News & Resources

Firm News

Marian M. Zapata-Rossa quoted in article “Ask the Experts: Breakup gets messy in the workplace”

Arizona Business Gazette

Below is an excerpt: 

Without knowing the details of your ex's complaint, the short answer to your question is yes, an employee may be terminated or required to move locations, as the result of a harassment investigation.

Harassment in the workplace is unlawful. If your ex's complaint is substantiated and your conduct is found to constitute harassment or otherwise violate any policy the company has prohibiting harassment in the workplace, the company must take appropriate actions to remedy the situation. Depending on the particular facts and circumstances of your situation, such remedial actions may include moving or terminating your employment. Advising the company you two were dating does not necessarily change the analysis.

Preventing harassment in the workplace by having an anti-harassment policy, investigating any complaints and taking appropriate actions to correct harassment allows an employer to legally defend itself against claims of harassment among employees.

The U.S. Supreme Court has long held that not every inappropriate incident constitutes harassment. The conduct must be unwelcome, verbal or physical conduct of a harassing nature that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the employee's employment and create an abusive working environment. The conduct must also be based on a legally protected category. Although not all conduct that violates an employer's anti-harassment policy rises to the level of being legally actionable, such policies are intended to prevent unlawful harassment from occurring in the first place.

Originally published in Arizona Business Gazette, March 15, 2017