Philadelphia Employment Law News

Best Buy's Ex-CEO's Affair With Female Subordinate: No Big Deal?

Best Buy's stock has plummeted by more than half their value since April 2006 and lost 27% of their value in the last year. So when former CEO Brian Dunn resigned earlier this week, it didn't seem to be that much of a shock. Most of us assumed it was because of his performance as a CEO.

Apparently, it had more to do with his performance as a man. Dunn was allegedly having an affair with an unidentified 29-year-old employee of the company's "leadership institute," reports the New York Daily News.

And yet, your first thought is probably, who cares? Well, besides Best Buy, probably no one. But much like Bobby Petrino's firing, there is a good reason for the freak out: lawsuits.

Imagine for a moment what the as-of-yet unidentified woman's coworkers are thinking. Did she get that promotion because she slept with the CEO? See where that leads? Irregardless of Jane Doe's work performance, someone will question whether she got her job based on her work performance or some other performance.

For those of you lucky enough to hold a position of authority, nothing good can come of sleeping with your employees. What are the odds of that relationship working out? And even if it does, what are the odds that the other employees won't sue after they find out that their coworker is sleeping with you.

The laws regarding sexual harassment and gender discrimination were instituted for good reason. Prior to their implementation, we lived in a Mad Men era, where anything was, if not exactly kosher, then at least tolerated.

Now, employers cannot legally make decisions on hiring, firing, or promotions based on gender. They cannot make obscene comments, or pressure employees to engage in sexual acts for special treatment. The laws ensure that employers treat employees based on their work.

Not everyone that sues under the laws has a meritorious case. However, it would seem from reports that Best Buy didn't accept the resignation of Brian Dunn because the stock price completely collapsed. They let him go because he exposed them to lawsuits.

Related Resources: