Most workplaces expressly forbid employees from becoming romantically involved, and an office dilemma recently described by a Redditor illustrates precisely why these rules need to be in place.
The Redditor, who goes by the name officedramaaita, took their workplace conflict to the AITA (Am I The A**hole) subReddit.
The Original Poster (OP) asked his fellow Redditors:
“AITA for not rehiring a guy who quit because I wouldn’t fire his ex-wife?”
“I’m a manager of a tight-knit department. For whatever reason, we’ve had several people from my department start dating, even get married.”
“Corporate policy used to say you couldn’t date your coworkers, but it happened so often and they couldn’t enforce it, so they just have people who want to date each other sign a form saying it’s consensual, it won’t distract the working environment, etc.”
“I have no idea if that’s legally enforceable, but we haven’t had any problems with it, except for recently, obviously.”
“One thing that I always make clear to my employees is that I don’t want to hear about their relationship drama, and I don’t want it to affect work. It’s one thing if someone was abusive or is harassing you, then you take it to HR, but if they’re texting their ex-girlfriend or some sh*t, keep that fight at home.”
“I used to have two employees, a married couple, who had the same role (for example, they were both technicians), but the wife was definitely better at her job than her husband. She was someone I felt like was constantly stepping up and went beyond the standard, someone who could certainly take on a leadership role.”
“Her husband was a fine worker, just average I guess.”
“Last year, she cheated on him and it was an absolute sh*tshow.
“I know because the husband tried to do one of those ‘expose the cheater’ things during a casual work party, which was incredibly awkward for everyone else there. I told him not to bring relationship drama into the workplace as per the form he signed, and he told me that she started it by cheating and that I should fire her for being a cheater.”
“I said I wouldn’t fire her, he kept insisting, ultimately said it was him or her and when I did not fire her, he quit.”
“Like yes, cheating is bad, but I’m her employer, not her boyfriend. I just need her to do her job, not stick to her wedding vows. Do I think she’s an a**hole for cheating? Yes. Is she an amazing employee who I still think has a lot of potential? Yes.”
“Her coworkers seem to have gotten over the incident, although I cannot even begin to tell you how awkward it was during the first month. She has a great relationship with everyone else here, and is pleasant and kind to be around. Cheaters can still be leaders, I mean, Bill Clinton was the fu*king president.”
“Anyways, I’m posting here because the guy came back and asked for his job back because he couldn’t find a job after COVID hit. His position is still open, I just don’t want to add that drama into our workplace, even if he is the victim.”
“I said he couldn’t have his job back, but I’d give him a reference to another place and he called me an a**hole because I was choosing the cheater over the victim, he was having a hard time during COVID, and he was ruined by the divorce.”
OP’s fellow Redditors were then asked to judge where the blame lies based on the following categories.
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
In this case, the choice was crystal clear.
“I would not trust him not to stir sh*t up again if he came back. I’m sorry that he got cheated on, and I’m sorry that he is struggling. But he chose to bring his relationship drama to the office, in defiance of an agreement he signed, he tried to use his relationship drama to pressure you into firing a good employee, and he chose to quit (without having a new job lined up I might add, which is a stupid move)…” —foibleSchmoible
“…who’s to say he wouldn’t make the workplace environment toxic? He already did by hosting a ‘catch the cheater’ soirée.”
“You have to look out for your other employees and see what’s also best for the greater good. This isn’t it.” —Suavecito5
“…he also attempted to humiliate and belittle his wife at a work event. That’s totally unacceptable behaviour and he should have been disciplined for it. He has violated company policy and conducted a sustained campaign against a employee of this company in her workplace. He absolutely should not be being rehired even if he agrees to her not being fired (which isn’t his business anyway).” —ACatGod
“…It’s possible the husband was a huge AH in the marriage and wife chose a method to find emotional relief understanding it might end the marriage. This doesn’t defend her actions, but it could explain them. Perhaps his work persona and his marital persona are well aligned.
He certainly likes to leave when the going gets tough.” —codeedog
“…NTA. I would decline this rehire request too. Cheating sucks, but as an employer, you’re right to keep your evaluation of your employees within your wheelhouse. Rehiring this guy is just opening the door to inappropriate workplace behavior and harassment issues.” —draphramatic
“…If you remove all the relationship stuff from the equation, he gave the boss an ultimatum. Either fire her or he quits. He quit because he didn’t get his way and had no back up plans in place and came crawling back. I’ve seen and dealt with many people like this. They don’t tend to stay long and end up being even worse at their jobs than before because they lost the moral to strive.” —irunwithknives0420
“Yeah, this guy proved he was bad news when he brought his drama into the workplace. I wouldn’t be surprised if he spent half his time (or more) at work trying to make his ex look bad and get her fired so he can “win” or just making her life so rough and annoying that she leaves (and if she’s an exemplary employee, it might not be hard for her to leave).” —anon_e_mous9669
“NTA. It’s workplace not an episode of Jerry Springer…” —Rainbow_dreaming
“This entire situation is why every corporate environment has rules against dating coworkers.” —topania
“NTA. I feel bad for the guy, but you can’t quit your job and be mad at someone else because you quit your job. I doubt he could have been cordial at work after that situation, but that sh*t isn’t on you, and it has nothing to do with your job.” —Zero132132
The moral of the story is, office drama is never worth it!