Employment Attorney Nathan Whatley Discourages Workplace Relationships

In a Sunday Oklahoman article entitled “NO FAIR Cheating: Office romance can bring about the death of career,” business writer Paula Burkes Erickson interviewed McAfee & Taft labor and employment attorney Nathan Whatley about the possible consequences workplace relationships could have on a business, especially when company executives and managers are involved.

Company executives who do not have an employment contract can be fired at will, said Whatley.  Those with contracts, though, could still be subject to dismissal if the contract allows the employer to terminate employment for acts of moral terpitude that bring disrepute upon the employer.

Whatley recommends employers discourage workplace relationships and prohibit them between managers and subordinates, as such relationships can put the company at financial risk.  Subordinates, for example, may allege they were intimidated or coerced into secret affairs, and such allegations are difficult to disprove and can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend, he said.