Workplace Retaliation After an Intimate Relationship

Co-workers gossip about office relationships.
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Nothing leaves a more sour aftertaste than a relationship gone bad, but having to deal with workplace retaliation as a result of a sordid affair can make you feel like quitting. Snarky remarks, dirty looks and gossip can lead to insecurity, anger and depression, so you may have to address the damaged relationship before the situation spirals out of control. Reconciling to maintain a casual office friendship with your formerly intimate partner may be the best way to ease tensions and get things back on track.

Sexual Harassment Claim

    One of the most damaging and potentially career-ending results of an office break-up is a sexual harassment claim. A jolted lover, especially one who had a subordinate workplace position, might claim she stayed in the relationship because she feared being denied a promotion or felt her job was at risk. Without signed documents from both parties, it's difficult to prove the relationship was consensual. Unless her claims are justified, this type of retaliation after an intimate office relationship ends is the rock-bottom low.


    A rejected lover might not have the maturity to leave the office break-up at home and instead involves co-workers in the messy situation. She might force mutual colleagues to choose sides, encouraging them to shun, badmouth and ostracize the ex-lover. This type of workplace retaliation is usually a result of fear and anger because the offended party doesn't want to lose her standing among her co-workers. Inflicting emotional pain also helps ease her own feelings of sadness and disappointment. According to "Forbes" magazine, workplace revenge should be reported to a supervisor immediately, but sometimes the damage is already done.


    When a subordinate ends an intimate relationship with a manager or boss, the boss might retaliate by demoting the subordinate. Even though a senior-level employee should be able to rise above such contentious circumstances, she might try to sabotage her ex-lover's career. According to the arbitration website One Mediation, the loss of credibility and stories of less desirable assignments after an intra-office break-up are legendary and costly to those involved. A rejected supervisor might give the best assignments to other workers, overlook her ex-lover for a promotion or give financial rewards to other employees.

Resignation or Termination

    As a way to say, "I'll show you," a rejected lover might resign or threaten to resign. If she knows her skills are necessary to complete a project or thinks she could land a better job elsewhere, resignation threats help her manipulate the situation. She might even hope that her threats force the other person to re-establish the relationship. But, manipulation doesn't usually result in long-term reconciliation. In at-will employment states, a manager might retaliate by terminating an ex-lover just to make the whole sordid mess go away, especially if the manager is married.

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