Dinesh Divekar
Business Mentor, Consultant And Trainer
Industrial Relations
Presently Working As Dy Manager Hr &
Team Lead - On Campus Recruitment Exec- Freelance
Trainer & Od Consultant
+1 Other

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Hi All,

This issue is currently happening in one of my friends MNC. The Manger and his subordinate has some illegal affair because of that the other team members were disgusted and they are cornered . Some examples below ,

The subordinate will do nothing apart from chatting with the communicator.

The Manager and Subordinate will discuss min of 3hrs per day inside the conference room

If someone complains about the subordinate those persons will be cornered

Whenever there is an escalation , Manager always save the subordinate and pass the bug to the other teammates.

Whoever complains this to HR dept , they will not be given any appraisal and they will be mentally tortured by the manager .

There are no other senior managers who can look into this issue , because he is the one who controls all.

Both the Manager and subordinate already married.

There is absolutely no problem with respect to their personal relationship but when it affects the other team members then its is an issue. Hence , bringing it to this forum for a better solution.

If you can help on this, please post your suggestions.


From United States, Santa Ana
Dear Jai,

First about the heading of your post. Let me apprise you that affairs are always "Illegal" and never "legal". Therefore, the word "illegal" is extra.

Your location shows that you are from US. Is it true? I ask this question because much depends on the national culture as well.

Your post shows the how HR remains disconnected with the average occurrences of the company. By now HR should have got a feel the workplace affair. They could have taken steps to nip this affair in bud. That these things happen in MNC speaks volume of HR's role in the some MNC.

Workplace romance happens anywhere and everywhere. However, sooner HR comes to know this then they should step in and counsel.

Now coming to solution. What am I going to suggest could be insidious. You have to do this surreptitiously. You need to do sting operation. Try taking photographs or video of the pair who engages in the workplace romance. Send the clips by post to the Managing Director of the company. Send the letter anonymously. In the letter write where it is happening and how HR is passive to this. Write in the letter that if the affair is not stopped then the clips will be made public. Hope better sense prevails once matter reaches at the highest level. Never disclose to anyone what you will do.

Sometimes when you do not have sufficient power, you need to go against your conscious.


Dinesh Divekar

From India, Bangalore
Dear Mr Divekar and Lifeskills, I have slightly different views on this:

I am not sure about the legality of the situation. While I feel an extra-marital affair is certainly immoral and unethical; i'm not sure whether it is flat-out illegal.

Now coming to the situation, I wonder what the original post means by saying the employees are 'cornered.' If 2 people are having extra marital affair, I think the team members should not confront anyone as long as the work is not getting affected. Let's accept it, if it's happening my mutual consent, it is nobody else's business!

Now coming to the manager, what is his performance like? If he is spending 3 hours chatting and still gets his targets / KRAs on time, then I don't know if we can and should micromanage his daily activities and keep a very close eye.

To reiterate my view, I feel that the colleagues, line manager/HOD and HR should only get involved in the affair in so far as the work and the climate is getting affected.

Having said all this, my views are not definitive but rather tentative. I tend to be non-judgmental and detatched towards such murky (immoral and not downright illegal) behavior of people.

From India, Mumbai
Dear Aditya,

I request you to read the post once again. Following can be deduced from the post and my reply:

a) Nothing wrong in having "affair" as such, however, what matters is the choice of place. consensual or otherwise, why engage in sexual activities during working hours? There are abundant places.

b) Imagine some couple is flirting around next to one's cabin. Your post intends to say that others should be mute spectator since it is none of their business. Sorry, this is not professional conduct.

c) For this very reason, professional companies make "Policy on Workplace Romance". Attraction towards opposite sex is fine but let us keep it off the workplace.

d) The post says that for granting sexual favours, the subordinate woman employee is given concessions. She keeps on chatting during working hours. Is this right? Does merit has no value?

e) The most important point you have missed out is "Sexual Harassment". What if today's romance turns into sexual harassment case for tomorrow? Why we should get into this unwanted activity at all? It is better to keep the workplace neat and clean.

e) These instances vitiate company's culture. What if other managers start demanding sexual favours from their woman subordinates? Will it not convert workplace into den of promiscuous people? Secondly, under such circumstances working as male employee will become almost a crime because he has nothing to offer. Thirdly, what if some woman employee refuses to oblige? Fourthly, what if some woman smartly generates evidence of harassment and then reports to National Council for Women (NCW). Can you imagine the repercussions?

In my last post I have criticised HR of that company because it is HR who is protector of the company's culture. The response of the HR is muted one. These very people will go to some five star hotel and give lecture on leadership and back home develop cold feet for being forthright. That surprises me most.


Dinesh Divekar

From India, Bangalore
Dear Aditya
Nothing is wrong to have extra marital affairs by the manager and subordinate outside the office premises. There no one question the manager and the subordinate who are involving themselves in extramarital affairs. Once they enter inside the office premises, then obviously they must behave like the manager and subordinate and not like other way.
The reply given by Mr. Dinesh is the correct way to handle the scenario. If the person caught by the wrong doers then also the problem is for the person who reported to the Management and HR Department. Hence sending the video clippings and photographs of the Manager and subordinate by maintaining the anonymity is 100% correct. Because the survival is must for the person reporting the wrong act.

From India, Kumbakonam
Mr Divekar, I guess you are right. It seems to be the case of solicitation, bias and abuse of power along with the extra marital affair.
From India, Mumbai
Thank you for the suggestions but the ground reality is " NO ONE CAN DO / GO AGAINST THE MANAGER " . Neither the TL nor the PL can question subordinate. One guy reported about her worst performance in a status meeting who was about to get his onsite but because of those comments he was withheld.
I guess this gives how serious the issue is !

From United States, Santa Ana
Dear Jai
That's the reason Mr. Dinesh has advised you to maintain the anonymity in reporting the same to the MD & HR Department with video and Photograph proof. If this was not heard by both then you can approach the media by maintaining the anonymity or reporter.

From India, Kumbakonam
Is it right to use the term illegal affair if they are already married?. This is a case of romance inside the Office on post marriage. Any how, romance at work premises are not allowed and your HR should take action against the romancing couple if proved.

From India, Lucknow
Well said Mr. Diwakar... i got bitter experiences in my 26 years of service... That is why i do not like women employment "Private Industries". Women may not agree but the men life becomes miserable when women indulge in such activities in any industry. Those women who indulge in these activities will get award of increments, promotions and relaxation every thing will be considered.. Those who complains will be cornered or made to go out.
From India, Hyderabad

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