Chuckles brings us this:
I’m the owner of a business with about 30-40 employees. Recently, I found out that one of my employees has been having an affair with my wife. The employee has worked for me for 4 years. I felt like I was his mentor, since I recruited straight from university, taught him the ropes, and promoted him to a leadership role for one of our main products.
My wife has since left me. I’ve spoken to him, and he says he’s sorry about what’s happened but he’s also not leaving. He says his relationship with my wife should not be a work matter and he’s put too much work into the company to just get fired just because I’m the boss.
I’m bitter and would like him to leave the company, but I’m also realistic. He has been an important part of the company. He’s the oldest employee that’s still around, he knows the application inside out, and while I wouldn’t say he’s indispensable, he’s close to it. At the same time, every time I see his face, I feel like that just kills me inside.
As his superior, what can I do in this situation? We’re a close knit bunch but nobody knows about these personal issues at work. Right now, I’m acting as professionally as I can.
One of the commenters answered:
In your shoes I would first speak to someone well-versed in employment law and see if their actions constitute a breach of trust. Their actions have clearly affected your working relationship to a point at which it is untenable (and I have to say I am impressed with your level of professionalism thus far – not sure I could manage that!)
I think it’s optimistic to assume that your working relationship will improve over time, and I believe that assuming it’s not breaking the law you should get him out as soon as possible.
When you say
… he’s put too much work into the company to just get fired just because I’m the boss …
I would say that any potential firing would not be ‘because you’re the boss’: it would be primarily driven by the lack of trust in your relationship (I cannot see how you could ever trust him again.
His tone seems to be quite arrogant, and this may spill into his working practices (which I would investigate as much as you can) – being the most versed in the company in a given area does not mean that you are necessarily working appropriately, or that no one else could come in and improve performance.
My comment is that it’s possibly best not to hire some goons for a short reminder to the employee of his folly but you must sack the bastard forthwith, on the grounds stated above about trust and gross misconduct, which you’d have in your employment conditions of course. The thing you don’t do is put it to a forum.
With that done, you then turn your attention to the ex-wife, not harassing her but making things decidedly difficult in perpetuity, stymying her future career for a certain time, short of harassment and within the law of course, then shut both the f***s out of your head from then on and just attend to business as usual.
The difficult bit is shutting it out but it can be done. And there is such a thing as karma.