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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, November 27, 2006

When to report an office affair

By Marie G. McIntyre, Ph.D.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Q. I am aware of an adulterous affair between a high-level manager and a lower-level employee. The manager is married, but he is getting a divorce because of the affair. I want to know if I should report this to top management. One of my co-workers says that what these people do in their personal lives is their own business. But since the affair started at work and seems unethical, I believe that management should know about it.

A. Top management needs to hear about business issues, not rumors and gossip. Is this illicit relationship adversely affecting the company or do you just find it personally offensive?

If this "special" manager/subordinate connection creates workplace problems, then talking with management might be appropriate. But if you go that route, don't rant and rave about their actions. That will just make you sound like the morality police. Instead, specifically describe the business problem that needs to be addressed.

However, if you are more concerned about personal morality than work, then express your views to the lovebirds, which they may or may not appreciate. Your third choice, of course, is to keep your opinions to yourself.