Under British (specifically English) employment law, would an employer be legally allowed to fire an employee who had been having an affair with the employer's girlfriend, or would the employee be entitled to sue for unfair dismissal?

  • 5
    that seems like a Q for law.stackexchange.com Commented Sep 19, 2021 at 15:59
  • 1
    related: workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/7617/… though the employee may not be fired for that action if they work directly with the boyfriend, this question will give an idea of what to expect going forward Commented Sep 19, 2021 at 16:38
  • 1
    @KateGregory - Oh sure, their life will be a misery until the boss finds a reason to can them.
    – Richard
    Commented Sep 20, 2021 at 13:30
  • @Richard If he can can them and they do not end up playing Cancan with him (see responses to the related question). Commented Sep 20, 2021 at 14:06

1 Answer 1


In brief, no. Article 8 of the Human Rights Act (1998) enshrines your right to a private life, and this includes having consensual sexual relationships with people you've met at work, up to and including the boss' wife (top tip, don't do this).

Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

If you're fired, you'd have a strong case for unfair dismissal on these grounds, subject to your having more than two years of service with the company.

Note that the usual provisos on being able to fire someone for "not being able to get along with another staff member" wouldn't apply in this case. The underlying cause is still their private and family life, hence the Human Rights Act would supersede that reason, in precisely the same way that you can't fire someone because they've changed their religious beliefs since you hired them.

  • 1
    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – motosubatsu
    Commented Sep 20, 2021 at 16:25

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .