I know a job candidate regularly cheated on his fiancé — should I say anything?

A reader writes:

I’m finding myself in a really weird situation and I would appreciate your perspective on what I should do.

I just started a new job this week at an absolutely amazing company, the kind of company I want to be at for a long, long time! I found out that they are interviewing a man, Kevin, who I used to work with six years ago in a brief temp job. Apparently Kevin worked with another person at my company even longer ago then when I worked with Kevin.

My pickle is that while Kevin and I worked together, we became work friends and he confessed/bragged to me about cheating on his then-fiance (now wife and mother of his child) multiple times with random women off the internet and even with coworkers at company conferences. I think maybe it was some sort of ego stroking on his part? Anway, I was/am really repulsed by his behavior and haven’t talked to him in at least five years now.

However, Kevin did/does do good work. He went from being in the same temp position that I was in up to being a VP as of last year. He’s hard working and I don’t have anything bad to say about his work ethic. But I know he’s a total creep with very questionable personal morals. I’m leaning towards keeping what I know to myself (I figure the past is the past) but I worry about it coming back to bite me if Kevin does get hired and then panics thinking I’m going to spill the beans on what I know. This is all getting way ahead of myself as Kevin hasn’t even finished the final round of in-person interviews yet … but I would think it’s a good possibility that he would be hired based on what I know of his personality and professional background.

What do you think? Should I throw this one down the memory hole and pretend that I have completely forgotten everything or should I bring this up with the recruiter who’s working on his application? For the record, it’s unlikely that I’d be working closely with Kevin or even working with him at all, and he’d definitely not be my manager or anything like that.

I actually do believe that it’s possible to be pretty gross in your personal life and still be an excellent employee.

It’s also possible to be pretty gross in your personal life and let that spill over into your work life. In Kevin’s case, if the coworkers he hooked up with were consenting adults with full information about his relationship status, you could argue that their choices aren’t anyone else’s business. On the other hand, it’s certainly laying the groundwork for potential High Drama at work, and that’s not great.

It’s also true that chronic cheating on a partner (and we’re talking actual cheating here, not open relationships) says something about someone’s integrity and character and their willingness to deceive and break commitments when it’s convenient for them.

That said, I have a strong bias on the side of people’s sexual choices not being relevant in hiring decisions (as long as they’re not sexually harassing coworkers or so forth).

In this case, I think there’s actually a very easy answer: you’re too new to wade into this. If you’d been there for years and had the ear of the hiring manager, maaaaayyyybee there would be room to say something (although I still lean toward no), but I think especially as someone who’s only been there a week there’s no real way to do it.

But unless you know something really odd about Kevin’s personality, I don’t think you need to worry about him getting hired and then panicking about whether you’re going to out him. Compulsive cheaters like Kevin don’t seem to worry about that nearly enough; on some level they must believe other people will find their behavior normal enough that it won’t happen. (As evidence for this, look at his bragging to you about the cheating in the first place.)

Read an update to this letter here.

{ 195 comments… read them below }

  1. esra*

    Especially given your distance from Kevin’s potential position, I would do my best to just leave this in eyeroll territory. If he does try to talk to you about it again, I’d just flatly say “I’m not interested in talking about that.”

  2. Megan M.*

    You can certainly find Kevin’s choices detestable, but I don’t think the company needs to be made aware of it. You say he’s a great worker, and that’s all that really matters in this case.

    1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      I’m floored by the idea that a person would or should ever bring this up. Unless you’re working in a tiny community where you’re going to routinely run into Kevin’s wife and lovers in your service population, and that “running into” those folks is going to create active drama, I can’t think of a (non-religious organization) circumstance in which bringing this up would be appropriate.

      1. Fortitude Jones*

        Right. It has nothing to do with anything unless or until he gets a job with OP’s company, starts up with coworkers/subordinates, and then begins telling OP about it. Hell, for all we know, he could have been lying – people do and say strange things sometimes for shits and giggles.

        1. The Rat-Catcher*

          Came to say this. Bragging is common and often not rooted in fact (I knew a guy who used to brag about getting other women’s numbers constantly while he was in a committed relationship – he didn’t; he just wanted to brag about what a stud he was). That still doesn’t say anything fantastic about his character, but I think there are too many unknowns here to move forward even if you did have the standing.

      2. Newby*

        Possibly if he had created major drama at the past work place due to his cheating, but only because that is an actual work problem. That does not seem to be the case here, so it’s irrelevant.

      3. Willow*

        I certainly wouldn’t want to work with someone who bragged about his sexual conquests to me. I think it’s reasonable to consider bringing up how he behaves on the job. I would agree with you if he’d kept his personal life separate from his work life.

        1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          What I find difficult is the OP’s note that, “My pickle is that while Kevin and I worked together, we became work friends and he confessed/bragged to me about cheating on his then-fiance.”

          It’s unclear to me if the bragging was in the context of the friendship, or a thing Kevin does with all coworkers. I have a feeling it’s the former, and if that’s the case, and if OP never told Kevin to stop talking about it, it makes it difficult to bring it up years later as a “professional” problem when it sounds distinctly personal.

          1. Venus Supreme*

            Yeah, the only way I can see OP bringing this up as a legitimate concern is if Kevin bragged about his infidelity to OP after they told him to stop. I’ve experienced creeps who get off of telling me gross things after I told them to get lost. I think it’d be legit to bring something to the manager’s attention that is more specific to what Kevin has personally done to OP, not what OP’s heard Kevin has done with/to other people. There’s a big difference here. So, OP, I don’t think you have much standing to bring this up.

          2. Elizabeth the Ginger*

            It really depends what the OP means by “work friends.” I’ve seen that phrase mean everything between “we often wound up at the coffee machine at the same time and chatted about our weekends” and “we started going out for drinks every Tuesday after work, went on runs together on Thursdays, and sometimes got together on weekends.” If the OP’s work-friendship with Kevin was more like the latter, then this falls into “not work-related” – but if it was more like the former, then I think him bragging about his sex life shows poor work-related judgement.

            1. anon today...and tomorrow*

              Yeah…I have a woman I call my work friend because she’s the one person here in the office who is close to my age and has similar background / hobbies / interests. I have no desire to hang out with this woman outside of the office. She’s my “work friend”. I have friends who I’ve worked with but when I describe them it’s as “my friend from work” because the focus on our relationship is more about friendship and less about work when I talk about them.

              It doesn’t sound like Kevin and the OP are friends from work and frankly this is none of OP’s business to bring up.

        2. Bookworm*

          Yes. I’m curious how the answer might be different if Kevin was interviewing to be OP’s boss. Would the OP have standing to approach the company and say that, due to Kevin’s personal decisions, he wasn’t willing to work under him?

          The waters get a bit muddy here because I’m sure there are scenarios in which personal choices would affect how I feel about someone and influence if I wanted them in a position of leadership over me.

          That said, I agree with Alison’s answer.

          1. Koko*

            You wouldn’t usually have that much standing to argue “up” about a hire. As a general rule, the higher up the chain the job is, the harder it is to find the right candidate and the more valuable the right candidate is. If you tell management that you refuse to work for Fergus because you disapprove of his personal lifestyle choices, and Fergus is the best candidate they have, they’re more likely to replace you than not hire him.

            Exception would be maybe some of these IT situations where the ICs who are expert in Trendy New Programming Language du Jour might be harder to hire for than the IT manager, and other similar things with highly skilled IC positions.

            1. Bookworm*

              Hmm. In my experience, the companies I’ve worked for have been actively interested in the team’s opinions of possible managers. I hear you that there is always a risk that the company will tell you to love it or leave it, but I actually feel that an employee might have more standing to voice opinions about their potential boss as opposed to a coworker.

          2. JamieS*

            I don’t think it matters either way. If OP were concerned about Kevin sexually harassing people or OP had reason to fear retaliation from Kevin (ie OP told his wife about his infidelity) that might change things since that’d be a workplace concern. However the OP’s concern strikes me more as moral outrage and not concern over Kevin’s work ethic or the work environment that’d be created if he were hired.

      4. Susan*

        I was thinking this way initially, but then I started to think about it from another angle ….Someone who thinks it is acceptable to speak so openly with coworkers regarding their sex life, probably doesn’t have the best judgement and could be a sexual harassment claim just waiting to happen. However, I probably still wouldn’t bring it up.

      5. Mookie*

        I think the only caveat would be if the crowing about infidelities was, itself, disruptive. Like, if Kevin had a habit in the former job of cornering people and making them listen to his escapades / fantasies / “locker room banter.” Imposing sexual thoughts on unwilling people is definitely harassment. But, in this case, it doesn’t sound like that was what was happening at all.

      6. Ted Mosby*

        Well, Kevin brought it up, in the office, to a coworker, and apparently hooked up with coworkers. He made it a work issue.

        If OP had seen Kevin makin’ out at the club, I would tell him to MYOB, but I question the judgement and class of someone who thought it was a good idea to do this then brag about it in the office, esp given Kevin clearly didn’t know OP well enough to know how OP would react to this info. I wouldn’t trust Kevin in front of clients or important contacts.

        This is the second time in recent history and also ever that I’ve really disagreed with something Allison has said (although not the actual advice; i think OP is too new to say anything). Are we really so afraid of shaming people that we’re going to overlook the basic fact that bragging about your sexploits in the office is really inappropriate?

        As a woman working in a male dominated field, hearing men brag about their conquests and the way they spoke about women when doing so was just as bad as the blatant comments about my ass. It sent a pretty strong message about how they viewed women and their worth, and anyone who didn’t want to hear that kind of thing in the lab was overly sensitive and should maybe just go home and make a sandwich.

        1. bookish*

          I agree with you. The bragging (not to mention getting involved with coworkers) is what really puts it over the edge for me. If asked, I’d say “He did good work but I don’t think his personality would be a good fit for the office at all – I got huge red flags about his lack of professionalism when I worked with him” or something like that.

  3. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist*

    Yeah, this sounds like a whole lotta not your circus, not your monkeys. You’re really new, you haven’t seen that guy in a really long time, and you really don’t have the standing to intervene here – or a good reason to do so.

    I’d shoot him down as esra suggested above if he tries bragging about his conquests again, but otherwise, I think you can happily consign this to the “Things I don’t have to worry about” bin.

    1. Jen S. 2.0*


      No, it’s not 100% ideal. Yes, he sounds like a gold-plated jerk. But it’s really not your business, you really don’t have the standing to influence the decision, trying to interfere will make you look like a gossiping busybody, and a lot of people are jerks and become or remain employed (so interfering probably won’t change anything).

      The cons outweigh the pros here. Mind your own store.

  4. Tuxedo Cat*

    Unless there’s some explicit (and legally legitimate) morality clause against cheating for this company, I would let it go.

    Not that it matters, but Kevin might not be cheating anymore.

      1. Gaia*

        Or in a monogamous marriage. We just do not know their current situation and it just is not our business. That is between Kevin and Kevin’s wife.

        1. AD*

          Totally. This was also six years ago, and Kevin and the OP sound like they were temp workers? (i.e. their work relationship was likely a brief one). It’s beyond me what this has to do with OP’s work life now.

  5. J.B.*

    Let it be but keep your eyes open. I’ve seen all sorts of internal justifications of a person why this is ok, and he’s not likely to be thrown by seeing you in the hallway. I would be distant if he is hired, find all sorts of excuses to not hang out IF he asks. As far as keeping your eyes open – if he is hired in a position of authority and makes “bad choices” that would impact you and your role you might consider moving on after a couple of years.

  6. AnnaBananaCanada*

    I think in this instance I’d be of the opinion “Not my circus, not my monkey” and leave it be.

  7. Cambridge Comma*

    For me, the only question would be how willing a participant OP was in the conversations where Kevin was bragging. If it was a conversation about relationships and the point where he raised it was natural, that’s one thing. If he was shoehorning references into normal office chat, I’d worry about him being a bit of a creep.

    1. Leatherwings*

      That’s a really good point! Speaks to his level of professionalism and fit. I do think there are other avenues to fixing that issue other than speaking with the hiring manager if it comes up again though.

    2. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

      Given the OP’s newness, though, I’m not sure even Kevin being a bit of a creep would be worth speaking up on. If there’s actual sexual harassment involved, that’s one thing, but… enh.

    3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      I think the creep factor only matters if it gets into sexual harassment territory (which it totally could!). People are generally not excited to hear about their coworkers’ sexual exploits, married or non. But if the weird conversations were a facet of Kevin and OP’s relationship to one another, I’d be cautious before extrapolating that dynamic to the broader work population.

      1. animaniactoo*

        I’d also need to know that OP told him to stop talking about it to them and he wouldn’t.

        1. lurking and such today*

          Exactly. Being repulsed but not speaking up about it would make the repulser (not a word but who cares) keep on being repulsive. If the OP was a willing participant in the conversation and never raised any objections, she kind of became a confidant and I don’t really think it would be fair to mention anything now 5+ years later.

          1. CMart*

            Well, there’s definitely a middle ground between “spoke up in indignation and was ignored” and “didn’t speak up and therefore was a willing participant”. I’m sure we’ve all had the experience of being unwilling participants in many conversations over the years, but didn’t speak up for any number of perfectly acceptable reasons. Social/cultural pressure not to “make waves” probably being the biggest reason.

            1. animaniactoo*

              Agreed, but without the opportunity to react to a stop signal, I can’t fault Kevin for not stopping either.

                1. Roscoe*

                  Possibly. But different people find inappropriate varies. To some people, me discussing my partying weekend of alcohol would be considered inappropriate, to others it wouldn’t. I’ve definitely had friends from work who I went out with for drinks and our conversation went toward R rated things that wouldn’t be appropriate in the office

                2. animaniactoo*

                  That only applies if everyone agrees that the conversation is inappropriate. As this is not universal at all, it is incumbent on all of us to find a way to indicate when we do not appreciate the conversation and do not wish to participate in it.

      2. HisGirlFriday*

        “People are generally not excited to hear about their coworkers’ sexual exploits, married or non.”

        Unless said exploit results in a baby in which case suddenly EVERYBODY IN THE WORLD is fascinated by the act of procreation, and all reasonableness goes straight out the window.

        1. OwnedByTheCat*

          UGH SERIOUSLY. Pregnant right now. My new go-to phrase with family is “this baby is not a collaboration with anyone but me and my husband.” but so many people ask such intrusive questions. I’m not showing yet and i’m already going bonkers. Considering hiding out for the next 5 months so my coworkers and clients can’t keep asking me questions.

          1. Bette*

            Why did you announce it so early if you didn’t want people to talk to you about it?

            1. swingbattabatta*

              Because you want people to know why you aren’t drinking/are throwing up/need more time off for doctor’s appointments/are excited and want to share/don’t expect people to suddenly lose sight of all reasonable boundaries, etc etc? There are plenty of reasons why someone may want to share the news about their pregnancy, but that doesn’t give people a green light to ask intrusive questions.

            2. Anna*

              Yeah, someone telling you about a new situation is not an invitation to comment on all aspects of that situation, to share all your own experiences with that situation outside of “I found this helped my morning sickness” and then leaving it at that, or to ask every manner of question to quell your curiosity. Read the room, people!

            3. Annabeth*


              “This is happening.” =/= “Please invade my privacy, give me unwanted and unasked for advice, and intrude into a personal matter.” And if you don’t get that, you are the problem.

    4. A grad student*

      The other thing that bothers me is that he was apparently hooking up with coworkers at conferences. Even putting that he was cheating aside, that’s someone I wouldn’t want to hire. Consenting adults and all, sure, but that for me takes it from poor personal behavior to poor professional behavior, which is arguably a reason for a heads up to the recruiter. Not sure I would do it, but depending on things like conference frequency and company size/culture, I might think about it.

      1. lurking and such today*

        Strongly disagree here. Hooking up is a consensual act. Sure, I wouldn’t do it but I think this may be a leap here. Kevin at conferences doesn’t necessarily equal hooking up will be going on in the present day. Now if these hook ups were leading to raises or unequal treatment and you have proof of that, than that would be a different story.

        1. K.*

          Agreed. There’s a difference between hookups between consenting adults and sexual harassment, and we have no evidence that Kevin was doing the latter.

      2. Emi.*

        Yeah, I agree. I dunno if the OP has standing to raise it, but it’s definitely something I’d want to know about if I were the one hiring.

        1. Salamander*

          I think this guy is slimy, but I don’t know that the OP has enough built-up capital to mention it, unfortunately. If he gets hired, I’d give this guy a wide, wide berth and avoid him wherever possible. I’d be polite and professional if I ran into him, but grey rock any attempts to get involved in personal conversations. If he’s still busy hooking up with random co-workers, the drama is eventually gonna catch up with him without any intervention from the OP.

          I personally wouldn’t want to hire someone in a position of power who has this kind of potential for bringing drama into the workplace, given that there are a whole lot of people out there to hire that do not pose this risk.

      3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        I don’t think it’s great behavior, but there are a lot of workplaces in which “hooking up” has no bearing on your ability to do your job or on morale at the company. I don’t think it’s inherently unprofessional, though, because it seems to vary so significantly by industry and company.

        1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          I should clarify: I think this is one of those situations where personal ethics might depart from corporate/workplace ethics. And if it does, then I don’t think it’s appropriate to raise the issue.

      4. Gaia*

        Why? If they are consenting and can keep the drama out of work why do you care if coworkers are hooking up? It only becomes an issue if there is drama and then it is the drama that is the problem, not the act of hooking up. Coworkers getting lunch together can lead to drama but no one would suggest coworkers never eat together to avoid potential drama later.

        1. AMPG*

          It can be an issue of playing the odds, so to speak. The more coworkers he hooks up with, the better chance there is for something to go sideways at work if one hookup goes badly or gets discovered by a spouse. That doesn’t mean disclosure is the right way to go here (I’m definitely on the side of the OP keeping quiet), but there’s a “playing with fire” aspect to it that could end badly for the company, which is why I could understand management wanting to know about something like this (again, whether it’s their *right* to know is another story).

        2. Stellaaaaa*

          Because Kevin didn’t keep the drama out of work. He actively brought his drama into the workplace by sleeping with coworkers and then making sure other people knew about it. The issue OP is facing is part of the drama that Kevin created. Whether or not OP ends up spilling the dirt, if she did talk, Kevin would be reaping what he has sown. You can’t talk publicly about something and then act surprised when other people remember the things you say.

          1. Stop That Goat*

            He made sure a single ‘friend’ knew about it. That’s not really the same situation.

              1. Whats In A Name*

                Yes, but he might still not care if others know about it. he’s not asking her to keep her mouth shut right now. Unless he drags her into it now, there really isn’t any drama at all.

              2. Anna*

                Kevin doesn’t seem particularly concerned with someone knowing his dirt. The OP is asking if there’s some obligation to bring up said dirt since they know about it. The answer is no, there isn’t; leave it alone. And this isn’t drama since nobody seemed to be upset about it and nobody knows except the OP. This isn’t drama; this is just information that has absolutely no baring on Kevin’s work performance. Because despite Kevin’s apparent cheating, those he cheated with seemed to have been consenting adult people.

      5. Koko*

        Yeah this is a big cultural thing. I have worked in fields/offices where casual hookups were not all that unusual, particularly at conferences. In academia, professional association conferences can be hotbeds of debauchery. At smaller nonprofits where the 35 year olds are the senior managers and everyone else is 22-28 and nobody stays more than 1-2 years, you also often find a more relaxed attitude towards interoffice hookups.

        At my current job, where 30 year olds are among the youngest and people often stay 10-20 years, you basically get one (1) “become involved with a coworker” card before your reputation would take a hit.

  8. Jessesgirl72*

    If the OP knew that Kevin’s conquests at work posed legal stickiness at his last job, then by all means, disclose that information to the hiring manager- they don’t want to hire someone else’s walking lawsuit. Otherwise, pretend you don’t know Kevin at all.

    The same with any retaliation- IF later there is some retaliation or unfairness against you from Kevin, then by all means, go to HR, because then it’s not about his cheating or bragging, it’s about actual treatment of you as a coworker. But you can’t go to the hiring manager over something you’re afraid he might do. Because he also might not- and Alison is so right, that it’s more probable a not.

  9. Cambridge Comma*

    I mean, he might be a creep either way, but specifically the type of creep who inflicts sexual discussions on coworkers and can create risk for the employer.

    1. Roscoe*

      Maybe. But it says they became friends, and it seems like OP was a willing particpant in the conversations. If OP said “I really don’t want to discuss your sex life” and he kept going, sure. But nowhere does it say that.

      1. JB (not in Houston)*

        As someone mentioned above, the fact that she didn’t say something doesn’t mean she was a “willing participant,” and we can’t really draw that conclusion. From what she’s said, it doesn’t seem like she was. But if she didn’t tell him to stop, then we also can’t draw the conclusion that he is the specific type of creep that CC is talking about.

        1. Anna*

          We can’t drawn any conclusions about Kevin’s creepiness based on the OP’s letter, so let’s not jump right to “sexual harassment, tell the recruiter.”

      2. Ted Mosby*

        The fact that I have to tell men at work that I don’t want to discuss sex with them and people just think that’s fine blows my mind. Should I have to ask coworkers not to sit on my lap?

        I understand that people make very close friends at work and treat them how they treat all of their close friends, but given that OP clearly thinks Kevin is kind of a creep, that doesn’t seem to be what’s happening here.

  10. Roscoe*

    Stay out of it. Your personal life is your personal life. You are assuming he is going to come after you for knowing information he willingly gave you, which I think is a stretch. Nothing he has done seems like a reason for him not to get a job if he is the best candidate. This is really you pushing your moral beliefs on his employment.

  11. AlphabetSoupCity*

    This is none of your business to bring up, *unless* the bragging about his sexual conquests at work is itself the issue (sexual harassment, anyone?). If he spoke about this at work and told you about it that’s pretty gross and outside of professional work boundaries. There the issue is: he forces his coworkers to listen to his sex life (not the contents of his personal sex life).

  12. Lunch Meat*

    Would it change the advice if Kevin and OP weren’t actually work friends and he just liked bragging to coworkers about his sex life? Because I can see that creating a very uncomfortable environment for coworkers–and especially subordinates if he’s at VP level.

    1. Antilles*

      I still don’t think so because of the time factor involved. They worked together *six* years ago as temps and their paths haven’t really crossed since. Kevin would be far from the first guy to proudly brag about things when he’s a junior employee in his twenties and learn quiet discretion a little later on.

      1. lurking and such today*

        Great point! I actually think both sides were immature. Kevin for airing out the details of his private life where he makes questionable choices and OP for being an active participant (by listening) to said details she herself describes as repulsive. 5 years is a long time to develop both personally and professionally and I am assuming both have and wouldn’t behave in such a manner today.

        1. Not Active Just Stunned*

          Being an active participant by listening? Yeah no. I don’t know if you’ve ever been in one of those convos, but it’s pretty tricky to navigate yourself away from the “oh god we were just talking about something else and now it’s all about his sex life and he wants me to listen to this” without shutting down a relationship with a coworker. We don’t know how much or how little OP was able to do to shut it down but it doesn’t sound like she was a happy participant in it. The inappropriateness here was ALL on his side. I definitely had a convo with a male coworker about his birthday party digress into a story strip club he and his friends went to and that was an uncomfortable one to switch out of because we’re good work friends and on several projects together. I wasn’t expecting it and couldn’t easily or immediately kick in a “woah, that took a left turn, let’s talk about something else.” However, he recognized it wasn’t appropriate workplace conversation and apologized to me for putting me in that spot later that day. (Sharing this one because it’s better than the 5 or 6 in which the dude didn’t recognize what he’d done and I ended up chilling our workplace friendship to avoid ever being in that spot again.)

          Since it’s been 6 years and since they were both much younger then, I’m still inclined to agree that it shouldn’t come up in the hiring, BUT if I were OP I would prepare myself to shut down anything like that if it came up again. Being aware it may happen and being older gives her a better chance of navigating the “Kevin, I’m not sure that’s appropriate here at Teapots, Inc.” and even shift to “How do you like Fergus’s new daycare?”

    2. Jesmlet*

      I don’t think so. OP’s not really in a position to go to anyone and reveal this information since it really isn’t a reflection on Kevin’s work. If this were the case, the most I would do as OP is if I heard him say something to this effect, I’d go to Kevin myself and give him a heads up that this work culture is less casual and that he might want to cut it out.

  13. Detective Amy Santiago*

    LW, I understand your concerns, but given that it was six years ago and you haven’t really spoken to Kevin in the intervening years, you don’t know if he’s cleaned up his act.

    If he does get hired, maybe keep an eye on his interactions with his female coworkers and make sure they know he’s married and has a kid.

    1. Chalupa Batman*

      I’d say OP should continue to stay out of it if Kevin’s hired. Unless Kevin hits on OP, his conquests are still none of OP’s business. Keeping an eye on his behavior is asking for trouble. If Kevin can’t conduct himself professionally, that will come out without the OP having to artificially insert themselves into the situation. OP has zero responsibility for Kevin’s choices, whether they work together or not.

  14. animaniactoo*

    OP, the only area you have here to be concerned about is whether the co-worker hookups crossed boundaries as far as you are aware.

    If he was hunting in the company, it’s worth saying something. If it happened to be open and available to it but not necessarily “hunting”, then nah. Nothing to see here and move on.

    If you DO say something, you have to be careful to say what you know and only exactly what you know. “He told me at the time that there was X happening. There were issues Y and Z because of it. It was 6 years ago and I don’t know what’s happened since.”

    Question: Did you ever tell him to stop talking to you about this and if so, what was his reaction? If he knocked it off, fine. If he didn’t knock it off, that is worthy of being on the lookout for now to see if it’s still in play, but not alerting in advance.

    1. Mike C.*

      I’m sure you didn’t intend anything by it, but I really don’t like the diction of “hunting” in this context. What Kevin was doing was with the active participation of consenting adults, not victims or prey or anything like that.

      1. animaniactoo*

        We don’t know either way – which is actually my point. If it was “hunting” – including not revealing his relationship status and/or purposely targeting women who were more emotionally vulnerable for whatever reason and more likely to agree to sex because of that, that’s what would be raise-a-flag worthy. If none of that was in play, then this is personal business, not work business at all.

      2. Creag an Tuire*

        I think that was the distinction he was trying to draw by “hunting” vs “open and available”, though. Consent is a blurred line at work, which is why it should only be crossed rarely if ever, IMO.

          1. Creag an Tuire*

            Eesh, that wasn’t so much a mixed metaphor as one that tripped over its own feet and fell into a pond.

            My point is that mixing the power dynamics between even theoretical “equals” at work with romantic consent is so dangerous that it should almost never be done, as in, don’t try to start the personal relationship.

            (I’d scratch out the “almost”, personally, but I know some people insist they’ve had office romances blossom into happy marriages, so eh.)

      3. Stellaaaaa*

        He apparently slept with a number of women in the same office. That’s not something that happens accidentally. He also had inappropriate conversations about sex with someone (OP) who is clearly still uncomfortable at the thought of it.

        1. animaniactoo*

          If it was at work conferences (which OP specifies), then they might not have been at the same office – they might simply have been working for the same company and with different offices. And it might have been 2-3 times out of 20 trips over the course of 18 months, which wouldn’t be an egregious pursuit vs on the lookout for availability and willingness.

          As far as OP – we don’t know how clear OP was about their discomfort with those conversations. Did they smile uneasily? Pull a face? Laugh it off “Geez Kev, you’re such a manslut”? Smack a forehead “Not again! I can’t believe you!”?

          While I raised the possibility that he might be hunting on company grounds, because it’s not clear from what LW wrote whether his behavior goes that far, it’s far from conclusive that he was based on what LW did include and I’d like to keep that in perspective as well.

    2. Gaia*


      As if, what? These women are victims and he is some predator? You are aware women can be consensual participants in a sexual affair, right? Even if they knew he was married. This is a really gross term and you should probably not use it.

      1. TootsNYC*

        Animaniactoo was very specifically drawing a distinction between participating in a consensual affair and acting as a predator. There were two “if’s” in that paragraph–I think you missed the second one.

        There *are* sexual predators, and “hunting” is the right term.
        But the word “if” automatically implies that there are other options, plus animaniactoo also laid out one of the other options (“simply being open and available”).

        Listing two doesn’t even mean there aren’t any stops in between.

      2. Allison*

        But if someone doesn’t know a man is married, are they consenting to the affair? You can consent to sex without knowingly consent to being someone’s side piece. All I did was go on a date with a guy before finding out he was married and I felt icky just for having made out with him.

        1. Salamander*

          If someone was not up front with me about their relationship status, I wouldn’t feel as if I was given the chance to give full consent.

        2. Caelyn*

          + 100.

          Even if the person is in an open marriage/ relationship (and thus, it isn’t an affair), they should be up front about that. I’m fine with open marriages, but wouldn’t consent to being involved with someone who was in one, even though the person is still available.

          Consent requires full knowledge of the situation.

        3. Detective Amy Santiago*

          Exactly. This is the point I was trying to make in my comment above.

        4. Anna*

          And there is no way to know what his partners knew or didn’t know. The OP doesn’t know what he told them and frankly it feels a bit like we’re going into “is there such a thing as free will and agency” territory, which is not something any of us will resolve here.

  15. lurking and such today*

    Stay out of it OP. It’s messy.

    I do believe that people can make questionable choices in their personal life and still be a competent employee. I don’t believe an employer should judge someone’s work ethic and morals based off the decisions they make in their personal life. I’ll give Kevin the benefit of the doubt that he’s curbed his immaturity in openly discussing his shenanigans which probably helped get him into a VIP position.

    1. N*

      Yes. Especially because what constitutes “questionable choices” varies so much from person to person. Like, an employer may believe that a person who is homosexual or in an open marriage may have a skewed moral compass, but it has no baring on their ability to do the work unless they begin to harass someone else–and in that instance, as was mentioned above, the problem is the harassment, not the person’s behavior outside of work.

  16. K.*

    This is such a clear case of “stay out of it,” to me. I see no reason to bring this up at all. Kevin told you about his escapades five years ago and you haven’t spoken to him since – he may be a model husband now. You’ve only been at the company a week. You don’t want to be making waves this big this early. You say yourself he’s a great worker, which is what the company cares about. You wouldn’t be working with or for him. I could maaaaaaybe see this if you were going to work with him and you found his past (because again, he may not be cheating anymore) so objectionable that you couldn’t do a good job, but that’s not the case. And most importantly, his relationships are none of the company’s business. This doesn’t concern you or the company; leave it alone.

    I can name a number of people I know who have messy personal lives and are good at their jobs (one of whom is a psychologist, which is a cliche but true in her case), so I definitely think it’s possible.

  17. Important Moi*

    Though, I agree with “not your circus, not your monkeys” I wish to expand the discussion a little.

    Are you, OP, certain that anyone you would tell about Kevin’s exploits would see things exactly as you do? These were consenting adults (outside of the fiancee) making a decision you don’t approve of.

    Everyone doesn’t have the same morals and everyone doesn’t discuss their morals at work. It is possible that revealing Kevin’s past(?) behavior may backfire on you. The person(s) you choose to tell may not be impressed with you i.e. you become known as Workplace Morality Enforcer.

    1. Roscoe*

      Yep, I would think less of OP for gossiping than I would about Kevin doing something 5 years ago.

    2. MindoverMoneyChick*

      Ooh…this is a good point. I agree with Alison simply on the basis that she’s way to new to this company to weigh in on this. But then add to that the idea that the person she may be alerting might not think cheating is a big deal or possibly be someone who’s involved in that type of behavior him or herself…yeah that reason #57 not to do it.

    3. caryatis*

      Great comment. For all the OP knows, the hiring manager is cheating on his or her spouse too!

      You never know what moral opinions people have. It goes all the way from the “dating is immoral” person, to a number of commenters on here who seem to think all casual sex with coworkers is immoral, to people (like me) who have no problem with casual sex OR adultery. And it’s dangerous to assume that the person you’re talking to shares your opinions.

    4. k*

      That another great reason to stay out of it. OP is new and still building a reputation at this company, so it could be very easy to become labeled as a busybody or tattletale.

  18. Caelyn*

    Just because it’s a pet peeve of mine… If the future spouse is a woman, it’s spelled with two e’s (fiancée). If the future spouse is a man, it’s spelled with one (fiancé).

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      That’s because it comes from French, which has gendered word endings. English doesn’t, so it’s no surprise that as the word becomes more Americanized, the gendered differentiation is increasingly getting dropped. (I’d argue that’s a good thing.)

    2. caryatis*

      Pet peeve of mine too. I don’t mind if you want to marry a man or a woman, but you should know the gender of the person you’re marrying!

      1. N.J.*

        Though a valid point based on French gendered nouns, the lack of a second e and/or relevant accent mark placement does not confuse the meaning of what is being communicated, as some grammar issues or misspellings can. This is a nitpick and if I recall, discouraged in our community’s commenting guidelines. If we are expected not to nitpick an OPs’s grammar, so as to encourage them to post here, I believe we owe Alison the same respect. It is pedantic to nitpick something that doesn’t affect the meaning of what you are reading on a blog. This isn’t a graded paper. I apologize ahead of time. I’m not trying to start anything, but wanted to point out the specific issue here.

      2. General Ginger*

        Not picking on you in the slightest — but I’m now curious what the correct spelling would be for a nonbinary future spouse.

        1. Foxtrot*

          In English or in French? Considering the Romance languages gender literally everything, I wonder if they’re capable of handling this? I mean, is my coffee pot really a woman and my shoe a man? They are in Spanish! Then again, there’s some research that suggest the language you grew up in affects how you think. So maybe those who grew up with a gender thrust upon everything aren’t as affected by it?

          1. Humble Schoolmarm*

            I’ve been looking into this, because in my field it’s going to come up sooner or later, but no luck so far. The best that I can come up with is that male is the general default (which is a problem, but I can’t change French), so masculin endings with no pronouns…maybe…

          2. General Ginger*

            My first language is also heavily gendered, but there is a third/neutral gender for nouns. For example, tables and chairs are male, but a bar stool is male with the traditional suffix and female with the colloquial suffix, hay is neutral gender, and coffee recently had its gender changed from male to neutral by popular demand.

  19. A Potterhead for life*

    Alison wrote, “… Compulsive cheaters like Kevin don’t seem to worry about that nearly enough; on some level they must believe other people will find their behavior normal enough that it won’t happen. (As evidence for this, look at his bragging to you about the cheating in the first place.)”

    Whoa. Full Stop. I had a HUGE blind spot about this until I reached the end of Alison’s response to OP. Wonderfully insightful as usual!

  20. The comma after dearest*

    When the fiancé is a woman, fiancée is spelled with another “E”. Sorry to be that person.

  21. NW Mossy*

    I wouldn’t intervene, and especially not now – there’s a better-than-decent chance this ends up being a non-issue simply because Kevin either isn’t offered the job or declines it.

    Years ago, a colleague shared this delightful quote (attributed to Calvin Coolidge) that applies nicely: “When you see ten troubles rolling down the road, if you don’t do anything, nine of them will roll into a ditch before they get to you.” As someone who can easily fall down the rabbit hole of “I must prevent all the bad things,” I kept the quote as a reminder to chill out :).

  22. Squeeble*

    Agreed with Alison’s response. There have been several letters recently that seem to fall into the category of “Yes, this is weird and/or icky, but not your place to intervene,” and I’d say the same for this one.

  23. OP*

    Thanks, Alison, and thanks for the comments everyone! I was definitely leaning in the direction of none of my business, but I absolutely appreciate the insight and the reasoning behind why it’s none of my business. It’s also really helpful to hear that I don’t have anything to worry about should he join the company as far as retaliation/ backlash.

    Also, thanks so much Important Moi for pointing out that not everyone would find the cheating as distasteful as I did/do. I hadn’t considered that angle at all.

  24. Lily in NYC*

    This is no one’s business. Here’s the thing OP – you know lots of people who are cheating on their spouses – but you just don’t know about it because they didn’t tell you. The only difference here is that he talked about it instead of hiding it.

    1. K.*

      Exactly. The older I get, the more I realize how common cheating is. I’m sure I’m working or am friends with people right now who are cheating or have cheated.

  25. Stellaaaaa*

    The only way to bring this up would be if OP knows Kevin to overtly proposition his coworkers/company clients/etc. In the old job, exactly how many women in the office had he slept with? Did he have a reputation for messing around at conferences and being sloppy about it? It’s completely valid to say, “At an old job, Kevin would hit on me and the other female coworkers and then tell me uncomfortably detailed stories about the other women he was sleeping with,” but only if that’s true. I don’t think it’s out of turn to inform management of a potential sexual harassment nightmare – it’s my understanding (correct me if I’m wrong) that just talking about sex can count as harassment.

  26. stk*

    He sounds like a total creep and I’d be tempted too, but I don’t see any way that actively bringing it up is going to do anything but make the OP look unprofessional, given it doesn’t seem like OP is in an industry with very clear morals clauses or whatever.

    If anyone involved in hiring ASKS about it, though, I’d be tempted to at least explain about his behaviour at conferences. I agree that your sex life should really not be involved in work decisions at all, but that’s the bit to me which makes it a work problem. Alison/other commenters, would you say mentioning that, if asked, would be okay?

  27. Employment Lawyer*

    It’s also true that chronic cheating on a partner (and we’re talking actual cheating here, not open relationships) says something about someone’s integrity and character and their willingness to deceive and break commitments when it’s convenient for them.
    Er… no, it is not “also true.” At least, not outside the area of emotional or sexual relationships.

    People are highly compartmentalized.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I stand by it! We’re talking about a person who’s willing to repeatedly deceive an intimate partner (and potentially put her health at risk); I don’t see how that doesn’t speak to integrity and character.

      1. Detective Amy Santiago*

        I’m with you.

        The reverse is also true. If someone is willing to cheat or lie in a business capacity, I am going to be very cautious about a personal relationship.

      2. aebhel*

        Right! People who lie and cheat in one context may be fine in another, but they have already shown themselves to be a person who is willing to lie and cheat when it’s to their benefit (and especially in a case like this, where the cheating was repeated and varied). Maybe they decide it’s to their benefit in a job situation, maybe they don’t, but clearly telling damaging lies and breaking commitments is not an issue for them, ethically.

      3. Employment Lawyer*

        I’m a traditionalist and I have no interest in cheating on my own wife, but we can’t deny that the custom of “marriage” is very different among cultures and people (e.g., http://nymag.com/thecut/2014/09/up-with-adultery-an-italian-womans-manifesto.html)

        It’s a mistake to confuse values and integrity. Values are more about what someone thinks (“faithfulness is super important / unimportant”) and integrity is more about how they live within whatever values they happen to have. You can’t judge someone’s integrity without knowing their values, and we don’t know the values here.

        I think this is especially an issue for sex stuff, because most folks tend to view ANY stuff other than “how they were raised” as pretty squicky.

        1. aebhel*

          Making (potentially) poor choices with your own health and mistreating your significant other are two very different things in terms of what they indicate about you as a person.

          1. Anna*

            Well, that’s BS and the question is valid. You’re putting a morality judgment that you’ve decided you’re qualified to make on a behavior that doesn’t affect you.

            1. JamieS*

              No it’s not BS. Shadow asked if people who overeat lack self-discipline in that area. The answer to that question is yes they do lack self-discipline when it comes to eating. I can’t change the understood meaning of a word to appease you.

              I didn’t make any statement of morality in my post so I’m not sure what you’re talking about in your second sentence. However, for your own peace of mind, unless a person stole the food, someone else’s eating habits aren’t anywhere on my moral compass.

              Finally I stand by my statement that a person overeating has nothing to do with the topic of having a chronic cheater as a coworker. Overeating doesn’t put another person’s health at risk and it takes significantly more time and effort to cheat than it does to eat too many potato chips.

              A person can feasibly eat too much without meaning to (ie mindlessly eat chips while watching TV). On the other hand, it’s going to be a long hard row to hoe if you want to make the argument a person can repeatedly cheat on their significant other without meaning to.

              1. Shadow*

                The point is if an overeater can compartmentalize that poor judgement why can’t a cheater compartmentalize. And yes overeating is putting that persons health at risk.

                If you’re saying that people overeat accidentally, cheaters can also give you a whole bunch of “explanations” for cheating.

    2. animaniactoo*

      Sure. Highly compartmentalized – in that they decide which categories the bright lines should apply to and which they shouldn’t. Based on what works *for them*. i.e. At their convenience, by their definition of what each kind of partnership/situation is owed by them, or how much risk they are willing to take with it.

      That some have made the choice that work is off-limits, only means that they have decided this area is not convenient for them. Not that they wouldn’t consider it and it couldn’t change depending on circumstances.

      1. Myrin*

        Wow, that’s incredibly well said, you’ve articulated exactly what I’m thinking but could never eloquently express. Definitely bookmarking this comment!

      2. PlainJane*

        Great comment. I suppose there are people out there who can compartmentalize their character, but I don’t think we can assume that most people do that. I think you made the key point here: people who cheat (whether in a personal or business context) have demonstrated that lying, deception, and breaking promises are OK in at least some settings. That’s enough to keep me from trusting them in any context.

        All that said, I don’t think there’s a good way for the OP to bring this up, so it’s best to let it go.

      3. Mints*

        Yeah, I agree with this. I have a set of friends who are roommates – a boyfriend & girlfriend and a third roommate. And the third roommate has told me the boyfriend will pretty frequently lie about really trivial roomie stuff – “Did you eat my cheezits?” “No, that’s weird.” then next day comes clean “I just remembered I ate your cheezits last week, I’ll buy you a new box.”
        And like, I have no reason to think he’s cheating on the girlfriend but I would also be 0% surprised if he was cheating on her.

        (On topic though, I agree the OP is too new to risk saying anything)

      4. Shadow*

        Oh please. We all compartmentalize all the time including you and it’s not just out of convenience. Do you bring your personal biases to work or do you compartmentalize them? is that out of convenience or necessity and respect?

    3. MegaMoose, Esq*

      I think it’s fair, given that the very next paragraph states that this isn’t/shouldn’t be relevant in hiring decisions. That’s where the compartmentalization comes in.

    4. Stellaaaaa*

      In general, I’m not a fan of the thinking that any and all bad actions are forgivable, but if someone else tells the truth about it, they’re the one at fault. We’re talking about whether or not OP specifically is in a position to voice her concerns, but I’d argue that it wouldn’t be wrong to do so – If Kevin doesn’t want people to think he does bad things, he shouldn’t do them, especially not within the purview of his job. It’s not up to OP to protect Kevin against the truth of things he has willfully done. However, while it might be RIGHT for OP to speak up, it might not be CORRECT in this scenario, and that’s what OP is trying to figure out.

      1. Anna*

        It’s not even RIGHT because it has nothing to do with his actual work performance.

  28. Greg*

    Not exactly the same thing, but this reminded me of something that happened at my old job. Two coworkers in our New York office were dating. Jane, who worked in sales, transferred to our SF office. Fergus, who worked in IT, wanted to stay with her, but since the SF office was purely sales, he had to leave the company and find another job.

    A few months later, I heard through the office grapevine that Jane was moving back to New York. Turns out she had been cheating on him the entire time with someone back east. I had always liked Jane before that happened, and obviously I didn’t know all the details, but I had a hard time imagining the circumstance where it would be OK to allow your boyfriend to quit his job and move across the country for you despite the fact that you were already cheating on him.

    Anyway, years later I was in a different job and discovered that Jane was once again my coworker. We were in totally different departments and had minimal interaction, so I had no professional reason to say anything to anyone, but I may have mentioned it to a couple close friends in the office in the context of, “I used to work with her and she’s a horrible person.”

    If I had been in a position similar to the OP’s, would I have said something? Probably not. But if I were friends with the hiring manager, I could certainly imagine giving her a heads up. It’s one thing to cheat, but IMO behavior like that displays a shocking lack of ethics that caused me to question everything I knew about her.

  29. aebhel*

    Yeah, Kevin’s pretty gross, but that’s not relevant to his work. I’d leave this one alone, OP. Bringing it up is more likely to make you look bad than him.

  30. Lady Phoenix*

    I have a word for this guy, but I’m far to lady-like to ever dare. Reathe a word. *fans herself with her fan like a Southern Lady*

    When it comes to people like these, they are the ones who build the drama. Maybe they like the good [and bad attention], but usually a cheater mc cheatson is gonna build enough filth to muddle his working relations.

    So if he still be a cheating, let him bury his pwn grave and leave it be. Unless he also likes to peep into women’s restrooms or creep on the youngins’, he isn’t doing any harm except on himself.

    1. cncx*

      I agree. my experience has also been that people who cheat, especially if they cheat with coworkers, usually do other stuff to dig their own grave. If i were OP i would protect myself as much as possible in interactions with this person, and just sit back and let the drama unfold. I get that there is moral relativism involved and that some people can compartmentalize, i just know in my experience cheaters usually have other drama that bleeds over into their professional life, like that isn’t their only problem, even if in some areas they are good at their jobs.

  31. Puffyshirt*

    Very interesting. I, too, agree that OP is too new to the org to get involved. It would be likely to be viewed as gossipy, in my opinion. Also, while I respect Alison’s opinion, it has been my experience that people who
    Can’t be trusted in their personal lives, often prove they can’t be trusted at work either. Not that it really applies here because a lot can change in 5 years…

  32. mockingbird2081*

    I don’t think highly of people who choose to cheat on their spouses or fiance’. However, you mentioned that this was six years ago. I don’t think highly of people who cheat but I also believe that people can change. I like to think I am a better person than I was six years ago. I hope I have matured a bit more.

    Perhaps Kevin saw the error of his ways and is living a better life. It would be a shame for you to hash up something that could very well be in the past.

  33. Manager-at-Large*

    a little off topic question – how do you all know that OP is female? I see many comments refering to “she” – couldn’t the letter just as well have been from a male former colleague? Did I miss something in the original post?

  34. Britt*

    So this is timely because I had a coworker from years ago friend me on instagram over the weekend. When I worked with him before, he was constantly cheating on his fiance and having super inappropriate gchat convos with my office mate who left them out for anyone to see (really graphic things). I haven’t seen or spoken to him since 2011. Well, not 24 hrs after he friended me, I got sexual messages in my DM’s. Now he’s married with two kids. It grosses me out and he hasn’t changed a bit, but I have zero reason to comment on his personal life when he keeps things professional (and I assume doesn’t do gchat sexting anymore). He’s done the same and worked his way up the ladder quite successfully. Just ignore the guy and file him under “person to not be alone with in a room or drink with”. You know he’s a sleazeball so keep him at arm’s length.

    1. animaniactoo*

      The reach-out feelers to instant proposition is one I can’t get over. High-school friend’s barely spoken to bf: 20 years later, 2 hours after accepting FB friend request. I felt slimed on.

  35. Elizabeth West*

    I don’t think this is worth bringing up. If Kevin is hired, and this doesn’t impact his or the OP’s work, there is no reason to say anything. I’m assuming Kevin didn’t tell OP about it in a creepy harassing way, and it doesn’t sound like he did, just more like a thing he told someone he felt comfortable with that he probably should not have shared.

    Plus, it was several years ago and things may have changed for Kevin in the meantime. I’d let it go, and if he tries to bring it up again, just tell him you would rather not discuss it.

    1. Whats In A Name*

      I know and these 2 sentences….used to work with six years ago in a brief temp job. & I think maybe it was some sort of ego stroking on his part?

      Make me wonder if he might have stretched the truth a little – I’ve had male friends who did this, especially in our 20’s because they thought it impressed other people.

      I mean he might not have, but I’d just let it go since she says she hasn’t’ talk to him in 5 years.

      1. Whats In A Name*

        I meant *might not have been stretching the truth

        And the point about the temp was if he thought he’d never see her again maybe he was playing some weird role or embellishing because “hey, I won’t see her again”

  36. Lissa*

    I think in this case the balance tips towards “don’t say anything.” You’re new, it was six years ago, etc. There are a couple points that could potentially tip it the other way, like the fact that he was cheating with coworkers is a potential introduction of massive drama, and bragging to coworkers is the same (lack of good judgment wow)…but here I don’t think it would be a good idea to bring it up.

    people have wildly different reactions to cheating, as well, as another poster said above. I have a friend who claims she won’t be friends with anyone who has ever cheated, even if it was a one time mistake years ago – as well as people who shrug it off. Personally I do see Kevin’s particular type of cheating – blatant, repeated, bragging about it like it’s a good thing – as being really hard to reconcile with being an OK person, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything about how he’ll be at this job, which is really what the company is interested in, I’d think — just safer not to bring it up.

  37. LSP*

    OP, I feel your pain! I once WALKED IN on my married manager being… er… “intimate” with an intern. The manager was married (and I believe still is), and she was someone who already didn’t like me. She didn’t see me, and neither did the intern, so I just backed away slowly, and kept my mouth shut about it. I found out years later, after the manager had left, that everyone, including the highest up boss knew about it, and no one cared. (Though I have to assume the boss didn’t know it was happening in her chair in her office, which is where I saw it all happening… eww.)

    Just because of how terrible that particular manager was to me, I would have loved to out her behavior to her husband and all future bosses (especially since the intern later confided in me that he had wanted to stop seeing her after a while, but felt he couldn’t because she was his boss), but I had a very strong impression that it would do more damage to my reputation than to hers.

    1. paul*

      A manager with an intern is a lot different than people that are roughly equal. Eew ew ew

      1. K.*

        Yeah, I’m surprised the higher-ups didn’t care about this – not the married part, the boss sleeping with an intern part.

  38. amy*

    Nope, don’t agree with this one.

    1. If I’m hiring, and someone knows my prospective hire is willing to lie about important things *to his fiancee*, I want to know about that, because it means he’ll probably lie to me quite happily about important things, too.

    2. The fact that he goes around sharing this kind of stuff with colleagues makes him a sexual harassment risk. Nope nope nope.

    As the boss, I’d very much want to know. I’d understand the OP’s not telling, but I’d be a little disappointed in her, and next time around would remember that her impulse was to play it safe and withhold, even when the stakes were high.

    1. Stellaaaaa*

      Yep, I’m tired of people acting like the mature or socially evolved move is to look the other way when someone else does something wrong. It makes it hard for wronged parties to speak up. Why on earth wouldn’t Kevin’s past behavior in the office be a relevant part of his work history? Why are some parts of in-office behavior (the job) from 5+ years ago relevant but other parts (how he speaks and acts toward others) not? If one can/can’t change, the same can be said of the other. There’s no need to protect the hiring manager against the truth that anything from five years ago might be different now. Surely they account for that when interviewing and calling references. I’d want to know if anyone in my office had firsthand experience working with the guy I was thinking of hiring. IMO the issue isn’t so much that he cheats. It’s that he uses his professional life as the playground for his cheating that’s the issue. Cheating with wife’s bff on weekends? Not a work problem. Cheating at a work conference and then telling a coworker the details? Problem.

      1. Roscoe*

        I think the problem is that it isn’t clear the actual circumstances around what he said. Did he say this in the office, or when they were out having drinks? Did OP definitely say she wasn’t comfortable with that, or laugh along and high five him? Because I’d argue if she was going along with it, and he had no idea that it was unwanted, then its hard to gauge just how inappropriate it was. I’ve definitely had some more “adult” conversations with work friends. It wasn’t in the office or anything though. But I would never say anything that knowingly made someone uncomfortable. Even if it did make them uncomfortable, this is still what comes down to a moral judgment, when everyone doesn’t have the same morals. I don’t condone cheating on your spouse, but if I was hiring, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference to me.

        1. Stellaaaaa*

          I really don’t understand why people are unwilling to acknowledge that Kevin openly cheating on his wife at work-sponsored conferences (“with coworkers,” not mere colleagues within the industry) in hotel rooms that the business is paying for and then making that information somewhat public wouldn’t be something that a potential employer would want to know about. If Kevin might have changed in the past 5 years, it’s possible that OP was okay with it 5 years ago but has changed and isn’t cool with it anymore.

          1. Important Moi*

            I don’t think anyone is not acknowledging anything. No one saying Kevin didn’t cheat then. What people are saying is OP doesn’t know that Kevin is cheating now (and as a few posters have noted marriage expectations vary from person to person, couple to couple, and even poly relationships).

            “If Kevin might have changed in the past 5 years, it’s possible that OP was okay with it 5 years ago but has changed and isn’t cool with it anymore.” So if OP isn’t cool with it, I don’t understand why a potential employer would have to know that?
            I’ve tried to figure out how this conversation would go, it seems strange:

            OP: 5 years ago Kevin cheated on his then fiancee and now wife a conferences paid for by his employer. I don’t like it. I thought you should know.

            HR/MGT: ????

            What should HR/MGT response be?

            Interestingly, why hasn’t it been offered that OP confront Kevin directly as opposed to going to whomever with 5 year old information? Too direct?

            1. Stellaaaaa*

              The conversation would go something like, “In a prior job, Kevin would wait until he and other people from the office were out of town at a conference to proposition some of the women. He would then return to the office and tell people about his exploits. I was uncomfortable with this because it involved a few different women in our office, plus he was married and it just seemed like a disaster waiting to happen. Additionally, I am now aware that when he told me these stories despite my unwillingness to hear them, he was sexually h-ing me. I just thought you should know about my past experiences working with him.”

              1. Important Moi*

                Thank you for responding. I rarely participate this often. This letter is interesting. :)

                “In a prior job, Kevin would wait until he and other people from the office were out of town at a conference to proposition some of the women. ” I would ask when, since you don’t provide it.

                “He would then return to the office and tell people about his exploits. I was uncomfortable with this because it involved a few different women in our office, plus he was married and it just seemed like a disaster waiting to happen.” You were uncomfortable. Did you talk to management? What did management at the other job do to address this?
                ” Additionally, I am now aware that when he told me these stories despite my unwillingness to hear them, he was sexually h-ing me.” That’s a serious accusation to proffer 5 years later, from a previous company with no corroboration. Should Kevin have the opportunity to face you, the accuser?
                “I just thought you should know about my past experiences working with him.” Now you’ve told me because obviously this is important to you. What else should I know about Kevin? Is there anyone else on Staff I should know about? You have suggestions as to how a would be harasser should be dealt with at this company? Am I supposed to keep this to myself? Should Kevin be informed that you think he’s a sexual harasser?

                Again, even with your speech, I don’t think it is likely to go over well for the person talking about Kevin. (OP has already responded.) It seems like retro-active punishment/ retribution for what took place at another place of employment is what’s desired. I don’t think that’s wise for this potential employer to do.

                Nice chatting with you. :)

              2. Anna*

                1. He wasn’t married a the time.
                2. The OP isn’t expressing concern about sexual harassment, you are.
                3. You’re specifically phrasing it as if the women involved had no agency at all. For all you know, they hit on him and he was up for it.
                4. Which comes down to consenting adults who had sex. Not women being coerced.
                5. The OP, as far as she’s expressed, is the only person who heard about the stories and it was a seriously dumb thing for Kevin to talk to her about it, but we can’t assume, based on the OP’s actual words, that the intent was to sexually harass her.
                6. He would wait until he and other people were out of town to proposition them? Like he was laying in wait? Sheesh.

                1. AD*

                  Agreed. I’m surprised/mortified that people are saying that as hiring managers, they would want to know if a candidate cheated on their spouse/fiance. What?? Would the same things be said if the cheater was a woman? I’m struggling to find justification for demanding info so far out of bounds of the workplace.

  39. Still learning how to adult...*

    If the OP hasn’t crossed paths with Kevin in the last 6 years, she probably doesn’t know what else has gone on in Kevin’s life. Kevin may have straightened himself out, confessed to his wife, got forgiveness, yadda yadda yadda, and OP doesn’t know anything about it. A lot can happen in 6 years; and those years are receding in a mirror fast and not getting anymore detailed with time.

    Yes, I agree that Kevin’s behavior previously was horrendous, immoral, potentially harmful to his family’s health. But at this point you don’t know what else has happened since.

    For now, keep your mouth shut and stay out of his way. If he starts to play fast & loose again, that’s still not your problem, even if you catch him in the act. Perhaps if he starts targeting a friend of yours for his special attention, certainly warn them in strict confidence. But don’t be the source of a whispering campaign around the whole company.

    Even if you ever start working with or for him, treat him with kid gloves and a 10ft. pole.

    Up above was real good advice – don’t let yourself be alone in a room with him or drinking with him.

  40. Biff*

    I gotta disagree that this isn’t OP’s circus or monkeys. I had a kevin at my work who talked constantly about things not appropriate for the office environment and it ultimately crossed the line into discussing illegal activities at work. No beauno. The guy had no respect for women and he was a chronic problem child whose snow-job on management wore off quickly. He was a total drama train.

    I think it’s very relevant for the OP to say something like: “I can vouch for Kevin’s work — it’s excellent, but I need to speak to you about something else — he had a tendency to bring his personal life to work in ways that I don’t think he realized reflected poorly on him. He spent a significant amount of time regaling me with tales that are better suited for drinking buddies than workmates. I would be concerned if we brought Kevin on he may still have poor interpersonal boundaries and could create some very ugly drama in the office that just isn’t necessary.”

    1. Important Moi*

      If I were on the receiving end of that, I would ask under what circumstances you worked with Kevin .
      Are you going to offer that “… I used to work with six years ago in a brief temp job. Apparently Kevin worked with another person at my company even longer ago then when I worked with Kevin.” are you just going to leave that out? It’s changes the value of your input tremendously if you don’t. And if asked, will you provide it.

      I would ask you to painstakingly explain what “drama” means (that’s vague)

      I would note you used the words “could” and “may.” In other words, you don’t know for sure what he does now. You only know he did something you didn’t like before. I may or may not tell you I noticed that.

      Your answers would determine what if anything I did next.

  41. she was a fast machine*

    How is Kevin’s bragging to OP not considered sexual harassment??? Like, I get that it’s not as serious as some incidents, but I certainly would take it as such if someone said that to me, and if I knew that someone was getting hired to work with me again I’d surely mention that they had previously harassed me.

    1. Stellaaaaa*

      This is a point that I touched on but I think OP should be clear on…she’s bothering to ask the question so I’m assuming the issue makes her uncomfortable. If that’s the case, framing this as “hey hiring manager, at a previous job, Kevin routinely spoke to me in ways that fall under the umbrella of harassment” removes a lot of ambiguity.

  42. she was a fast machine*

    As an aside, are comments being screened? I could have sworn I posted something but it’s not showing up.

  43. David*

    OP, if this person was being hired as your Chief Ethics Officer or for any role where his being in a compromised position might jeopardize the company, I’d argue you’d be fully justified in raising your concerns. Otherwise I doubt there’s any value in bringing this up.

    But I want to point out that this doesn’t in any way, shape, or form, prevent you from having whatever opinion you may have of his character. If you find his behavior reprehensible, you are entirely in your right to do so, and no matter what anyone says in terms of how it should reflect in his professional life, you are entitled to continue to think what you will about him. Don’t let anyone tell you any different.

  44. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

    At one place I worked, Mr.. Philanderer had a wife – and a girlfriend. When his marriage ended in divorce, he had a girlfriend outside the office and another girlfriend, inside the office.

    This put some employees in embarrassing social situations – particularly when he took his girlfriend to functions and left the wife at home. I could write a book on them (I won’t). And no, this wasn’t an “open marriage”.

    Sometimes – SOMETIMES – some people will consider personal conduct when evaluating candidates for advancement. Such behavior could be construed as poor judgment.

    But I’m not in management – thankfully, because I don’t want to make those judgment calls.

    1. Anna*

      But there’s really no way to phrase it that doesn’t sound like gossip, unless you can give specific explanations on how it actually affected the work environment. “Mr. Philanderer was married and had a girlfriend. He would regularly ask us to cover for him when his wife called [that affects work relationships and is really an inappropriate request]. After the divorce, he started dating a coworker. This turned into preferential treatment.” Those are actual work-based issues. “Mr. Philanderer is a philanderer and has convoluted personal relationships that I find distasteful” is not.

  45. emma2*

    I agree with others that the letter writer should stay out of this, and if Kevin does get hired, just try to ignore him as much as possible – especially if you’re new, because your word won’t hold that much weight.

    But UGH – one of my biggest nightmares is ending up married to a Kevin.

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