Fired after sleeping with boss - need advice

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Fired after sleeping with boss - need advice

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 03, 2016 12:09 am

Alright, here it goes.

I got a job out of law school as an associate with a very small law firm in my city. I live in a very small market (~125k population), and the job opportunities for entry-level attorneys here are few and far between. I'm getting my LLM in tax online from a top 3 school. I decided to enroll part-time since I was also working full-time. The firm I worked for consisted of 4 attorneys, including me (3 associates + boss). I was busy, but happy. I love tax and have wanted to be an attorney since I was about 13 years old, so I was excited to finally be doing what I love. I woke up every day excited to get to work. Obviously it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows, and I had my fair share of frustrations, late nights, freaked out clients, and stress, but it was all manageable.

My boss was much (read: decades) older than me. He is well-respected in our legal community for the most part and has some pretty impressive experience. He was going through a nasty divorce, and so he definitely came to work angry (and stayed that way) some days, but was usually pretty friendly otherwise. He seemed to care a lot about my professional growth, and even signed up to be my mentor through our state's bar association. I got along really well with the two other associates in the office, and everything seemed to be pretty much perfect.

Then, two months later, the boss took the office out for drinks after work. We all went together, and we all drank way more than we should have. My boss began joking about how he should fire me, that I'm too expensive, that if I weren't so smart I'd have been gone a long time ago, etc. I have a pretty thick skin, and didn't really think anything of it, other than that he was drunk and just not really very funny. He bought me more drinks. If my glass was even close to empty, a new drink would appear. When we all decided it was time to head home for the evening, my boss asked me if I would give him a ride. I agreed because: 1. it's my boss, I can't tell him no, and 2. I'm not a jerk.

By the time we had reached my car, I realized that I was in no shape to be driving anywhere. I felt bad, and offered to call him a cab/get him an Uber - he was in no shape to be driving either. He said we should just go back to the office and drink some coffee and sober up a bit. It was only around 8 pm at this point, so I agreed. By the time we were upstairs in the office, he was touching me and trying to undress me. He asked me how badly I wanted to be a lawyer and what I would do to keep my job. He was being very aggressive with me physically, and, being drunk, I thought if I turned him down or tried to push him off of me he would either increase his aggression or fire me, or both. So we had sex.

Here's the thing: I'm married. Long story short, when I didn't show up at home and didn't respond to my husband's calls/texts, he came to the office and basically caught us doing it. The office was locked and he couldn't get it, but when he asked me afterwards what had happened, I told him the truth. He didn't believe me and accused me of having an ongoing affair with my boss, and referred to him as my "boyfriend". So I'm now in the middle of a divorce.

After that night, things at work went back to normal. I just pretended like it had never happened, and my boss seemed to be doing the same. Then, his wife found out (my husband told her) and I was served with a subpoena basically trying to figure out how much my boss had paid me to screw me (which was nothing, for the record). He was worried that she would be rabid as long as I was around, so he asked me to work remotely (he asked me on a Friday to begin working from home on Monday). I started working from home as an IC and was never actually fired, but just replaced in the office and given no work to actually do at home (so no hours to bill, and no income for me).

The emotional side of all of this has been awful. I feel so ashamed and guilty. I haven't been sleeping well, and I feel sick to my stomach every time I think about what happened. I can completely understand my husband's perspective - I chose my job over my marriage. What kind of person does that? I'm an attractive person - not trying to brag, just trying to paint an accurate picture. I just happen to have a very symmetrical face and I've always been active, so I'm in good shape. I tend to try to downplay my looks in professional settings rather than flaunt them, as I've found that I'm taken more seriously. I kept replaying every interaction I'd had with my boss, trying to figure out if I'd given him the wrong message somehow or if something I'd said or done could have been misconstrued by him as flirting. I'm at a loss, really.

I could go on and on about how used/ashamed/guilty/sick/disgusting I feel, but that's not actually the point of this post, believe it or not. Other than all of the personal turmoil going on, my main concerns are: 1. finding a new job, and 2. deciding what to say about my exit from this firm on my resume/in a potential interview. Should I just leave the job off of my resume? That seems somehow dishonest. Obviously I wouldn't tell the whole sordid story to a potential employer, but I also don't want to come across as flighty/flaky, and I don't want to lie. Any advice on how to handle the inevitable "why did you leave your last job" question would be greatly appreciated.

I'm leaning now towards seeing if I can switch to full-time status in my LLM program so that I can finish it more quickly. The larger law firms in this area aren't interested in hiring tax associates until they've completed their LLM degrees, so the quicker I finish that, the quicker I get a job, right?

I guess any advice as to how to get back on my feet would be super helpful. Sorry this was so long!

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xRON MEXiCOx

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Re: Fired after sleeping with boss - need advice

Postby xRON MEXiCOx » Sat Dec 03, 2016 12:11 am

damn thats scandalous

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zot1

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Re: Fired after sleeping with boss - need advice

Postby zot1 » Sat Dec 03, 2016 12:19 am

You don't have to tell others what happened and definitely shouldn't. Leave the firm on your resume and just say you're looking for a better fit. If the firm has a website, asked to be kept on it while you look for something else.

I'm so very sorry this happened to you.

Edit: autocorrect :roll:
Last edited by zot1 on Sat Dec 03, 2016 1:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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ManoftheHour

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Re: Fired after sleeping with boss - need advice

Postby ManoftheHour » Sat Dec 03, 2016 12:27 am

For what it's worth, your boss could feel sympathetic since he's the one that caused this. He never fired you. As others have said, I would still leave the job on my resume as it seems like your boss wouldn't say anything bad about you if your prospective employer called him. It does not hurt to double check. He was your mentor before all of this.

Keep your head up!

grixxlybear99

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Re: Fired after sleeping with boss - need advice

Postby grixxlybear99 » Sat Dec 03, 2016 12:46 am

You're sleeping w the wrong class of old white men. Cf. congress

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Re: Fired after sleeping with boss - need advice

Postby lurklaw » Sat Dec 03, 2016 12:54 am

Woah.

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jkpolk

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Re: Fired after sleeping with boss - need advice

Postby jkpolk » Sat Dec 03, 2016 1:13 am

zot1 wrote:You don't have to tell others what happened and definitely shouldn't. Leave the firm on your resume and just say you're looking for a better fit. If the firm has a website, asked to be kept on it while you look for something else.

I'm so very worth this happened to you.


I agree. I also like your idea of using the LLM program to give resume continuity if you are unable to continue at your current job and can't immediately find something else.

I also think, depending on your ultimate employment situation, you could consider consulting an attorney.

NYC2012

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Re: Fired after sleeping with boss - need advice

Postby NYC2012 » Sat Dec 03, 2016 1:38 am

.
Last edited by NYC2012 on Mon Dec 25, 2017 12:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Clemenceau

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Re: Fired after sleeping with boss - need advice

Postby Clemenceau » Sat Dec 03, 2016 1:44 am

I'd consider making this post less identifying.

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Monochromatic Oeuvre

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Re: Fired after sleeping with boss - need advice

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Sat Dec 03, 2016 1:47 am

I called flame right about at "I love tax and have wanted to be an attorney since I was about 13 years old, so I was excited to finally be doing what I love."

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zhenders

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Re: Fired after sleeping with boss - need advice

Postby zhenders » Sat Dec 03, 2016 1:55 am

I think it's utterly disgusting that this is being called a flame so quickly. This is not the kind of thing where we should be failing to give this person the benefit of the doubt. Rape or forced sex/coercion isn't funny. Don't be a chauvinist douchebag -- she's just had her life ruined by one.

OP, if you haven't spoken to a good therapist, you absolutely should. You probably don't feel like you need to; you're clearly a strong person. Do so anyways. You won't know how important it is that you do so until after you've done so.

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zhenders

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Re: Fired after sleeping with boss - need advice

Postby zhenders » Sat Dec 03, 2016 2:00 am

Also:

1. Extortion is criminal
2. I'd speak to an employment attorney to see what civil remedies you might have. Lawyers sue for being fired for a hell of a lot less than this, and having your hours reduced to zero INSTEAD of firing you is clearly the partner trying to avoid you suing him for firing you retrivutively. Again, I think you'd be making a mistake not to talk to an employment attorney.

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Johann

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Re: Fired after sleeping with boss - need advice

Postby Johann » Sat Dec 03, 2016 2:02 am

sorry to hear this. id talk to the llm program and see if you can go full time. then you can say you left the firm to focus on your tax llm.

for now id keep applying with the firm saying you still work there and are looking for a better opportunity

you should also consider seeing an attorney about a wrongful termination claim

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bearsfan23

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Re: Fired after sleeping with boss - need advice

Postby bearsfan23 » Sat Dec 03, 2016 2:03 am

:shock:

Also 2nd everything johann said. Good luck OP

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heythatslife

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Re: Fired after sleeping with boss - need advice

Postby heythatslife » Sat Dec 03, 2016 2:21 am

OP, I'm sorry you went through this. You're not a bad person, you were just put into a really really difficult situation by your scumbag of a boss. I can't offer any good career advice but I second the recommendations to see a therapist and an employment attorney. I hope you pull through okay.

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Re: Fired after sleeping with boss - need advice

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 03, 2016 8:55 am

OP here

Thank you all for the kind words and the encouragement. I really couldn't tell you how much it means to me. I have retained an attorney and I'm in therapy, both of which seem to be helping. My attorney thinks it's best to try to settle this quietly, since I'm still looking for employment in the area and lawyers around here (and everywhere, so I hear) tend to talk. Getting a reputation as a walking sexual harassment suit, however unfair that may be, definitely wouldn't help my career. That seems logical to me... and I'd prefer a job over a payout any day. Anyway, my attorney and I have been trying to put a price on my silence/dignity for months now. That's mostly my fault - I hate talking about it/thinking about it, and every time I try to seriously contemplate how much money I'm comfortable accepting in settlement, I just end up feeling sort of nauseated and gross.

Thank you again, everybody!!

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elendinel

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Re: Fired after sleeping with boss - need advice

Postby elendinel » Sat Dec 03, 2016 11:02 am

Quiet settlement is a good idea. Unfortunately you're right that it's very rare for someone to both win a harassment suit and not get a bad reputation for doing so. Make sure the settlement covers therapy costs/attorney costs/any relocation costs you need/etc., because holy s**t, you deserve all the money you need to work through what happened here and how it messed up your trajectory in and out of the office. If you can't talk about it much, maybe co-opt a close family member to help you discuss this with the attorney?

I echo the idea of doing the LLM full-time and using that as an excuse for the gap in your resume. Definitely leave the firm on there; the fact that you got that job is (presumably) a good thing for your resume, so long as you use the LLM to your advantage. Either that, or see if you can apply for a volunteer attorney position to start soon.

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Re: Fired after sleeping with boss - need advice

Postby RaceJudicata » Sat Dec 03, 2016 1:12 pm

OP - Sorry this happened to you. I'm glad you are seeking help (legal and emotional).

I second (or third or whatever) the advice of trying to go full-time with the LLM. That would also allow you to move to LLM city... I'm not sure if thats somewhere you want to be, but a fresh start may be exactly what you need.

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Clyde Frog

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Re: Fired after sleeping with boss - need advice

Postby Clyde Frog » Sat Dec 03, 2016 2:09 pm

Ron Mexico wrote:damn thats scandalous

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Re: Fired after sleeping with boss - need advice

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Dec 04, 2016 6:53 pm

It's NOT because you acted in a flirting or wrong way. Even if you did, it's not wrong to try to look nice to others. (but I think you made a huge mistake of sleeping with him) I am also an attractive female and my former boss had a big crush on me, although all I did was say Good morning! with a smile to him, which is basically any human being does to other human beings. Nothing happened because I intentionally avoided him.

We work in a male-dominant field and attractive women will usually be spotted, unfortunately. This type of stuff might happen to you again in the future. Don't do anything stupid then. Good luck!
Last edited by Anonymous User on Sun Dec 04, 2016 6:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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