Can a former employee of mine take me to court for a consensual sexual relationship?

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Can a former employee of mine take me to court for a consensual sexual relationship?

I was her supervisor. I never offered a promotion or anything of that sort before, during or after the relationship was over. She went nuts when I ended the relationship so I am worried she would try to drag me down.

Asked on December 11, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Sexual harassment or discrimination is against the law, as you know, and included under that rubric are cases where a supervisor uses his or her power to coerce an employee into sex. The threat (or promise of reward) does not always have to be explicitly stated--the power difference is sufficient that often, even without anything explicitly being threatened or offered, courts will find on that the facts, the employee either felt her job was in jeopardy or conversely, that if she had sex, she would be rewarded.

In your case, that means that is very likely this employee could at least state a sufficient case as to launch a lawsuit. Whether she could prevail will depend on all the facts--what was said, her performance reviews, whether she did or did not get any raises or promotions, etc. If you are sued, take it seriously, and get an employment law attorney to defend you.


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