While working overtime I heard some banging and went to investigate. I opened the comfort room at our meeting room, I was shocked at what I saw. Our boss and his secretary were half naked having sexual relations. I said to my boss "Oh, sorry sir" and closed the door. I immediately packed up my things and left the office.

I am wondering what behavior should I adopt regarding to my boss, the secretary and the HR? I am concerned about the consequences of reporting or not this incident to HR. Is this incident worth be reported to HR? And if so, is it putting my career in this company in danger?

  • 5
    It certainly is VERY inappropriate to do this in a public space, but besides that, leave them alone unless you are working at a place where children are running around.
    – ASA
    Feb 9, 2017 at 8:39
  • 5
    Not sure why this is getting downvoted and VTC? They want to know how to handle the situation and what they should do. It's not an unusual situation to have never happened and I can't find any duplicate. Would anyone like to elaborate on why they believe this is a bad question?
    – Draken
    Feb 9, 2017 at 8:41
  • 1
    I believe they most probably learned why it is a bad idea to have such type of relationship at work. If they are a little bit clever they won't do that at the workspace again, even if it's only because of the embarrassment they most probably felt at being caught.
    – Purrrple
    Feb 9, 2017 at 8:51
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    VTC because there's a story here and some questions but no goal. We can't make up your mind for you and what you do next depends on how you feel about it. "What should I do?" is not something we can answer. "How can I act professionally with my boss after this?" is answerable. Even something like "When you walk into a tryst at the office, what is the correct way to react / act around the people involved?" can be constructively answered. But OP needs to focus his question on something that can be answered instead of farming out his decision making to the site entirely.
    – Lilienthal
    Feb 9, 2017 at 9:03
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    Is there a company policy on inter-employee sexual relationships? On supervisor-subordinate relationships? If there is not, then the answer is an absolutely clear "take no action". Otherwise the decision gets way more complicated.
    – Myles
    Feb 9, 2017 at 14:39

4 Answers 4


Lets put this into perspective here. It's 2 adults having some fun. Should it happen in the office? No. Was it in regular work time? No.

If you were to report it, what do you think would happen? Would it stop you maybe feeling awkward around either of them? Would it make you feel more awkward, knowing they know you reported them (or taking a very educated guess)?

You don't need a meeting. You don't need to mention this again. I get it's socially awkward, but why would this affect how you communicate with your boss? Just don't spread it around the office to colleagues, go on with your day to day work and (if you feel the need to), reduce small talk with your boss for a bit and just talk work.

If your boss brings it up, play it down, completely. Just say "It's none of my business what you get up to" and that's it. Because that's the truth really.

  • 8
    If you report it, it's making a mountain out of a molehill. It's going to make things worse for the OP. Not necessarily in a way that can be reported, but it could be that the OP is put on less important work to reduce his chances of pay raises and promotions. It shouldn't have happened in the office, but it really isn't that big a deal, is it? Feb 9, 2017 at 9:13
  • 14
    Reporting this will only make things worse for the OP in terms of his relationship with his boss. If the OP carries on like nothing has happened, then his boss will be more likely to carry on in the same way. If the boss is worried, it's likely he will speak to the OP to clarify things. The only way reporting the incident works in the OP's favour is if the boss and secretary are sacked. Feb 9, 2017 at 9:30
  • 1
    @Draken "It's harder to do in 5 years if you didn't get the event documented" - in the unlikely event the OP actually needs it, maybe linking to this question would be enough (if he has proof that he is in fact the one who wrote it). Feb 9, 2017 at 16:18
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    Not reporting it also has the benefit of your boss seeing that you are someone he can trust a bit. People are actually thankful when you don't spread their secrets!
    – T. Sar
    Feb 9, 2017 at 19:13
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    @AndrewBerry: "then his boss will be more likely to carry on in the same way" - so what? As others have said, it's certainly not "ok", but what harm would it cause to the OP or their career? "The only way reporting the incident works in the OP's favour is if the boss and secretary are sacked." - how so? Because, by the rules of a "Klingon promotion", the OP would become the new boss? I don't see the boss and the secretary getting sacked would invariably be in the OP's favour, and I could imagine various ways of this backfiring even after both boss and secretary have been sacked. Feb 10, 2017 at 16:30

As long as it does not impact you professionally, I do not see any need to report it neither to HR or to anyone else. You would have nothing to win reporting this may put your job into jeopardy. But if the consequences start to affecting your personal of professional life, I advise you to report it to whoever you think will help you.

In the end it depends a lot on how it affects you. If it doesn't bother you, there is no issue.

  • 1
    It would help if this answer was backed up by some personal experience whether from you or anyone else. Feb 9, 2017 at 11:42

They shouldn't be having sexual relations in the office, it's the wrong place and time. It's up to you on whether you ignore it and carry on or report it to HR.

I would however suggest you do report it to HR, as if it's found out later and somehow they also discovered that you knew about this, it could cause you some hot bother. In the end, it's nothing for you to handle, let your HR department deal with it as they see fit.

  • 1
    If that happens, document the grievances and also give those to HR. If your boss is going to give you a hard time and you can track it, after you informed on their misdeeds, then it puts the boss in a really bad light and could also lead to litigation against the boss if it gets really bad. This is another reason to report it early, so that you cover your own back. There is nothing stopping the boss already holding a grievance against the employee for discovering them
    – Draken
    Feb 9, 2017 at 8:49
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    @Draken, you are forgetting that HR acts in the interests of the employer and NOT the OP. It is unlikely that the boss will hold this against the OP. But if the OP makes an HR case out of this, irreversible bad feelings are certain.
    – teego1967
    Feb 9, 2017 at 13:48
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    "They shouldn't be having sexual relations in the office" Eh, that's not really a guarantee. If the "boss" is CEO & owns the building, even more so. Most companies have policies against such things for good reason, but not always.
    – user30031
    Feb 9, 2017 at 14:30
  • 1
    So, if I get this right, according to everyone, it's cool to have sex in the office? Does the timing matter? I can understand not reporting it if you came across them kissing, but they were having sex. That is not something that's appropriate for the workplace and can be considered a criminal offence in several cases.
    – Draken
    Feb 9, 2017 at 15:50
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    @Draken No it isn't cool and it isn't appropriate (Nobody said so, don't use escalating language). Indeed, they shouldn't be having.... But that is not the issue, we're not addressing morals on this site.
    – user8036
    Feb 9, 2017 at 16:08

He is your boss. Consider worse case scenario. You don't have a witness. You go to HR, they investigate, and he flat denies it. He may throw you under the bus rather than face discipline up to getting fired.

If he he admits it and gets disciplined there is no bonus or promotion for you.

It is wrong and I hope they stop the sex in the office but I think you should do nothing.

If he approaches you then let him apologize and tell him straight up you don't approve but see no benefit of reporting the incident.

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