns out the personal relationship did not work and he terminated the business deal. However he made it clear in a subtle way that if I would reconsider the personal, the business side would continue.

Asked on July 7, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You may have a cause of action--the issue is whether you are seeking employment (or were terminated from employment) or whether there is some other partnership, deal, contractual relationship, etc. involved; it's not clear from your question. The reason this matters is that anti-discrimination law prevents discrimination in *employment*--that is, in being an employee of someone or some company. It does not actually prevent discrimination more generally in business, so, for example, it is ok (legally; not morally) for someone to refuse to enter into a business deal or a contract with someone with whom he or she is not romantically or sexually involved. So if you have been discriminated in employment, you may well have a cause of action and should speak with an employment attorney.


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