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Fair Measures, Inc. - Legal Training for Managers

Question & Answer

Can consensual sex lead to a harassment claim? 02-01-2006

I am a male manager and while in a local bar encountered two of our female employees. This was in no way connected to work and I do not oversee these two nor do I have much of an opportunity to see them in the workplace. After some drinks and dancing one of the employees and myself became intimate in a private area of the bar. It was consensual. We are both married so this was hardly appropriate of course, but could it be considered sexual harassment?

Rita Risser replies:

This is an example of the difference between something that is illegal and something that is stupid. If, as you say, it was consensual, it is not illegal sexual harassment. However, if she regrets it, or a rumor starts back at work, or she tells her husband, who knows what could happen. Your compromising situation could be turned into a claim of sexual harassment. At this point all you can do is hold your breath and wait to see what happens.

Good luck.

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