HR Says: Can I Be Fired for This?

The following is a Q&A segment between one of our readers and CAREEREALISM-Approved Career Expert, Ben Eubanks - a human resources specialist. This article series is called "HR Says."

Question

I have worked at the same restaurant for 3 years. In this time my boss Cam has been having an affair with Sandy who was in a relationship with my husband's friend Ryan. There were rumors about this affair and Cam's wife found out and filed for divorce. Meanwhile Ryan and Sandy's relationship went sour and he kicked her out of the house.

I ran into Ryan a couple days ago. Ryan asked me how long I knew about Cam and Sandy's relationship. I said for a couple months now. I did not know that Ryan was tricking me into confirming that these rumors were true. Sandy denied the affair to Ryan.

My question is can I be fired for this? I was not the whistle-blower, I mainly answered a question. Please respond. I really am nervous about the safety of my job. I am a waitress and on the books.

Answer

Dear Caught in the Middle,

Wow. This love triangle (quadrangle?) is twisted. First off, you should know you can be fired for pretty much anything. It's a sad fact, but it's true. If a manager really wants you gone they can use the smallest things just to get you out the door and blame it on "performance issues" or "bad fit." The real question is will you be fired for this?

Everything hinges on whether or not this gets back around to Cam and he holds you accountable for what has happened thus far. What do you think he would do if he found out you spoke with Ryan? Without knowing him I can't say, but this is a situation that happened outside the workplace and should not be an impact on any decision regarding your continued employment.

That said, remember what I mentioned before. If a manager wants you fired bad enough, they can usually come up with some justification to make it happen. Keep on the straight and narrow!

Ben

Ben Eubanks is a human resources expert and daily writer on his blog, upstartHR.com. While still early in his career, his passion for helping others is apparent in what he has helped create, including the HRevolution conference, a social media mentoring program for HR professionals, and numerous e-books and articles.

Read more » articles by this approved career expert.

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