We recently discovered a supervisor/subordinate sexual relationship that ended in 2006. It is alleged the supervisor threatened the subordinate with termination if she stopped the relationship. The subordinate was dismissed three years ago for an unrelated violation of policy/law.
If we investigate, can we discipline/terminate the supervisor now? Otherwise, what is the point of starting an investigation.
The subordinate is not bringing and is barely cooperating with the review. She cannot file with the EEO because the SOL has expired. EEOC Guidelines state the employer is obligated to stop the harassment;there is no allegation that he is harassing any current employees. Even though we are an "at will" state, would it be right to go back now and take action?
The short answer is yes, you can legally discipline the supervisor now. My first question would be why did it take so long to learn about this? Did an employee who claims to have been adversely affected by the relationship recently complain? Or, was this something that you learned about through workplace gossip. I think your approach should differ depending on the answer. If you do choose to address this now, you should make sure to do a thorough and complete investigation. Sexual harassment often comes down to a he-said/she-said situation. It may turn on credibiity determinations. I think it would be very difficult to find the supervisor guilty if the subordinate refuses to cooperate with the investigatiom. You would be well-advised to consult with an experienced employment attorney.
This response is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney-client relationship.