This case involves a factory manager in Mexico who was accused of having an inappropriate relationship with her supervisor, thereby creating a conflict of interest. The roles held by the factory manager as well as her supervisor required total impartiality by both employees, which was compromised by their romantic involvement with one another. When the relationship was discovered, the factory manager was immediately demoted following an exhaustive internal review of her conduct. After being demoted, the former manager brought suit against the company, claiming that the internal investigation was not impartial and that the findings were not reliable.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Have you dealt with similar issues over the course of your career as a human resources professional?
- 2. Can you describe the standards for reporting and dealing with romantic affairs in the workplace?
- 3. Do you have experience in an international context?
Expert Witness Response E-007856
The role of comptroller and factory manager requires independence on the part of the comptroller. The decision to demote the factory manager would seem to solve the independence problem without having to fire the manager or the comptroller and still permits them to continue their relationship. Also of relevance is the company’s policies regarding relationships between employees. There might also be an issue of this particular country’s law or custom. If I were to take on this assignment I would require that my report would be completely independent which would allow me to provide the very best advice and recommendations to the client. I would have the long-term interests of the company and its global operations in mind.
Expert Witness Response E-008063
I certainly dealt with similar issues while working at a leading employment law firm. This case seems straightforward to me; if the company had a policy mandating that intra-firm romantic affairs be reported, then appropriate action must be taken when a violation is discovered. Though I have worked for companies with international reach, the international aspect is not particularly important in my analysis. I have served as an expert on cases like this and have been published both on internal investigations and workplace romances.