Manager / Subordinate Relationships

Just curious on how fucked I really am…

I am a manager at a location for a major company. A few months back, a subordinate started getting flirty with me. It was a surprise to me, as I never really work with her, and don’t actually see her at work. She only works weekends, I only work weekdays. She is married, and I’m in a long term relationship. Caught off guard, I kind of ignored her text messages for a while. She was relentless, and over a couple weeks, her texts got to the point where they were more dirty than flirty. I started with “Your married” “Sorry, that’s a bad idea, I need to keep it professional.” But eventually, I flirted back. I ended up seeing her in a bar one night, and we hooked up (Just kissing).
After that night, she relentlessly texted, sent pics, and wanted to meet up at my place. Eventually I gave in, and she came to my place and we slept together. We agreed, nothing more than hooking up, no attachments, no feelings, no talking.
We ended up sleeping together 4 more times. The girl then tells me she has feelings, how amazing I am, how we should be together, etc… I tell her no, shes married, I’m in a 8 year relationship…it would never work.

Naturally, she told a friend (Also an employee, and subordinate of mine.) Her friend is really cool with me, and likes me a lot and won’t tell anyone. Her friend advises me she talks about me constantly and obsesses over me.

After this a few months go by without issue. We still talk, she still flirts, but that’s about it until this week.

Her friend told her hairdresser with every detail - OK harmless enough, right? Well her hairdresser’s sister was working right next to her and listening in on the whole conversation. Turns out the sister is dating the subordinates brother in law. I’m thinking there’s probably no way shes not going to tell her boyfriend “Hey, your brother’s wife is fucking her boss and wants to be with him instead of your brother.” Unfortunately, her husband has serious anger issues, felony convictions, and a small arsenal. I truly fear for her safety (And I guess mine, too) if he finds out.

My question is this… Is there any chance I keep my job after all of this? Assuming if the husband finds out, work finds out. I never pursued any of this, turned her down a few times, but yes, eventually gave in- multiple times. It has not affected anything at work, I still don’t work with her, but am her direct manager. She said she’ll quit if I want her to, but I would never ask someone to do that in this situation.

And I apologize…I totally posted this in the wrong forum and feel like an ass.
If this needs to be moved, please do.

I’ve reported it for you. It’ll most likely be moved to our In My Humble Opinion forum.

Moved to IMHO from General Questions.

samclem, moderator

If I were in your position I would assume that firing is imminent, or at the least, that finding a new job soonest would be an excellent idea.

Dust off your resume and get a move on. Unemployment sucks, believe me.

Obviously your employers policy matters. Many have relatively lax policies about relationships where there’s no direct report issue. **You are her manager **even if you don’t routinely work directly with her; that’s more likely to have an actual issue with policy. You allowed her to literally and metaphorically grab you by the balls via sexual harassment claims even if there’s no clear policy. She’s obviously either been lying to you or out of touch with her feelings/motivations during this process. She’s obsessing. Her actions seem to hint at some desperation to get out of a bad situation. Oh and she’s got a whack job for a husband. If and when things blow up you might be the enemy for both (“It wasn’t my fault honey … my boss is a bad bad man and I felt trapped. Blame him not me.”) That’s certainly raises the possibility of her metaphorically boiling your career rabbit in a Fatal Attraction kind of way.

If you’ve still got your texts I’d at least keep them in case it goes down a harassment channel. Probably wouldn’t matter for saving your job but your lawyer might want them if a civil sexual harassment trial follows up.

It isn’t sexual harassment if the advances are made by her. These flirty/dirty text messages do provide proof that you didn’t abuse your position at work to get some. Don’t delete them.

Still, if you quietly start looking for a new job now, before it all blows up, you might receive an offer equal or better to what you already have and be working at a new job before anything happens. There won’t be an HR investigation or negative rumors about you if you are already about to depart for a new job before HR gets around to investigating in the first place.

You’re fucked. If you want any opportunity to save your job. You need to go and talk to HR now. Have her transferred to another manager. Get her out of your group.

When you SO finds out, try and use that line about not pursuing her at all.

Transferring departments is not really an option, as I’m the only manager in my city. I oversee everything, and all supervisors and employees in my city are my subordinates.

If it somehow doesn’t get to her husband, I’m likely OK for the time being. She’s becoming friends with her brother in laws girlfriend, and using the “You can’t tell your BF, he will tell his brother and he’ll kill me - He already hits me and told me if I cheated on him he would stab me” (He really told her that…)

It’s a shitty situation, but another job would pay substantially less…at least $25,000 - I don’t have a degree, but somehow got a management job that requires a 4 year degree based on my experience in my field alone. I won’t get that elsewhere.

I delete all my text messages from her - I am in my own relationship too. I know, dick move, terrible person, etc…
I did save the initial conversations that she initiated, which are all the ones where I said no and didn’t flirt back. They aren’t on my phone but on a text file on my computer. She did ask if I want her to quit and is willing to, which might not do any good at this point. I told her not to. She also told me she wants to move out of state so she can be with me and started applying to out of state jobs…I told her she was crazy and to stop it because we won’t ever work out together.
There’s a lot more to it, but I won’t bore you with details.

How long has this been going on? If only a month or two, there i a good chance that she will get bored with the whole thing, and nothing will ever come of it. If it’s been going on for many months, then you might be stuck with a tenacious personality issue that could be threatening. So far, you seem to be in a position where you can just deny everything.

Dude, I suggest you hide your pet rabbit now!


I’m not gonna comment on the other thing because I’m unlikely to say anything sympathetic. But the comment above indicates that you devalue your own accomplishments or think others are incapable of seeing them. You should work on that along with the other stuff.


  1. She is your direct report, or you are her boss’s boss.
  2. You don’t have the majority of the texts, nor any after the time when you finally gave in.
  3. She is not quite “there” with the situation, and looking for solutions that will end with you two walking off into the sunset.

OK, so, telling her not to quit is a bad idea. You are both in jeopardy of losing your jobs, and you should both be looking, most urgently. Also, you need to cut it out immediately, and come clean to your SO and HR. Your only hope of any good outcomes here is to come clean before they hear it elsewhere. And there’s still a good chance it ends badly. So, get your resume up to date, pronto!

I’m surprised that people advise to go to the HR and expect it will improve the situation. People on this board are extremely defiant of HR in general, and even me, who is much less so, wouldn’t envision for an instant that it would help at this point.

Yeah, there’s really no way this doesn’t blow up in the OP’s face.

It’s time to cut your losses and get the hell out.

What does your HR manual say about this situation?
While it might be hard finding another job, it will be a lot easier if you do it before you get fired for violating company policy.

But you can hope that she suddenly becomes rational, of course. And she never loses her infatuation. And never decides you’re to blame.

He’s the district manager; I think he’s likely to get the advice he needs. I also think the company has a right to know and protect itself from the coming $#!{storm.

But I do agree insofar as if it were her we were corresponding with I would probably make a different recommendation. That’s assuming, of course that she admitted to being the aggressor.

If she complains, I think there is always the view that the manager has the power in the situation and therefore is to blame. So even if he still had the messages (I wonder if the carrier can retrieve them - or the NSA) he still might be in trouble.

We would both deny, but if caught I’m certain she would admit to making the advances, me denying them initially, and eventually giving in. I doubt that would matter, however. The employee handbook leaves a ton of grey area, but does mention it and it is forbidden. She is still living under the assumption I’ll eventually break up with my long term girlfriend, she’ll divorce her husband, and we’ll live happily ever after. I’ve made her aware it would never work, and why would she ever trust me, and why would I ever trust her after this. She’s still pursuing…