Carney R. Shegerian, founder of Shegerian & Associates, a Santa Monica-based law firm specializing in employee rights, has issued a statement aimed at all California employees in light of news coverage of Jimmy Kimmel’s current romantic relationship with an employee of his show. Shegerian warns that office trysts, in the state of California at least, can lead to lawsuits due to workplace environments that are unfair and potentially exploitative.
“Because of Mr. Kimmel’s relationship being in the news now, alongside the stories of David Letterman and his own workplace trysts, there is now much attention on the fact that bosses having intimate relationships with their employees is a very common situation,” said Shegerian. “One very important issue that can oftentimes result from these in-office relationships is paramour sexual harassment.”
“California recognizes what is called ‘paramour sexual harassment.’ The law states that when employees who sleep with the boss/manager/supervisor gain any preferential treatment over other employees in pay, benefits, promotions, non-demotions, and other preferential treatments, the other employees are being treated unfairly and have a claim for paramour sexual harassment.”
Jimmy Kimmel and David Letterman are receiving massive amounts of news coverage but are each part of what appears to be a large and growing trend. Approximately 40 percent of American workers have had a workplace romance, according to a study by recruiting firm Spherion Corp. last year.
“The most important thing to remember,” warned Shegerian, “is that the people involved in romantic relationships that started in the office as well as the other employees surrounding them, are all protected by laws that prohibit unfairness in the workplace. Most workers are not even aware of ‘paramour sexual harassment’ laws, but they have far-reaching impact on workplace rights – and at the end of the day, it’s critically important that we preserve fairness and equality in the workplace at all levels.”
As an experienced trial attorney, Carney has tried numerous jury trials in both state and federal court, always representing individuals that have suffered financial or emotional losses and have been wronged by employers, including major corporations.