my coworker brought sex workers back to our hotel on a business trip

A reader writes:

I went on a work trip with my group — me, my manager, and a few coworkers — to Mexico. On the last night there (prior to our 4 a.m. flight the next morning), we all had a bit too much to drink. After hauling some coworkers back to their rooms, one coworker and I went back down to the lobby to find another coworker checking in two sex workers to his hotel room. I’m unsure if my manager is aware he did this.

Do I have to report this? To my manager? To HR? To our anonymous ethics line?

We live in a country where prostitution is illegal, but after a quick google search it looks like it is legal in Mexico. I’m not really against prostitution, but given that this happened on a work trip, at a work-paid hotel, I just feel kind of squeamish. And knowing the coworker has family at home, it grosses me out. His family life is none of my business and he can do what he wants on his own time, which makes me think to just leave this lie. But then the fact this was a work trip makes me pause. What is the most ethical thing to do?

I think you can leave it alone.

It’s gross on a few different fronts, and it’s bad judgment on a work trip where coworkers are nearby (and, as in this case, could end up witnessing it) and when your company is paying for your hotel room — and that’s why you’re feeling squeamish about it — but I don’t think you’re ethically required to report it to anyone.

Part of what makes this gross is that he wasn’t more discreet about it; he should have cared more about ensuring that his coworkers — who he knew were staying in the same hotel and were coming home around that time — didn’t witness it. It feels like forcing unwanted information about his sex life on you, even though that presumably wasn’t his intent.

But ultimately I look at it this way: It’s not that no one can ever have sex in a hotel room paid for by their company. (After all, if you met up with an old flame on a business trip or brought your spouse along, that wouldn’t be anyone’s business.) And sex work does appear to be legal and regulated in many parts of Mexico.

If you were the guy’s boss, my response would be different. If I saw an employee doing this, I’d pull them aside later and have a conversation about their judgment and discretion on business trips (and frankly would count on the embarrassment of having to have that conversation with one’s boss to do a lot of the work of ensuring it didn’t happen again).

But otherwise, it’s gross but not something you’re obligated to report. (With the obvious caveat that if you have a specific ethics policy that says otherwise, you should follow that.)

Updated to add: I think sex work should be legal and safe. I find this guy gross, not sex workers, and talked more about why in the comments here.

{ 521 comments… read them below }

  1. Stella70*

    ….and I thought it was bad when my boss swiped a few tiny bottles of shampoo from the housekeeping cart…

    1. François Caron*

      You don’t even need to swipe them. Just ask for them. I’ve done it many times. The staff is always happy to give you a few extras even if you’re checking out.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        I suspect this information would ruin the boss’s high-stakes ninja stealth mode combat roll to secure a couple of mini bottles of shampoo.

          1. MigraineMonth*

            You know those little “work out” stations they have in some parks with pull-up bars and such? My mom uses those and thinks that means she’s been doing Parkour.

        1. stratospherica*

          Nah, it’s fine. Just ask for a few of the little nice-smelling bottles of shampoo, accept them graciously, say thank you and then high-stakes ninja stealth mode combat roll away.

          1. Juicebox Hero*

            Go back to the room and swipe all the sugar packets from the coffee station, then ninj away.

    1. vegan velociraptor*

      What is it that makes this gross, in your eyes? Is it the sex, or is it that money was involved?

        1. vegan velociraptor*

          So the sex work itself doesn’t make a difference – that’s what I was trying to pin down.

          1. Lilo*

            I mean, it depends on how carefully you vet your services. There’s a real problem with coercion and trafficking in the sex work industry. So it’s important to be aware of whether this really was a consensual encounter.

            1. Selena81*

              The whole situation sounds like the complete opposite of ‘doing due diligence’ as to the job-circumstances of your nightly companion.

              I don’t think the act of exchanging money for sex is in itself immoral. But the industry has a well-earned reputation for leaving many of its workers worse of.

          2. Ellis Bell*

            It does a bit, but only because it’s combined with his work and because he’s using an opportunity when away from from his family. I wouldn’t think anything of a single or poly person hiring sex workers when on holiday or at home. I also wouldn’t think anything of anyone meeting up with a partner on their business trip. I think in this context they were bringing their coworkers into their work trip-specific sex and relationship choices, which was thoughtless and unprofessional (to colleagues) and downright gross (to his family).

              1. Ellis Bell*

                So someone in an open relationship who has a lot of green lighted sex at home just can’t pass up the opportunity when a few free hours away from the family, even though it meant doing it in a work context that made it look like they were cheating? Or opening up speculations on their relationship? Well, it’s not totally impossible..

                1. Hibiscus*

                  It’s that he’s bleeding his carnal desires into the workplace and not being discreet about it. That’s being gross and imposing on your co-workers’ good will and professional relationship.

              2. Marzipan Shepherdess*

                Open marriage? Uh huh…sure! Yes there are open relationships/marriages, no there aren’t many of them and yes “We have an open marriage” is a line used by cheaters all. the. time. Chances are that your colleague WAS cheating on his spouse and that they would NOT have been just fine and dandy with his cheating on them! (And that’s not even getting into the possibility of his picking up and passing on an STD – not all of which can be cured yet.)

                A certain very well publicized trial has recently drawn public attention to a common-law legal maxim: Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus – false in one thing, false in everything. It’s not always true, but that maxim wouldn’t have endured this long if weren’t usually true. So don’t start regarding your colleague as Bernie Madoff II, but don’t be a sucker and assume that he’s a shining example of integrity either.

                1. New Jack Karyn*

                  I’m not sure that it’s actually true, that someone who is false in one area is false in all areas. My counterexample is Bill Clinton: I think he’s a raging egomaniac who cheated on his wife almost reflexively, but I don’t think he was a crooked politician who scammed and grifted his way to riches.

                  And I don’t think he’s an outlier, either.

            1. Hohumdrum*

              so you support sex workers but just don’t think they should be able to support themselves? Because shaming customers sorta just feels like progressive dress up on shaming sex workers.

              1. Ann Nonymous*

                In this case it’s a married man who is definitely cheating on his wife and potentially exposing her to disease. Not to mention this is on a work trip where he represents his business, and also his character to his coworkers.

                1. nodramalama*

                  how on earth do you know what arrangements this person you’ve never met has with their spouse?

                2. DJ Abbott*

                  It’s the cheating that calls his character and question. If he was single, and we support sex workers doing what they do, then his hiring them would not be a character issue.

              2. fhqwhgads*

                Dude on a work trip hiring sex workers at the hotel where his colleagues are = gross
                Dude on a personal trip hiring sex workers != gross

              3. Umiel12*

                Apparently. I gather from the discussion that sex workers are not gross, but anyone who uses their services is gross.

                1. Sorrischian*

                  I don’t think it’s “anyone who uses their services”, it’s that this particular guy has all the hallmarks of someone who is gross about it.

                2. Wren123*

                  Sex workers are often coerced, whether by circumstances like extreme poverty or by pimps/traffickers, so it’s understandable people feel sympathy for them. On the other hand, people (usually men) who purchase sex are willing to accept that they are victimizing others to get laid. So yes, there is a distinction.

                3. JM60*


                  Thankfully, the vast majority of sex workers aren’t trafficked. There was a episode of the podcast Serious Inquiries Only relating to this topic (ep 310) with a psychology professor as a guest to go through available research.

                  People can still be pressured into sex work through desperate conditions (e.g., inability to get gainful employment), but this automatic linking of sex work to trafficking is often harmful to sex workers (the majority of whom are free agents selling their services without a pimp).

              4. Ash*

                I wrote in more depth below, but absolutely, sex workers should be able to support themselves, including by doing other kinds of work that pay a living wage that covers their basic needs. Many sex workers have talked about how the sex worker who “likes” sex work is the tiny exception to the norm; rather, most sex workers, if they have a choice in the matter, have decided this is the best among a bunch of crappy job options. Also, studies have shown that buyers of sex are a nasty bunch overall–much more violent and misogynistic than non-sex buying men.

                1. AnonForThis*

                  A lot of sex workers are disabled and *can’t* do “other kinds of work that pay a living wage that covers their basic needs”.

                  Seanan MacGuire has talked about her stint doing phone sex work (and has some hilarious stories)– but from what I’ve read from her and other sex workers, the bottom line is, if you’re disabled, sex work is one of the very few kinds of work where you don’t have to show up consistently. You can schedule your own work, at times when you have the spoons to do so.

                  Like. If you *genuinely* want people to not have to do sex work, what you want is UBI and *full* coverage of medical care for people who are disabled. Making sex workers “get a real job” just means a lot of sex workers will fall through the cracks.

                2. Wren123*

                  @JM60, the most recent UN data on human sex trafficking found that about 10% of women in LEGAL brothels were victims of trafficking. In other contexts the numbers are even higher.

                3. JM60*


                  If I downloaded the same report you’re referring to (Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2022), and if I’m looking at the tables you’re talking about (infographic 6 on page 34), I think it’s saying that 10% of trafficked victims had legal brothels as their primary intermediary, not that 10% of sex workers at legal brothels were there because they were trafficked. The wording on the infographic is a little unclear, but the percentages of all intermediaries add up to 99.5%, which make me think that’s what the numbers mean.

                  Also, the source for that infographic is “GLOTIP collection of court case summaries and Sherloc Case Law Database”. Court case summaries could help you determine where trafficked victims were seeing people paying for sex, but I don’t think it would be a good source for determining what percentage of sex workers are trafficked.

                4. JM60*


                  the percentages of all intermediaries add up to 99.5%, which make me think that’s what the numbers mean.

                  In case it’s not clear, if the numbers on that table meant “this is the % of sex workers in each location who are trafficked”, then it’s unlikely that it would happen to add to to 100%. The fact that it’s within a rounding error of 100% I think supports the interpretation that it means, “If a sex worker was trafficked, here are the % likelihood that they were made to (primarily) work in each location.”

                5. Ash*

                  This is for AnonForThis, since I can’t reply to them anymore. I am a socialist, so yes, I 100% want a UBI for all, free healthcare, housing, childcare, and everything else. I would never tell a sex worker they need to do something else because I trust they know their circumstances better than anyone else. In a capitalistic society, especially one with very few worker protections, sex work is artificially propped up as more appealing than it would be on its face, largely due to the the reasons you mentioned.

                  It’s also important to remember that sex work is a wide spectrum of activities, each with different challenges. A phone sex operator, although she may face harassment, is largely shielded from the safety concerns and physical impact on her body that a sex worker who has sex for money has to face. This is especially true for those who are street-based and face other oppressions. Many of the narratives we hear of sex workers who are happy doing sex work are from the more privileged in the spectrum. I’ll again put in a plug for “Revolting Prostitutes” by Molly Smith and Juno Mac, who say that if we can achieve a society that truly gives everyone opportunities, access to resources, and all basic needs met, then “sex work might indeed whither away and effectively be abolished for all but the small number who genuinely love it.”

              5. Reading Comprehension Class*

                Ash said ‘a buyer’, not ‘all buyers’.

                For example, some people with serious physical and/or mental disabilities have carers who make regular arrangements with sex workers so that they can experience intimate human contact; even though they can’t participate in a standard partnered relationship. Nobody is implying those people are gross, or that any particular sex worker shouldn’t be allowed to make a living from providing such compassionate community services.

                I’m also not implying that’s the only ‘non-gross’ case, it’s just one example.

                The dude in the story is gross.

                1. Ash*

                  The examples of disabled men hiring sex workers have really been romanticized, but the reality is that globally, the overwhelming majority of buyers are able-bodied cis men. And on average, I do actually think male buyers of female sex worker services are gross. For example, if I was on a date with a man who told me he regularly had intercourse that he paid for with a sex working woman, or even that he regularly went to strip clubs, I would see this as a MAJOR red flag.

              6. Caterina*

                It’s also valid to dislike an industry that sees women’s bodies as a commodity to be purchased and used.

          3. Ellie*

            Of course it does. Do you really think prostitution is well regulated in Mexico? I think its gross for the same reasons I look down on people who go to parts of Asia specifically for that. You know the women have very little choice there.

            1. Database Developer Dude*

              There’s another reason to be wary of those who go to parts of Asia specifically for that. Those people aren’t too concerned about the age of the worker they get with. That’s even more gross.

        2. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

          The LW doesn’t know what sort of arrangement this co-worker has with his spouse, and neither do we.

          1. DramaQ*

            Fritos and I don’t WANT to know. Walking into a hotel lobby and seeing my coworker with a couple of sex workers is gross because it’s my coworker. I don’t care if he’s cheating, has an open relationship, whatever. I don’t need to know he hires sex workers, let alone see him swiping his card. It’s total lack of discretion that is gross to me. IDK I guess I expect a certain level of decorum when on business trips and hiring sex workers when there is a chance my coworkers might see me either walking in/out with them or God forbid hearing us depending on how thin the walls are isn’t cool. Someone should be able to keep it in their pants for a few days IMO.

            1. Elizabeth West*

              This — and what happens when everyone goes to the annual holiday party and Coworker shows up with his partner? Now everyone knows something the partner may not know. #awkward

              I think a lot of people prefer think of coworkers as the reverse of that Pixar movie Onward; they only manifest from the waist up.

        3. Reality.Bites*

          We have no insight into his marriage – although he is probably cheating, we don’t know anything about his relationships.

        4. Machine*

          Personally I’d consider cheating grounds for dismissal. It is such an extreme example of untrustworthiness that I couldn’t trust a person who does it with something less consequential, like work.

          1. JM60*

            It’s hard to get accurate statistics on cheating, but many polls suggest that more than 50% of people have cheated on a partner sometime during their life. How many people do it doesn’t make it less wrong and hurtful, but it does mean that by your take, most employees should be fired.

            Your take assumes that this terrible violation of trust in their personal life means that they can’t be trusted at work. Sometimes what happens in one domain (personal life) isn’t a great predictor of their behavior in another domain (work life).

            1. DJ Abbott*

              Also, cheating can be for understandable reasons. Like, a couple has drifted so far apart, they might as well be legally separated. It’s still not the best choice, but more understandable. I think context needs to be a factor in making a judgment like this.

          2. Nebula*

            It’s completely unacceptable to use something that has happened in someone’s personal life as grounds for professional dismissal. You may not like the fact that someone has cheated, but if ‘unethical sexual behaviour’ is granted as acceptable grounds for dismissal at work, then I think it’s quite obvious how that opens the door to multiple kinds of discrimination.

            1. Elizabeth West*

              The difference would be if the sexual behavior took place AT work — that would likely be grounds for a firing. Or if they were doing was illegal, which in this situation it doesn’t appear to be.

              Technically it’s a work trip, but if the employee is officially “off the clock,” there may not be much anyone can do about it beyond a talking-to about the optics.

          3. New Jack Karyn*

            Yeah, no. What I do in my private life has no bearing on how I do my work. This take of yours is so breath-takingly bad, I’m struggling to respond to it.

      1. Butterfly Counter*

        I’m not Snarky Monkey, but I also find it gross in the knowing-too-much-about-my-coworker’s-sexual-proclivities way. And also in the coworker-has-a-family-at-home way. Granted, the second way might be something that is agreed on in the marriage, but that takes me back to the first gross way.

        Also, as someone involved in trying to combat human trafficking, I have a lot of ick around whether or not the sex workers involved are actually active participants in the sex work and are seeing the benefits of their labor. Legalized sex work makes sex trafficking so much easier to hide. I’d really wonder if coworker looked into the ethics or issues of the local sex trade before traveling to that particular city.

        1. bamcheeks*

          Legalized sex work makes sex trafficking so much easier to hide

          I’m not sure whether you’re deliberately making a distinction between legalisation and decriminalisation, but decriminalisation actually makes it easier to combat trafficking and coercion and is overwhelmingly supported by sex-worker-led organisation.

          1. bleh*

            As soon as women have the same options for economic well being and freedom, I will be ok with sex work. Not until.

            1. Ash*

              The lack of economic well-being and freedom for women is precisely WHY women become sex workers! It’s not about being “ok” with sex work, it’s about the fact that some women decide that sex work is the best way to support themselves and their kids. Low-wage work is RIFE with sexual harassment and assault. The best way to reduce the number of sex workers, including those who are coerced or trafficked, is to improve everyone’s standard of living and ensure their basic needs are met.

            2. JM60*

              I’m all for fixing problems with gender inequality and also creating strong safety nets so that no one will become economic desperate. However, I want to add that if someone is does sex work out of economic desperation, then that means that the sex work is probably a better alternative than not doing it. If so, that means that sex work is good for such sex workers (even though it’s awful that the economic conditions create coercion).

            3. hohumdrum*

              it’s always weird to me when people discuss sex work as if ONLY women participate in it. If your only issue with sex work is women’s inequality, does that mean you are pro male prostitution?

          2. Butterfly Counter*

            I was referring to legalization. I’m wholly behind decriminalization of sex workers.

          3. Caterina*

            Studies show that legalizing prostitution actually increased trafficking, because there is much higher demand for paid sex than women willing to offer it. Traffickers profit immensely by filling this gap with exploited women and girls.

      2. Anon2*

        According to the Lw the employee has a family so I assume they are married. There is an entire risk to their partner including STIs, HPV that can cause cancer etc. so honestly it doesn’t matter if they were sex workers or a random hookup, imo you should not do this on a work trip especially when you have coworkers on the same work trip.

        This is also something you do not do on your company’s dime. Period. IMO shows really bad judgement. During a business trip I think people should be working, networking, resting, and if they want sight seeing but the point of the business trip is to be there for your company and how you exhibit yourself whether you like it or not reflects the company.

        If the person is going to sneak around on their spouse and potentially give them STIs what is their judgement like at work? If they have this type of behavior at work (that is what a business trip is) I would not be able to trust their judgement in their actual work product. Would they lie to me about what they were doing? Would they fudge numbers?

        We are all human and make mistakes and all do who knows what but if I saw this of a coworker I would triple check their work and if I was their manager I would have talked to them then and there and then after as well!

        1. Evil Queen of Dysfunction*

          “If the person is going to sneak around on their spouse and potentially give them STIs what is their judgement like at work? If they have this type of behavior at work (that is what a business trip is) I would not be able to trust their judgement in their actual work product. Would they lie to me about what they were doing? Would they fudge numbers?”

          I certainly do not condone cheating, but I think to say their carelessness would show up in their work is extreme. There are countless famous people, who would be considered successful, and who cheated on their wives. JFK, MLK, FDR, just off the top of my head. Spencer Tracey was a brilliant actor, and carried on a blatant affair with Katherine Hepburn for decades. I don’t know if the current King of England would support or disprove my theory. But I would still probably leave him alone with my purse.

          Its almost like the brain that makes the cheating decision and the brain that makes other decisions are completely independent of each other.

          1. Irish Teacher.*

            I was going to add Parnell, but…not actually sure if that supports or disproves your theory again. One of the greatest political minds Ireland has ever had and yet torpedoed his own career by his reaction to his affair becoming public. But since I guess the LW’s coworker is unlikely to be a politician dependent for the success of their cause on remaining in coalition with a party whose supporters would strongly disapprove of his cheating, so…yeah, the latter is unlikely to be relevant.

          2. Whomever*

            My (now deceased) Mother in Law and her sister in Law (my wife’s Aunt) had a very long running argument about FDR. Aunt disapproved of the affairs, MIL pointed out they got social security from him. Funny story, the FDR White House famously had the worst cook in Washington, to the point that people would make sure to eat before going there, and speculation at the time was it was Eleanor’s way of getting revenge on him. Also Roald Dahl, yes, the Children’s author was a British Agent trying to seduce anyone vaguely close to the FDR White House (he was a genuine war hero and quite handsome at the time, this was pre 1941 when the US entered the war).

          3. Ellie*

            Well for starters many of those people you mentioned turned out to be a security risk. If you live a double-life, someone can find out about it and lean on you for favours. So it absolutely does matter in some cases, yes.

            But I agree with Anon2, they’ve shown that they’re a liar, and have poor judgement. That’s not something I could forget. And he made it work business by doing it on a work trip.

        2. Sir Nose d'Voidoffunk*

          The married thing is an assumption – likely the correct one, but not stated in the letter. A divorcee with kids still has “family at home” but is not necessarily cheating.

          1. Kel*

            We also don’t know what arrangement this person has with their partner. Maybe this is something that’s fine in their marriage.

        3. Anon for this one*

          Oh, FFS.

          My spouse and I have an open relationship, and she’s spent the night with her long-distance girlfriend when they’re in the same city for business. This is absolutely nobody else’s business and it CERTAINLY doesn’t reflect on her judgment, professionally or otherwise. I get that you don’t like sex work, and we have no way of knowing whether the co-worker in this story is being ethically non-monogamous or cheating, but “he had sex outside marriage therefore he can’t be trusted in the office” is a MASSIVE leap.

          1. Tinkerbell*

            Yep, exactly. This is problematic the same way “my coworker wants us to call her boyfriend her Master” is problematic – not the sex or the sex work itself, but more because this guy is forcing his coworkers to learn more about his sex life than they should (which, ideally, would be zero).

            1. I AM a Lawyer*

              This is exactly right. It’s not the possible cheating or the sex work, it’s the blatant parading of sexual proclivities to his coworkers.

              1. Elitist Semicolon*

                How is this “blatant parading” or “forcing his coworkers to learn more about his sex life?” Just because they saw him bring people to his room? It doesn’t seem like he walked up to the colleagues and said, “behold, my sex workers! we’re off to have sex” or invited them to join him.

                1. JM60*

                  This is not being careful enough about one’s sex life around coworkers (assuming these aren’t friends coming to his room for non-sexual reasons), and I think it’s right to say that this is unprofessional for not being discrete enough. But I think some here are overestimating how much this is throwing his sex life if other people’s faces.

                  If it was possible, it would’ve been a lot better (from a professionalism standpoint) if he visited the sex workers, rather than had them come to the hotel.

          2. Amanda*

            Despite your personal experience, given that poly/open relationships are far from the norm, and given the inebriation and the fact that it was a working night out, it’s more of a massive leap to assume that this is on the up-and-up.

            I personally have no qualms with sex work or sex workers. I do have qualms with people who act like giddy fools when they are ostensibly at work, and I do think that most people who have sex outside marriage do not do so in the ethical way that practised poly folks do.

        4. Magpie*

          Plus, there’s a risk to just bringing someone you don’t know into your hotel room, whether it’s a sex worker or a person you meet on Tinder or at the hotel bar. Presumably if you’re on a work trip you have work materials with you, including a laptop, phone, or other company issued electronics. You’re taking the risk those might get stolen or compromised in some other way. There was even an AAM letter about exactly that happening a while ago.

          1. Tinkerbell*

            There are industries where this would be a BIG issue, and industries where it really wouldn’t apply at all. I presume, since the OP didn’t say, that there wasn’t a classified laptop or secret documents involved in this guy’s job.

            1. Magpie*

              It doesn’t even need to be anything classified. My company would be pretty upset with me if my company issued laptop were stolen by someone I brought back to my room on a business trip. I don’t work on anything classified but there’s still access to internal company information on my laptop, not to mention the expense of replacing it.

              1. Bear Expert*

                If your company can’t handle someone losing a laptop, they need new IT people. Staff lose laptops. Laptops get stolen. Sure people should take reasonable precautions about it, but it is a fact of life and existence.

                Of all of the risks I see about hiring sex workers on a work trip, “they might steal the laptop” barely increases from the normal risk of all the other ways a laptop can go missing on a work trip. And if the company accepts that laptops go missing on work trips sometimes, and is prepared for that, this isn’t all that different.

                Dude is still gross. Just not a major information security problem.

                1. President Porpoise*

                  Well, it’s not so much the laptop as the stuff on the laptop – proprietary info, export controlled data, classified info, etc. Yes, if that’s a concern there should be increased security or clean loaners, etc… but my sister once worked with a guy who got his classified data laptop stolen from his hotel room overseas in about 2007. He didn’t report it for days because he was so worried he’d be fired, which is obviously the worst possible route for data security.

                  Generally, to the points made by others above, the people who do dumb things like bring random strangers to their hotel room while on business trips are the same people who bypass digital security features and procedures because they’re inconvenient. I’d say that they risk is somewhat higher than just the average guy leaving his laptop on a plane or whatever.

                2. JM60*

                  @President Porpoise*

                  Any company with a decent IT department would ensure that all company devices would have encrypted hard drives, which would make it nearly impossible for a thief to access the data on the device unless they were able to have access to it beyond the login screen.

              2. Ellie*

                Yes we’ve got a policy that specifically prohibits having guests in a hotel. OP should check to see if they have anything similar, to cover themselves.

                1. allathian*

                  So does my employer. Exeptions can be made for spouses who live at the same address, but generally spouses don’t go along on work trips and they pay their share if they do. In theory, we aren’t supposed to work where anyone who doesn’t work for the same employer can see our screens (laptop screen protectors are mandatory if we work while traveling or in a location that’s neither our home nor our office), but given the fact that most employees WFH at least occasionally and many of us share their living space with other people, it’s unrealistic to expect that nobody ever catches a glimpse of an employee’s screen.

        5. Friendo*

          Eh. Putting aside what this guy is doing specifically, I find it really overbearing to say that because you’re on a business trip your employer has a moral right to regulate your sex life.

      3. Juicebox Hero*

        For me, at least, the grossness comes from the fact that so many sex workers are trafficked or otherwise coerced into it.

        1. Anon21*

          I don’t want to derail this thread too far, but this is often used as a talking point in favor of criminalizing sex work, which does not help any sex workers. Obviously there is abuse and exploitation that goes on in the sex industry, like in many other service industries, but that’s usually not seen as a reason why it’s gross to stay at a motel that might employ housekeepers whose wages and working conditions are shaped by legal or illegal exploitation.

          1. Lilo*

            As someone who worked in the criminal law field, it’s really more about proper regulation. Most prosecutors I worked with were far more concerned with dismantling particular rings of activity (usually involving trafficking) and you go with that you can prove.

          2. Random Dice*

            Thanks for saying this. So many people who clean hotel rooms are slaves. But somehow that’s just not a big focus, is it?

            People suddenly seem to care when it’s 1) women, and 2) sex.

            And their “caring” overlaps heavily with “controlling” women. Hm.

            1. GythaOgden*

              It’s a focus in other contexts. We go through a lot of training on how to spot victims of trafficking in maintenance labour, because we’re a healthcare property management organisation and contract out a lot of work to a lot of different firms, big, small and in between. A question revolving around ‘I think my company is using a gangmaster as a subcontractor’ would be discussing this issue in more detail.

              But this is specifically a question about sex workers, so people are concerned about the women involved in the work.

            2. Nebula*

              Totally. There are some trafficking cases I can think of off the top of my head that have happened near me involving teenage boys being forced to work on cannabis farms, or men being trafficked to work in car washes, and they didn’t get nearly as much attention because of the gender of the victims and the type of labour they were doing.

              1. GythaOgden*

                I took the Polaris course this morning. It was an incredibly well-reasoned and progressive approach to the problem which countered/expanded upon some a lot of the issues involved and how a lot of victims are lured into trafficking and then find it hard to get out again. It’s a really good introduction to it for those who might find the media coverage of the topic highly sensationalised and want an actual social justice perspective on it.

                My work does have a lot of interaction with potentially exploitative situations. As a government property management organisation, we actively try to contract out jobs to small local suppliers as well as national corporations, but a lot of what we are procuring falls into the industries earmarked by Polaris and another org who would take my small UK donation to their cause. (Polaris would only accept people in the US and Canada.)

                So it squares the circle that some people are concerned about here — it’s survivor-led, meaning they don’t encroach on willing participants in sex work, but it’s actively trying to help people get out from under the oppressive side that is being whitewashed in this thread. It can be beneficial to think about the logic behind this kind of attitude, but sometimes the logical conclusions do tend to obscure the need to challenge wrongdoing in our own industry — be it maintenance and facilities or sex work.

                I tried looking for sceptical perspectives on trafficking and drew a blank. Even those strongly critiquing the way government and law enforcement act towards survivors don’t deny it even happens. There is a need to widen the net to not neglect the people who aren’t involved in sexual abuse, and my training in it is different because I’m looking at industrial contractors rather than involved in sex work. I’ve actually got a call tomorrow to learn the ropes around contractor vetting and induction which is my way of saying ‘I feel like I’m playing a practical role in ethical procurement processes’.

          3. Table talker*

            Right. And the fact that it’s not unusual for the police to be ones heavily involved in shaking down and exploiting illegal sex workers rarely gets mentioned.

      4. Anon for this*

        It’s the impression of cheating, specifically (trafficking related to sex work, as well, but coworker might not be aware of that). To me, if you’re a person who agrees to become part of a committed relationship, you’re making a promise that you will not do stuff like this. Doubly so if you get married. So for someone who made said promises to then cheat on their partner… it would make me wonder what other lies they’re telling. People who lie in one aspect of their life tend to lie in other aspects.

        1. Picard*

          Not my circus or my monkeys but did want to point out, whether you believe in open relationships or not, it is not our place to judge. Who knows what agreement two “committed” folks have?

          This gives me the ick because I just think it shows lousy judgement on a work trip. shrug.

        2. Jenna*

          Hello Anon,
          Just wanted to point out that that’s your point of view on what should and should not be okay in a marriage. Different people can (and do) have different opinions there, with none being more valid than the other (assuming consent from everyone involved).
          I’d say that as long as you don’t know intimate details about their relationship with their spouse, there is no way for you to know whether anyone lied. Therefore, I think you cannot ethically assume they are telling lies more likely than other workers, just based on the fact that they had sex with someone other than their spouse.

            1. borealis*

              So what? It is none of OP’s business (as the OP stated), and even less of the AAM commentariat’s business.

          1. Anon for this*

            Except open relationships, while they exist, are not the norm, or at the least, *cheating* relationships are SIGNIFICANTLY more the norm than open relationships. And people in open relationships whose spouses let them pick up sex workers are generally aware of this fact.

              1. Nia*

                The odds that their partner is aware are about the same as the odds that Pedro Pascal will appear in my office this afternoon to whisk me away on a romantic getaway.

                That is to say not technically impossible but also so infinitesimally that it’s not worth bringing up at all let alone seriously considering.

                1. Jenna*

                  Hello Nia,
                  I’m pretty sure that the odds of the spouse being okay with it are not infinitesimally small. Smaller than for them being not okay with it, yes, but not as small as you make it seem, and certainly not so-small-it’s-basically-zero. People just usually don’t walk around telling people they’re in an open relationship, and the vast majority of people seem to assume a non-open one absent proof to the contrary.
                  I don’t think we’re talking about technicalities here, and even if it’s just a 1% chance (I’d bet it’s higher than that) of an open marriage, it’s worth considering that it might be the case.

                2. Happy meal with extra happy*

                  No, if there’s a 1% chance (or similarly small) chance of something being true, logically, rationally, reasonably, etc., it is not worth considering it. I’m betting you don’t take that position for most things in your life.

                3. Jenna*

                  Hello Happy meal with extra happy,
                  Thank you for your reply!
                  You’re right that I’m not taking it into account everywhere. I am, however, trying to take it into account when not doing so could harm others. I’m not saying I’m always successful at doing so, I most likely am not and yes, if I wanted to I could mention situations where I have not done so.
                  I guess I could’ve clarified it better that the second paragraph in my message is what I think, not an universal truth. But I stand by it, I think that even if it’s just a 1% chance, it’s worth to keep it in mind as a possibility. I also agree that whatever I think, it doesn’t mean anyone has to agree with me. Or that anyone should prioritise things the same way as I do.
                  I have the impression I’m reacting more strongly than ideal here, sorry if I’m being too harsh.

                4. Poly People*

                  Rolling Stone said a decade ago that 20% of people have tried open relationships, though only 5% of people manage it longer-term.

                  Younger generations are even less likely to be strictly monogamous.

                5. nnn*

                  I’d be more interested in the stats on open *marriage*, not open relationships. I think that’s much lower.

                6. MassMatt*

                  Well… the odds of this being any of LW’s business are even smaller. I think Alison was right to say MYOB.

                7. JM60*

                  It’s hard to get good stats on these things, but surveys suggest that around roughly 5% of marriages are open marriages. That’s much much lower than 50%, but much, much higher than “The odds that Pedro Pascal will appear in [your] office this afternoon”.

            1. Jenna*

              Hello Anon,
              Thanks for your reply! I know most relationships aren’t open. I still think it’s none of my boss’s business to assume anything about any relationships I may or may not have, and what may or may not be okay within those relationships. And I’d say it’s not right for my boss to treat me differently due to what in the end is intimate details of a relationship my boss has no business in.
              Same goes for spouse and spouse’s boss.
              I agree that openly bringing sex workers to your hotel room shows a lack of judgement, and the LW’s boss would have good reason to be careful and keep an eye open for further issues.

            2. STG*

              Maybe they are separated? Maybe it’s a marriage of convenience?

              It’s silly that the assumption is that they are cheating when literally NOBODY (including the OP) has any idea how this family is structured.

              Making moral judgements on someone based on assumptions just isn’t a good look regardless. The whole family line should have been left out.

              1. Catherine the Mediocre*

                To me that is what shows the worst ethical judgement though. He’s willing to expose his partner to health conditions that arise from this interaction, and his partner is likely unaware and unable to consent to that and protect themselves. Someone who is willing to put their spouse in that kind of danger has terrible judgement.

                1. dude, who moved my cheese?*

                  Woah, at what point did the LW observe the coworker not using protection? I missed that!

                2. JM60*

                  @dude, who moved my cheese?*

                  Protection can greatly mitigate STD risks, but those risks are still higher than if he was monogamous. If he’s supposed to be in a monogamous marriage, than that’s a risk he’s subjecting his spouse to without the spouse’s consent.

                3. DJ Abbott*

                  And that’s the biggest problem here IMO. Would you want to be his spouse, not knowing these risks he’s taking with your health?

                  If he was single it would be no big deal, except for his lack of professionalism.

                  Even if he does have an open marriage, I think there’s a big distance between that and a spouse who would be OK with him hiring sex workers, because of the risk of diseases.

              2. SimonTheGreyWarden*

                And maybe he brought them back to his room for a game of Uno because he likes playing cards with complete strangers.

                People do know it is possible to cheat within an open relationship, right? People have different metrics for what constitutes cheating, or what they might be willing to close their eyes to. I think we’re all getting caught up in the “Oh maybe it’s an open relationship” BS (don’t @ me, I’m in a negotiated relationship with 2 partners). Most people aren’t.

        3. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

          Not everyone makes that promise, and it’s really beside the point here since we can’t possibly know – other than that you shouldn’t generalize on the basis of something you don’t know is true.

      5. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Since I also used this language, I want to clarify where I’m coming from on that: I 100% support sex workers and think their work should be legal and safe. I find this man gross because of the family element, the sloppiness about exposing his coworkers to info about his sex life, his choice to do it on a company trip that coworkers are along for, and the potential for exploitation in the industry (because I’m guessing that if he picked them up on his way back after a night out of drinking as was described, these are relatively low paid sex workers without the same degree of power and choice as some sex workers in other contexts have). But in this specific context, I’d also find it gross if he did the exact same thing with random women he picked up at a bar (because all the non-sex-work factors I listed above are still there).

        1. T.N.H.*

          Thank you for clarifying. Maybe it’s not relevant, but I’m wondering if you should pin this or add this line to the post: I 100% support sex workers and think their work should be legal and safe. A quick skim of your answer might make it seem like you’re saying sex workers are gross.

            1. PinaColada*

              I personally also think it’s okay to think that something is gross (to me!) and also that I think it should be legal and safe. I do not support the binary that either we find sex work to be gross and therefore we

              1. Kel*

                Yes, but a reply like that requires nuance. You can’t just say ‘it’s gross’ and then expect me to extrapolate that you also think it’s fine and should be legalized/decriminalized. I think the assumption is going to be that you disagree with sex work.

        2. Jenna*

          Hello Alison,
          I hope you don’t mind me asking, but I’ve been surprised by you mentioning the family here. Shouldn’t the family element of this be left out of the workplace? I’d say it’s none of my boss’s business who my spouse or I have sex with, or who we’re okay with the other one having sex with. Am I missing something here?
          (I agree it’s a bad idea to risk forcing coworkers to know anything about your sex life, and that there is an exploitation risk.)

          1. Yes Anastasia*

            Imo “leaving it out of the workplace” means, as Alison suggests, not saying anything. It doesn’t mean we can’t silently judge this dude in the privacy of our own heads. (To your implicit point, is it possible that this man is in an open relationship? Technically, I guess, but “drunkenly picking up sex workers while out of the country” does not read that way.)

            1. Jenna*

              Hello Yes Anastasia,
              I agree that chances are he’s not in an open relationship. However, I’d say that even if you know 100% certain that he’s cheating, it’s none of the boss’s business.
              I think the answer to my question of what I’m missing is that Alison meant it as “as a fellow human”, while I read it as “as that person’s boss, with all that implies”.
              Thanks for your reply!

            2. JM60*

              The way I read it some coworkers were drunk, but not necessarily the coworker who checked in the two people who were assumed to be sex workers.

              Though if the coworker was drunk, then I find it funny that plenty of people are talking about the sex workers’ diminished possible capacity to consent (due to being possibly being pressured by economic conditions) but not talking about the coworker’s diminished capacity to consent (due to intoxication).

              1. MigraineMonth*

                We aren’t talking about the coworker’s diminished capacity to consent because he seems to be the one taking actions to make the sex happen: finding the sex workers, inviting them back to his hotel room, agreeing to give them money, etc. (If it seemed that the coworker was being coerced by the sex workers, that would be a very different situation!)

                1. JM60*

                  he seems to be the one taking actions to make the sex happen

                  You can be the one primarily taking the initiative to make something happen, yet still lack mental capacity to meaningfully consent to it. That’s why, “But they were hitting on me”, even if true, is not considered a valid excuse – morally or legally – for an adult to have sex with someone they know (or should’ve known) to be an underage minor. Such cases can (and have) happened where the child was the initial initiator, yet was victimized.

          2. Ask a Manager* Post author

            It shouldn’t be brought up in your performance evaluation, obviously. But it’s fair for people to have opinions of their coworkers based on their behavior on business trips (or anywhere else).

            I’m a little frustrated with the amount of “but maybe he’s in an open marriage” comments below. Maybe he is. But it’s fair to acknowledge that there’s a good chance he’s not, statistically speaking, and to be uncomfortable witnessing what the LW witnessed. I’m all for destigmatizing open marriages, polyamory, etc., but it’s unrealistic to expect people not to factor in the statistical probability of whether they were factors here. You can be aware those things are possible while also knowing the odds are still likely that his spouse hasn’t consented to the behavior. (And to me, it’s odd that the “maybe open marriage!” people aren’t acknowledging the existence of that probability at all and are instead speaking as if we should assume the opposite.)

            1. Jenna*

              Hello Alison,
              Thanks for your answer!
              Fair point, you (and everyone) gets to have their own opinions. I somehow read your post as “I in my position as a manager (not as a fellow human) would find this gross for family reasons, and this would give me a negative opinion of the employee (as an employee, not as a human)”. I agree that statistically, the assumption the spouse doesn’t know about it is likely true, and I agree there are many other problems here.
              Maybe I’m a little too hung up on details here, I guess I am. And 99% chance I do overreact a little, it’s just rare I get to point out some stuff without real life consequences. Thanks for mentioning it, going forward I’ll try to keep an eye on acknowledging it’s less likely.

            2. Observer*

              And to me, it’s odd that the “maybe open marriage!” people aren’t acknowledging the existence of that probability at all and are instead speaking as if we should assume the opposite

              Also, if this guy were ok with being open about being in an open marriage, it would probably be something that the LW might be aware of. On the other hand, “informing” everyone (if that’s what is going on) via a one night stand is a pretty weird way to do it. Something akin to greeting what looks like a random woman with a full body lingering hug and kiss rather than mentioning your GF when talking about what you did over the weekend (eg GF and I went miniature golfing.)

              1. Poly People*

                Not one of my coworkers knows about my open marriage, or about our poly partners. I wouldn’t have sex with strangers, not how I’m wired, but I could trust my partners to do so while still following our negotiated limits. Coworkers shouldn’t know any of that.

                1. SimonTheGreyWarden*

                  Key word there being negotiated limits – I think there are a lot of people in this thread who don’t understand the way you have to negotiate open or poly relationships.

              2. Alice in Spreadsheetland*

                I would really rather not be informed about my coworker’s open marriage or anything like that.
                Major life milestones like marriage, kids, we just bought a house- yeah, that’s nice to hear from coworkers. But I don’t want to know about how you conduct your romantic/sex life. I think that’s something you can talk about to your friends at work if you know they’re comfortable knowing that info about you, but not making everyone in the office aware about a part of your relationship/family that’s really not any of their concern. IMO it would be gross to let your coworkers see your hookup for the night at a work conference if you were single too.

                (To clarify- I’ve been in poly relationships myself and think it’s totally fine to have an open marriage; but much as I wouldn’t want to know that my coworker and his wife went to a new bdsm club last weekend, I don’t want to know that she’s down with him sleeping with sex workers or that they’re going on a date with a new girlfriend. Tell me that you played board games or watched a new tv show instead please. I’m also generally not interested in hearing or sharing about new girlfriends/boyfriends/dates/relationship drama at work, but that might just be me)

              3. JM60*

                I highly doubt that the coworkers would’ve known if he was in an open marriage. If your open marriage consists of merely sex with other partners (but not dating other partners), discussing the non-exclusivity of your sex life is in the “not appropriate for work” category.

              4. Anon for reasons*

                Adding in that the majority of my coworkers do not know that my marriage is polyamorous.

            3. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

              The only reason I mention it is because of the huge number of comments that essentially say “he’s cheating, therefore he has poor judgment, therefore Serious Work Consequences”. Even if the open relationship alternative is unlikely, the consequences some people are suggesting are significant enough that it should be considered, such that someone isn’t subject to awful consequence based on untrue assumptions.

              1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                Hmmm, I haven’t read every comment but I haven’t seen many people suggesting serious work consequences. I’ve mainly seen the “open marriage!” pushback in response to people thinking the guy seems gross.

                1. JM60*

                  I’ve seen several comments here suggesting that the coworker shouldn’t be trusted by the employer because (they think) he violated his spouse’s trust. As an example, someone above wrote, “Personally I’d consider cheating grounds for dismissal.” I’m not sure how many people here agree with that, but it’s at least a non-zero number.

                  As another example, someone else said, “I work for the US federal government, and it would be a big, big deal if a federal government employee hired a sex worker (or even brought a random stranger back to their hotel room) while on official travel. If that’s the case, yes, the coworkers should absolutely report it.” One of the replies to this was ‘I’d come from a similar “this is a fireable offense” perspective.’


                  Personally, the reason why I like to point out the possibility of an open relationship is that I’m personally a bit allergic to jumping to conclusions when making moralistic assumptions about others. Even if it’s statistically more likely that he’s cheating than it is that he’s in an open relationship, I don’t like calling it cheating without explicitly including some caveat about them “likely” being in some relationship that’s supposed to be monogamous.

              2. DrSalty*

                I haven’t seen anyone suggesting serious work consequences. I’ve seen a lot of people suggesting they wouldn’t trust this guy anymore, which is totally different.

            4. Michelle*

              I don’t think it’s better even if he’s in an open relationship, because honestly, I’m not his wife. If I caught a married coworker hiring two prostitutes on a business trip, getting more unwanted details about his sex life would not help. Either he’s a gross guy who cheats on his wife, or he’s a gross guy who is forcing me to think about what kind of arrangements he has with his wife when it’s none of my business.

          3. Nobby Nobbs*

            I’d argue that it’s the coworker brought the family element into the workplace. I know a lot of people here come down hard on the side of “mind your own business” when it comes to affairs, and I don’t disagree per se, but a lot of people are also going to feel icky at being made complicit in an affair, and that’s what flaunting your flings to coworkers who have no reason to believe your spouse is okay with it comes down to, in my mind.

            1. Jenna*

              Hello Nobby Nobbs,
              I agree the coworker acted inappropriately here, and I guess I am a bit overreacting to the family part of things.
              Thanks for your reply!

            2. JM60*

              People should be more discrete about their sex lives than the coworker in the letter, but I don’t think merely knowing that someone (possibly/likely) had an affair makes you complicit. Something only makes you complicit if you’re involved in such a way that you’re morally obligated to act on it, and I don’t think the letter writer is.

              1. allathian*

                I don’t think merely witnessing behavior you consider unethical makes you complicit in it, either. My limit is that I wouldn’t do anything to protect the coworker from the consequences of his actions. If the spouse suspected something and called me at the office to ask what I’d seen (unlikely but theoretically possible in companies where spouses are routinely invited to company events), I’d tell her the truth because I wouldn’t consider my professional relationship with the coworker worth protecting over the spouse’s health, even if I’d still act professionally towards the coworker at work. If the spouse was my friend, I’d tell her without being asked, even at the risk of her ending the friendship in a “shoot the messenger” way. I’m aware that this might have consequences for me at work if the coworker decided to retaliate, but that I guess is a risk I’d be willing to take and if he did retaliate, I’d probably tell all and sundry what I’d seen and how I judged him for it.

                To put it simply, I think it’s unambiguously wrong to bring guests you intend to have sex with to your hotel room when you’re on a business trip. To me it doesn’t really matter if the guests are sex workers in a location where sex work is decriminalized or random women the coworker picked up at a bar.

                I also think that relationship status is also pretty moot in the sense that from the employer’s standpoint, I think it’s equally wrong for a person who isn’t in a relationship, or who is in an open relationship, to bring guests they intend to have sex with into a hotel room that the employer pays for.

                I don’t think an employer has cause to penalize an employee for visiting a legal brothel in a location where such things exist, as long as they’re discreet about it, regardless of the employee’s relationship status. As a coworker, I’d prefer not to know.

                I think sex workers should have access to decent healthcare and I agree with decriminalization. But I still think that paying for sex is morally reprehensible and that there must be something wrong with people who engage in such activities, so I’d prefer not to know if any of my coworkers do it. The only exceptions for me are people who help physically and/or mentally disabled people experience sex, and I’d argue that those people are healthcare workers rather than sex workers.

                At best, paying for sex yet another way of objectifying (people of any gender, even if the overwhelming majority is cis) women.

                1. JM60*

                  I think it’s equally wrong for a person who isn’t in a relationship, or who is in an open relationship, to bring guests they intend to have sex with into a hotel room that the employer pays for.

                  Do you also think it’s wrong for someone to hook up in some other employer provided accommodations, or do you only it’s wrong for temporary accommodations on work trips? Plenty of people live in houses or apartments provided by employer provided to sweeten the employment deal. Do you think it’s wrong for them to have sex in those houses/apartments? (I don’t.)

                  Plenty of others live in some sort of on-location dorm because the job otherwise can’t be done.

                  But I still think that paying for sex is morally reprehensible

                  I don’t get why it would be “morally reprehensible” to purchase what is morally acceptable to receive for free. (assuming the seller in genuinely consenting)

          4. AnnaRie*

            For me it’s because we don’t exist in a bubble and all of our actions send some sort of message about who we are as people.

            Cheating on your spouse (allegedly) tells me you’re kind of a trash human in the same way that being rude to service workers or littering would. Is it my business? Not really. Does it impact your work product? Probably not. But actions have consequences and if I saw my coworker engaging in garbage actions I’d absolutely judge them and the type of person they are. That’s human nature.

            For me a person who is OK with cheating (again, allegedly but given that open marriages aren’t the norm it’s not a wild assumption that this guy is cheating) is fine with hiding things if it makes their lives easier. And that’s information that I’m going to file away and if their integrity ever comes into question in the work place it’s not a point in their favor.

            And again, some of that isn’t fair to the coworker but also it’s the reality of how humans work. At the very least the guy is an idiot for not considering optics and knowing how to act accordingly.

          5. Beth*

            Personally I see the family stuff as a “keep my nose out of where it doesn’t belong” thing. It’s not something I have grounds to take any action on, it’s not something I’d talk to the coworker about, I know I don’t necessarily have all the info, fundamentally it’s not my place to do anything with it.

            But keeping my nose out of it is a different thing than not noticing it. I can notice all I want, I can judge all I want in the privacy of my own head, and I can adjust my understanding of their character accordingly. I’m still going to act professional (friendly, civil, productive, etc) with my coworker while at work, but seeing signs that we have different values might affect whether I want to be friends outside work, you know?

            For me personally, if I was in OP’s shoes, the challenge wouldn’t be the family piece so much as the knowledge that at least some of the time, sex workers who are easily findable by a drunk guy in an unfamiliar city are being exploited. Maybe OP’s coworker did in fact take steps to make sure that he’s hiring people who are choosing to do this work, that they’re getting paid well and not exploited, that they feel safe and good about the terms they’ve negotiated, etc–who knows, I don’t have all the info. But I think it would be fair for me to have doubts about that, and to take those doubts into account in my total picture of his character. I think the same holds for someone who would feel weird about the family piece–they shouldn’t assume they definitely have all the info, there’s no action item for them, but it’s fair to have doubts.

            1. Jenna*

              Hello Beth,
              Good point, I guess we have a pretty similar point of view here actually. I guess I just didn’t expect Alison to say something not as a manager/boss, that’s my fault. I agree that privately or outside of work, you get to have any opinion you want there, but that you’d have to still be professional/polite/cooperative. I somehow understood Alison as “the manager should think he’s gross for cheating and should act accordingly”, my problem for not reading I guess.
              Thanks for your reply!

        3. samwise*

          He’s also probably exposing his spouse to STDs — secretly. That’s hiding important health information from the spouse. The spouse did not consent to having their health compromised, possibly fatally.

          That is not a slur against the sex workers; that’s just a fact that the more people you have sex with, the more chances you have of catching and passing on an STD.

          For me, this is why I think OP may have an ethical obligation to inform.

    2. anon bcz the commentariat in pack mode is ugly*

      The lack of acknowledgment about the realities of men and sex workers is pretty gross. We don’t live in an ideal world where people (esp women) can manage their bodies as we see fit. We do live in a world where people (usually men) are entitled to treat others as objects to be used.
      Knee-jerk defense of a dude using his privilege to rent humans (who may or may not be consenting parties) while on a work trip is pretty wack.

      1. Also Anon Because This Has Skidded Off The Rails*

        Thank you for this. The Whataboutism displayed here is weird and disheartening. Is it possible that this guy contracted with entirely consenting, non-coerced in any way sex workers with the enthusiastic permission of his at-home partner? Sure…but come on, this is a “think horses not zebras” situation and we all know it.

        I will also say that as someone who grew up with parents who were in an open marriage for a significant part of my childhood and adolescence, families can and are hurt by cheating, even when there’s an “understanding”. And yes, there can still be cheating!

      1. L-squared*

        I mean, there are lots of dating apps out there. Some for 3 somes. Some girls on Tinder will do it too.

        1. Leia83*

          Wouldn’t even have to be a dating app. I have plenty of friends who would leave a bar together with one guy for some group activities. It’s not uncommon and probably more likely to happen in a vacation spot like Mexico.

        2. General von Klinkerhoffen*

          Given how many people use Tinder (etc) to ask for money in exchange for dates and sexual acts, I’m not sure this point is as strong as you intended.

      2. Wendy Darling*

        I think the alternative is “coworker has really incredible game”. Which seems unlikely but is definitely possible!

      3. Arglebarglor*

        I too would like to know how the letter writer knew they were sex workers. Did LW pay them for sex? Did the coworker say “I had such a nice time with the sex workers I hired last night?” Did he announce in the lobby, “I”m taking these sex workers up to my room now to pay them for sex?” Unless the answer to these questions is “yes,” then you’re making a BIG assumption based on people’s looks/gender/etc.

      4. There, Their, They're*

        I figured it’s just as plausible that they’re not sex workers as it is that he isn’t cheating. Sure, it’s technically possible, but not probable.

        Maybe after all the coworkers got drunk, he stumbled into the club next door and charmed two similarly drunk friends out on the town with the quality of his dance moves. And they decided a “what happens in México, stays in Mexico” night was just the sort of wild fun they’d been hoping for in Cancun. With enough tequila, anything is possible ….

        1. Bast*

          I think this happens more often than you think. I can think of quite a few friends I know personally who have no qualms using an app like Tinder while on vacation to find a quick fling. Judging by their success rate and that there seem to be plenty of people creating profiles for this type of thing that they manage to find (ie: in ABC town from the 1st to the 4th — hit me up if you’re looking for XYZ) it seems to be rising in popularity, and, I can kind of get it. I mean, if you’re on vacation in Random City, far away from where you live, the chances that your hook up is going to turn up somehow in your life again is relatively small vs. finding a hook up nearby and discovering they are actually your coworker’s second cousin, or your child’s new baseball coach or something.

          I realize it’s splitting hairs about whether or not they were sex workers, and in my eyes, it really doesn’t matter if they were sex workers, from an app, random people from a bar, etc., still think it’s a terrible idea at anything work related… But just wanted to point out I definitely do not think it’s a forgone conclusion, or even close to one, that they were sex workers.

          1. The Original K.*

            I’m on dating apps and come across profiles every day that say “In town from date – date, wanna hang out?” It’s very common. My first thought when I read the letter was “how does OP know they were sex workers?” I’ve also been to work conferences where half the attendees were sleeping together. I’ve seen conference attendees making out at after-work events before.

          2. JM60*

            Some apps have a way of pointing to a place on the globe you’ll be on a certain date in order to show up in the feed for people in that location ahead of time. That way, you can arrange for hookups ahead of time. It’s a very common use case.

        2. Poly People*

          Your scenario sounds incredibly plausible to me. I don’t even do casual sex, but if I did, it would be super easy to find.

    1. Juicebox Hero*

      Does it matter? It wouldn’t change the advice to the LW, and there’s nothing inherently immoral about either sex work or casual sex as long as all parties are 18+ and consensual. It is pretty skeezy to hook up on a work trip where a modicum of professional behavior is expected, and immoral to have a fling when your presumably* monogamous spouse is far away in another country.

      *Most marriages aren’t open. I’m genuinely happy for you if your own open marriage works well for you, but that doesn’t change the fact that most aren’t.

      1. Juicebox Hero*

        Oh, and I also think that getting so drunk that you have to be hauled up to your room is a dang stupid thing to do on a business trip. Again, it’s unprofessional and work meetings and international flights suck badly enough without adding a wrath-of-god hangover to them.

      1. Hannah Lee*

        Some hotels require you to register guests who will be staying in your room

        This makes me wonder if the hotel will add an “additional guest” charge to the room bill

        I once bounced a co-worker’s expense report for that at an old job. “Hey Bob, I couldn’t approve this. Please update it to take off the “roommate” charges, and also the dinner for 4 from the restaurant that is around the corner from your house.” I think he never thought figure out the hotel bill since it wasn’t in our native language, and didn’t realize that the restaurant was in the same area I went to college and I’d recognize the logo ( he must have thought he was clever submitting a copy that had the restaurant address obscured)

        His jumping to “I just wanted to treat my wife and kids to a nice meal after being away” as a “reason” for the latter was quite the stance given the roommate (not his wife) on a work trip

        1. UKDancer*

          Yes, in many EU countries you need to register everyone staying in the hotel and you are charged per person rather than per room so if you book a room for 1 person and want to add a second person you need to register them at reception. I think it’s so if there’s a fire they know how many people and who should be evacuated.

          I’ve not been to Mexico so I don’t know the rule there but it’s not uncommon in places I have been.

        2. Observer*

          This makes me wonder if the hotel will add an “additional guest” charge to the room bill

          If the CW is stupid enough to not pay for that himself, then there won’t be anything for LW report, because that’s going to show up on the expense report.

          And then the feces WILL hit the fan. I simply cannot imagine any employer that is going to be willing to pay for this (or the guys who got falling down drunk. Or even most G rated extra-curricular activities, to be honest.)

      2. Voldemort's cousin*

        I had the same question. Was he checking them in at the desk or something? How does that work?

        1. Pikachu*

          The last time I stayed at an all-inclusive in Mexico, we had to wear wristbands all week. Whether you walked in from the street or the beach, security approached anybody without one and escorted them to the front desk. I didn’t realize how strict they were until I took mine off the morning of the last day, walked down the street to the shop, and when I returned they wouldn’t let me back on the property without escorting me in and verifying that I was still a guest. They gave me a new wristband… for my remaining 1.5 hours on the property.

          I thought it was mostly for easy access to food and drinks, but I guess situations like the one in this letter probably also call for some kind of “hey who are these people?” system at international resorts.

    2. Ellis Bell*

      I really wish that we could take the OPs word for things on here. I’m not saying there’s not a possibility of a mistake, but we’re not giving the warning of a possibility here are we? We’re just flat out disbelieving them. Like there’s no way AT ALL that OP could know this?

    3. Roland*

      I live somewhere where it’s illegal but I know where you’d need to go to find some because I’ve had to drive in that area at night for other reasons and it’s… pretty obvious when you see them.

      1. Tinkerbell*

        Yeah, there are lots of different kinds of sex work. The kind that involves being picked up by foreign tourists on the spot and going back to their hotel room with them late at night tends to have, shall we say, a unique uniform.

        1. Sandi*

          Although it doesn’t stop men from asking random women (even those of us clearly passing through, dressed in parkas, and carrying our groceries) if we will have sex with them.

          Things really need to change to empower women.

      2. UKDancer*

        Yeah I used to live in a part of London and had to go through a pinkish light district on the way to get the bus. If I was coming back at night it was pretty obvious from the clothing and behaviours who was working and who was going to a party.

    4. thathappeneddotcom*

      I’m also curious about why in the world he was checking them into his room in the lobby/front desk. I worked at a hotel for many years while in school, there were many, many sex workers the came to the hotel and not once did the person purchasing their services check them in at the front desk, there would be absolutely no reason to. At most, he could meet them outside the elevators if the elevators require key card access after hours.

      1. allathian*

        Every hotel I’ve ever stayed in (in the EU) requires you to register each guest at the reception desk and to give them your name, home address, birthday or personal identity code/social security number, cellphone number/email address, and for non-EU citizens, passport number to ensure that the hotel knows how many people are staying there if the hotel has to be evacuated for any reason (the most common reason to evacuate is a fire, but it could also be a gas leak, a bomb threat, and in some areas, an earthquake). All of them also require a key card to ride the elevator at all hours, and that only gives you access to your own floor and common areas like the reception, restaurant, gym, etc.

        1. Timothy (TRiG)*

          However, the extent to which they enforce that does vary. Six people in a two-person room (I’m thinking fantasy fandom convention, not orgy, though I suppose that orgies at conventions happen too) is not uncommon.

  2. vegan velociraptor*

    I’m interested in why hiring sex workers in this context is more gross than if the LW had discovered the co-worker just bringing a hook-up/casual partner/whoever back to his room. That really isn’t clear to me. (And in the latter case, would that also be seen as forcing unwanted information about his sex life on LW?) I can see a case for general discretion around sex, or even a case for it not being okay to bring someone back to a hotel room for sex on a work trip, but I’m not sure why the introduction of money here would make it more gross or wrong.

    1. Pastor Petty Labelle*

      Here’s why its ickier. Although it might be legal, there is no guarantee these sex workers are volunteering engaged in this business, i.e. sex trafficking. Even in places where it is legal, there’s not enough willing participants to keep up with demand. Which means unwilling participants. I would not want to be anywhere near that. Since you can’t know for sure, the safest bet is to just not.

      Also wow extremely bad judgment. You can let it lie OP. But you can also feel free to dump it on the ethics line and let them decide how to handle it.

      1. vegan velociraptor*

        There’s no guarantee in any sexual scenario witnessed from the outside that the sex is consensual, though – a random hook-up that this person brought back could have felt pressured into it, or not be fully sober. There’s also no guarantee that your clothes were made by people who were willingly participating in the garment industry, or that your fruit was picked by people who aren’t exploited. I guess I want to push back a bit against the idea that sex work is uniquely or particularly likely to be non-consensual, as opposed to other forms of labour.

        1. Observer*

          There’s no guarantee in any sexual scenario witnessed from the outside that the sex is consensual, though

          That’s true. But the numbers are concerning. The vast majority of sex work (even the consensual stuff) is exploitative, and a really, really significant proportion is not consensual.

          1. Lydia*

            The point vegan velociraptor is making is that pretty much all forms of labor are a form of exploitation, so singling out sex work as being somehow MORE exploitive than other jobs is a smoke screen used to vilify sex work and sex workers.

            1. Observer*

              Except that this is factually inaccurate.

              The documentation is there. Refusing to recognize that is a problem.

        2. Jezebella*

          And yet it is unique because exploiting labor is bad enough, but exploiting a sex worker means they are having “non-consensual sex”, which, let us be clear, is rape.

          1. hereforthecomments*

            A quote I love and always remember when someone starts in on the argument that sex work is a choice and empowers women: If you have to pay someone to have sex with you, it’s not consensual.

            1. Silver Robin*

              Hold up, I am paid to do my job, does that make my job non-consensual? Is any contractual labor consensual?

              The situation here is not a guy asking for sex and then the woman (I am making assumptions but the stats lean this way) only agreeing when sufficiently bribed. (Even there, I might argue it is consent; my sufficient bribe price may be trillions of dollars, but if I agree to it, there is the consent.) The situation is that this is her job, she has rates, and you pick from the options. It is not a well regulated industry, it has a lot of issues that other commenters have mentioned, but the simple fact that somebody is paying for it, does not make it non-consensual.

              The actual difference is that the emotional relationship is not there. Just like I am not friends with my coworkers simply by dint of being professionally friendly, a sex worker is not in love with, or emotionally attached to, their clients by dint of having sex with them.

                1. Observer*

                  Yeah, that quote isn’t the slam dunk they think it is.

                  Not only that, for women who actually *do* do this by choice, it’s offensive.

                  You can recognize the exploitative nature of a lot of this kind of work, and the fact that a significant proportion is either not truly consensual or fully coerced while recognizing that the mere exchange of money does not remove choice.

                2. Poly People*

                  It’s outright offensive.

                  I’ve noted that sex trafficking is a thing for most evangelical Christians… who strangely buy cheap clothes and cheap chocolate, but somehow when there aren’t women having sex, they magically don’t care about slavery.

                3. GythaOgden*

                  @Poly People

                  Were this discussion titled ‘I think my colleague subcontracted a job to someone using trafficked labour’, you’d hear different responses from people concerned about the other part of human trafficking. Organisations like Polaris, which Alison name checked elsewhere, focus on both at the same time.

                  The thing is, this is a question about someone apparently engaging in casual sex on a work trip, so of course the discussion revolves around human trafficking for sex workers. I’m not sure why you’re so adamant we wouldn’t be concerned if the question was different. (And I’d really hope you’d agree with us on that score.)

                4. Jennifer Strange*

                  @Gytha, I believe Poly’s point is that the people who like to decry all sex work under the pretense of stopping human trafficking have no qualms about purchasing items from companies that use slave labor. It’s statement about hypocrisy, not a matter of what the question in this instance is.

            2. 1-800-BrownCow*

              That…makes no sense. I don’t work for free, I get paid. And it’s my choice to work for money, which I 100% consent to. So, how is someone being paid for sex work not consensual again? How is paid for sex work non-consensual while my being paid to do my non-sex work job is consensual? Or am I doing non-consensual work as well?

              1. Lydia*

                It harkens back to 1970s and 80s feminism that saw all forms of sex work as exploitation because surely these poor women couldn’t have agency. It’s gross.

              2. Anax*

                I mean, heck, I work because it’s the only way I can get health insurance, even though my current work conditions are making me sick.

                I would not be working here if I had another option that wouldn’t jeopardize my physical safety, whether safely leaving the workforce or another job offer on hand. That certainly feels coercive.

                I’m not a sex worker, but from what I’ve heard from them, the level of consent is often greater than what I’m currently working with.

                (Yes, I’m applying for other jobs.)

            3. fricketyfrack*

              Uh no. There are plenty of people engaging in sex work by choice. I know because I to be one. If there was someone I didn’t want to sleep with, I didn’t do it. I consented to every encounter I had with clients and you don’t get to decide that money being part of the equation means I didn’t. Also, the irony of that quote deciding on behalf on women what’s empowering is kind of hilarious. I’ve never felt particularly empowered or vice versa, but it’s up to me how I feel about it, not anyone else.

            4. BlondSpiders*

              This is pretty gross and is nowhere near the flex you think it is.

              All work around the world is labor for money. People in physically demanding jobs trade their labor that uses their body for pay. Models, actors, construction workers, bricklayers, plumbers, sex workers all trade their body labor for pay.

              It’s called the world’s oldest profession for a reason. It will always be here, even when we reach the Singularity. It’ll just look a little different.

              1. anywhere but here*

                It’s called the “oldest profession” because of a quote from Rudyard Kipling that is less than 200 years old, not because it’s historically accurate.

          2. Jellyfsh Catcher*

            No matter how we view sex work, it’s dangerous and I feel should be legal.
            The guy was:
            1. On a work trip;
            2. Married – maaaybe open, but very likely not;
            3. In a country with a lot of poverty;
            4. In a country where women do not have the same rights as the US ( part of the US now);
            5. Checking 2 women in, drunk, 4 am. That part is purely emotional.
            I just don’t want that image of my coworker or friend burned onto my retinas.

            Bottom line – my private opinion and trust, not discussed at work, would drop way down.

        3. Butterfly Counter*

          I commented above about sex trafficking as well.

          There does seem to be something inherently different in personally engaging a sex worker who might not be totally consenting to the sex work rather than purchasing goods made by people being labor trafficked. In the first, as the direct consumer, it feels like the onus should be on the sex work purchaser. In the second, the responsibility seems more to lie with the company contracting the forced/coerced labor who monetarily benefits off of that labor by selling cheaper clothes to people who do maintain reasonable ignorance of how their clothes were made. There’s another level of responsibility for a lot of labor trafficking that is not there in sex trafficking.

          1. JM60*

            If it’s a case of trafficking (which is usually not the case), the onus should primarily be on the trafficker (much like the onus should be on the clothes manufacturer). Then the onus should secondarily be on the purchaser of the service (much like the onus is secondarily on the consumers of clothes).

            If it’s a case of economic desperation (which is much more common than trafficking), then the onus should be on society more broadly to prevent individuals from becoming economically desperate. That onus not only is not (individually) on the purchaser. Moreover, if the sex worker is economically desperate, then the sex worker is probably better off due to the purchaser buying their service. As disgusting as this might seem, I’d argue that if you suspect that they’re doing sex work out of desperation, then it’s morally better to pay them well rather than not hire them at all.

          2. GythaOgden*

            Yeah. I found Polaris’ course to be an awesome resource on probing even legitimate suspicions even further. In terms of labour or labour procurement, they talk about proximity and context — the staff of a business probably have more ability to determine whether someone is held in situations against their will (and crucially, cannot just leave to find another job because of debt bondage, fear of deportation or whatever, not just concerns over being unemployed; there’s a vast, vast gulf between feeling like you can’t leave your job due to golden handcuffs and not being able to leave your job because The Boss’s friends in your home country might hurt your family back there if you don’t show up tomorrow; to claim otherwise is pretty disingenuous and forgets the privilege most if not all of us here actually have) than a patron.

            But ethically engaging a sex worker as a customer puts the responsibility on yourself not to deal with shady people and to be frank, it’s really disheartening to see so many people here who do try to live ethical lives not looking more closely about what’s going on underneath the legal facade. It’s helping precisely no-one.

        4. Lady Lia*

          I agree completely. As a former prostitute, I bristle at the narrative that OF COURSE sex workers are exploited. No way could a woman rationally choose this career unless she was desperate or being trafficked. Guess what? Millions of women freely CHOOSE sex work. None of the women I worked with over the years were trafficked or exploited by pimps or any of the other popular false narratives. What IS exploitive is working a minimum wage job without healthcare and still not being able to support your family. Enough with the sexism/paternalism.

          1. Sir Nose d'Voidoffunk*

            This comment is why this place is so great. We really do have perspectives from a ton of industries!

        5. KHB*

          If I saw a coworker about to engage in a casual hook-up with a partner who didn’t appear to be sober, I’d think that was pretty gross too.

          The difference between sexual encounters and the other examples you mention is that the potentially unwilling person is right in front of you. I know that utilitarian philosophers try to argue that it should make no difference, but on a personal level it absolutely does.

          Also, wearing clothes and eating food are necessary for survival. Engaging in random sexual encounters is not.

          1. Ellis Bell*

            Yeah I think casual hookups in the wee hours, after a drunken work thing, are also “Please observe how I’m using this work trip to get sex” levels of gross in a way that “I’m heading to my room early, my partner decided to fly in and surprise me!” wouldn’t be.

          2. Observer*

            If I saw a coworker about to engage in a casual hook-up with a partner who didn’t appear to be sober, I’d think that was pretty gross too.

            That, too. I don’t think that there is any way to spin this encounter as not being icky. Even if it were the Mayflower Madam or a hookup with some random woman he picked up in a bar, I would still consider him pretty gross and showing poor judgement.

          3. JM60*

            It’s not clear to me if the partners the coworker brought to the hotel were intoxicated. It’s possible that the coworker was intoxicated, but it’s not clear if the sex workers came from the bar after drinking, came from the bar (without themselves drinking), or came from elsewhere (perhaps they were contacted online).

            1. KHB*

              Right – I was replying to vegan velociraptor’s comment above, asking what about a random hook-up with someone who isn’t fully sober? I’m saying that that, in my opinion, would also be gross (especially on a work trip, but even in general) – and it doesn’t make OP’s coworker’s encounter with the sex workers any less gross.

        6. Ann O'Nemity*

          Sex work is uniquely or particularly likely to be non-consensual, as opposed to other forms of labour.

          Some sex work is consensual, absolutely! And sex work does not automatically equal trafficking.

          But statistically, there is a higher likelihood of exploitation. And Mexico is a global center for human trafficking and child prostitution.

          1. Poly People*

            So is picking chocolate and coffee and vegetables.

            Either we care about all the slaves, or we admit that a giant part of this narrative is theological control of women.

            1. Ann O'Nemity*

              Sure, and we can advocate for smart shopping, researching brands and labels, fair trade certification, etc… but that doesn’t change anything I said.

              I’m talking about why seeing your coworker bringing sex workers back to the hotel on a work trip in *Mexico* triggers concerns about exploitation and trafficking. And why many people, myself included, are going to view the coworker more distastefully.

              (I asterisked Mexico here because it’s one of the worst countries in the world for human trafficking and child prostitution. Like, bottom three. The coworker is also a tourist, and therefore less likely to know where and how to find truly consensual sex workers.)

      2. President Porpoise*

        This. Ethical sex work, I have no problems with. But the potential for forced labor in this space is really not great.

        I’m also not a fan of (probably) cheating on a spouse, regardless of whether or not the other party is paid. But that’s really between him and his partner, and OP shouldn’t get involved there.

      3. Keeley Jones, The Independent Wonan*

        Exactly this. Let’s not kid ourselves into thinking in places where sex work is legal, that all workers are there on their own accord.

        In the highly unlikely scenario that these were consenting sex workers and the dude has an open marriage where hooking up with sex workers in a foreign country is ok with his partner, ok you do you guy. But something tells me this isn’t that.

        1. Lady Lia*

          Why is it a “highly unlikely scenario that these were consenting sex workers?” I was a fully consenting sex worker for years. Sex work DOES NOT equal trafficking/exploitation.

          1. Juicebox Hero*

            Except that in a lot of cases it does, and your lived experience doesn’t cancel out the lived experiences of those who are.

            1. Admin Lackey*

              Based on what? Media talking points about crime are notoriously unreliable and if that’s what your take is based on, well,

              1. Juicebox Hero*

                Based on conversations with people currently in law enforcement, including one whose specialty is investigating sex crimes, and a retired state police major, who was part of busting a human trafficking ring here in northeast PA.

                1. hohumdrum*

                  And as we all know cops are very unbiased, represent a diversity of knowledge and experience, and are always honest about crimes stats and narratives they share with others… /s

                2. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  Leave this here, please. There is plenty of documentation that sex trafficking exists in the sex industry. That doesn’t mean that all sex workers are trafficked or exploited. It means that there’s a lot of it — consult sources like Polaris, for example. That’s it.

            1. Ferret*

              Are we? I don’t see anything like that kind of detail in the letter. Sex workers can use the internet too and it’s not even 100% certain these are sex workers. More likely than not, but still no need for LW to go digging.

            2. Lady Lia*

              I worked as an independent prostitute in the Midwest. Like any other industry, prostitution exists in a wide spectrum from streetwalkers to highly paid women entertaining sheiks and sultans. The particular market niche does not equal exploitation.

              1. bamcheeks*

                (just want to say I am really sorry you got the cliched “you’re too privileged to have a voice on the sex work discussion” comment. This discussion is a car crash.)

            3. Friendo*

              Do you actually have information on regulated sex work in Mexico specifically? Or are you just have a vague opinion on developing countries?

              1. GythaOgden*

                There’s lots of sources online — just do a quick google and you’ll find it. There are lots of people sceptical of the way law enforcement handle this sort of thing, but very few serious articles denying it exists at all.

                You can be pro legitimate sex work and also anti-trafficking, just as you can be pro regulated other labour but still against coerced labour.

          2. Keeley Jones, The Independent Wonan*

            It’s the AND in that sentence that makes it highly unlikely. I never said consenting workers don’t exist. Just I find it really hard to believe he found some non exploited workers AND his wife is totally cool with it. I’m sure it happens, but I have to image that is a pretty rare scenario.

          3. Yorick*

            There were 2 clauses that make it highly unlikely: the consenting part AND the open relationship part

    2. vegan velociraptor*

      Part of my concern here, I guess, is the use of the word “gross” in this context because of how often sex workers themselves are stigmatised as gross and disgusting. I know that isn’t what Allison was saying, but I am wary of describing sex work as particularly gross in a way that other sex isn’t.

      1. Pastor Petty Labelle*

        Let me be clear, I do not find the sex workers gross. Whether trafficking or consensual, its a job. You perform a service for money. So its not them. Its the person involving the coworkers in his sex life.

        1. Lilo*

          Yes, I have family who live in a country where prostitution is legal and there’s a clearly labeled brothel like 2 streets over from where they live. Had this coworker discreetly gone to that kind of establishment, whatever. Bringing unvetted sex workers back to a hotel on a work trip to the point coworkers knew about it? Not okay.

      2. Anon2*

        It is gross because LW says this person has a family. So I’m assuming (maybe they have an open relationship but doing it) LW is putting their spouse at risk for all sorts of diseases. If they are this risky on a business trip will they even wear a condom? That is why it’s gross. This person clearly has bad judgement and that may or may not push over into their judgement at work.

        My team travels a lot for work. Certain travels I don’t mind if a spouse or family go but you need to pay for flights and if you need a bigger room you pay for it. But you always ask first. Someone on my team didn’t ask just brought their entire family and then complained to an assistant about their room size. It got back to me. When they returned I basically said this particular trip was not a family trip it was a three day conference with networking events at night and this person clearly knew this but didn’t care. I told them if it happened again then they would not be able to bring family on any work trips, period. And yes this person had questionable judgment about other work they did and as I was going to put them in a PIP they changed departments.

        Usually if you have bad judgement like this you made bad calls in other areas too. We all make mistakes and screw up, but this to me was bad judgment category especially if they made bad calls in other areas of work.

        Everyone go get yourself tested for STDs because you never know! I asked my gyno and her response was, “you’re married.” And I said yeah and I trust my spouse but he travels a lot for work so you never know!

        1. WilliamChortle*

          But you don’t know what the ground rules are for their relationship. It could be an open relationship? Maybe the wife encourages him to seek out sexual gratification outside the marriage because she won’t do something he likes… and she’s ok with that.

          How do you know he won’t use a condom? Are you in the room?

          Lots of people are perfectly fine workers who just happen to have casual sex with all sorts of people. You seem to imply that these people would not be good workers. Once again, you’re judging based on your own biases.

          Lots of assumptions here. Lots of judging here.

        2. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

          I had to argue with a doctor who was sure I didn’t need HIV or other STD tests because I’m married. On the way home from that appointment, I waited for the bus next to a large poster urging people to be tested for HIV.

          A few years after that, a different doctor asked why I thought I needed to be tested for hepatitis C. I said “the CDC recommends it for everyone in my cohort,” which was good enough. I am glad to now be seeing a doctor who thinks it’s entirely reasonable for any of her patients to ask her for an STD screen.

      3. Ellis Bell*

        Dude, no. The guy can be gross without that being automatically transferred to the sex workers, who actually were doing their job right.

    3. Stay-at-Homesteader*

      I can’t speak for OP, but my guess is the family who likely isn’t aware has something to do with the grossness. And having a casual hookup on a work trip with someone who is not the partner and forcing coworkers to see it is also gross, ftr. It’s just not the behavior of someone who generally makes good decisions. I consider myself pretty sex-positive, but that doesn’t mean it belongs in the workplace.

      1. Kesnit*

        The co-worker wasn’t “forcing” the others to see. LW said they and someone else went back to the lobby and saw co-worker at the front desk. There is no indication that co-worker said or did anything to shove it in LW’s face.

    4. Happy meal with extra happy*

      First, I think even if they weren’t sex workers, but just one-night stands/hookups that the coworker met, it would still be a bit weird and uncomfy to happen on a business trip. I have no personal issues with it, but it does come across as a lack of priority, that one is more focused on having random sex than being well rested/ready to work in the morning. (And because it’s a hookup, the coworker had to put more effort into making it happened, as opposed to if he was traveling with a partner.)

      And, I think there could be multiple reasons that it’s extra weird that they are sex workers. (I’m not saying I agree with all of these, but I think they are relatively common views to have.) Even if one isn’t opposed to legalized sex work, it’s still a bit jarring that a coworker is doing something that would be illegal in their home country. It makes the coworker look much more desperate to have sex if they’re willing to pay for it, and it’s weird that they can’t go a business trip without it. In general, hiring a sex worker is a much more intentional act than a random connection at a bar/club. Even if sex work is legal, OP may still not be sure if there are exploitation concerns.

    5. Dulcinea47*

      Because he’s married with a family, is how I read it. Cheating on your spouse is never not gross.

      1. Lurker*

        We don’t know it was cheating, though. Maybe they have an open relationship. (I agree that cheating is always deplorable.)

        1. Nia*

          Everytime a letter involves cheating this line of defense pops up. Where do most AAM commenters come from that this has even a tiny possibility of being true.

          1. Happy meal with extra happy*

            Because AAM commenters LOVE to point out the tiniest exceptions to any general statement made, even if it’s such a remote possibility, it’s really absurd.

          2. Caramel & Cheddar*

            Ethical non-monogamy is still controversial/looked down on pretty broadly, so it’s not like most people are going to be casually open about it on average. [I agree it’s probably not likely here, but “I don’t know anyone in a relationship like that!” doesn’t actually say much about the very common reasons *why* most people don’t know anyone in an open marriage.]

            1. Observer*

              Ethical non-monogamy is still controversial/looked down on pretty broadly, so it’s not like most people are going to be casually open about it on average.

              So either he’s cheating – which is the most likely scenario- or he’s pulling his colleagues into the internal workings of his marriage in the (almost) most graphic way. Yuck! to either scenario.

          3. Ferret*

            I agree it’s pretty unlikely and I also find it a bit silly how often open marriages get brought up online as a sort of Devil’s Advocate response whenever cheating is a possibility, however in this situation where there isn’t much the LW can/should do it might be helpful as a a way to put it out of their mind

            1. SimonTheGreyWarden*

              Especially since no one ever seems to acknowledge that there CAN be cheating in open relationships, and most people don’t understand that these things take negotiation to maintain. I know; I have two partners but neither of them are interested in outside partners even though they have the option. There has to be a lot of communication in polyam/open relationships (which are NOT the same thing).

            1. JM60*

              It’s hard to get accurate numbers, but polls I could find suggest that ~1/20 marriages are open marriages. So assuming that people in open marriages are at least as likely to hire sex workers as those in other marriages, and assuming that 1/20 is high enough to be considered a “tiny possibility”, then I don’t think it’s naïve to think there is at least a “tiny possibility” that the coworker is in an open marriage.

          4. Hohumdrum*

            …I mean personally I happen to know a lot of people in open relationships/are poly so lived experience?

          5. Anon for this one*

            It all depends on who you know. I have an open relationship myself, and thus know a lot of other people who do too – most of whom don’t necessarily announce it to everyone because of this sort of judgmental nonsense.

            1. allathian*

              Yes, it’s confirmation bias for sure. I only know one person, a former coworker, who at least used to be openly polyamorous. She married her primary partner while working for us, and the pushback she got from some coworkers was disheartening to listen to. “What’s the point of getting married if you’re going to continue to sleep around?” was one comment I heard myself, as if polyamory automatically meant promiscuity. I just congratulated my coworker on her upcoming nuptials…

              Thankfully she was confident enough about her own choices being the right ones for her that she didn’t let it get her down, but I strongly suspect that those comments contributed to her decision to leave a few months after her honeymoon. I haven’t kept in touch with her recently but it wouldn’t surprise me to hear that she lets people assume she’s in a monogamous marriage now.

              I’m in a monogamous marriage, and so are AFAIK all of my married friends. Of those friends who’re divorced, all except one say that their marriage ended because their spouse cheated on them, and in one case it was because the husband wanted to open the marriage so that he could have sex with his new crush without cheating, and even I know that that isn’t an ethical way to discuss opening a marriage. My friend told him that she’d rather be divorced than in an open marriage, and from what my friend tells me, it was a reasonably amicable divorce, even if it took a few venting sessions with me and her other friends for her to process her feelings of betrayal, anger and disappointment over the marriage not working out.

          6. Myrin*

            It’s the same as the rows of people bringing up “food insecurity” whenever a letter talks about someone taking more than their share of free food. Both open/poly relationships and food insecurity are things that exist, and probably more than any random Joe Schmoe would think, but the way it gets brought up as if both possibilities had basically the same likelihood never stops to astound (and, to be perfectly honest, annoy) me.
            Most likely, the glutton was just greedy. Most likely, this guy is a cheater.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Yep, and it’s often even more than that: food insecurity and open relationships get talked about here as if they’re more likely than the alternatives, when in reality they’re less likely. It’s very odd.

              1. Phony Genius*

                If I may offer a theory on that: It seems that many people want to give others the “benefit of the doubt,” meaning that they want to always assume someone had good intentions unless proven absolutely false. Even if statistics suggest a low likelihood of something being true, some people still want to assume the “best” about another person. Especially if their personal experience has seen multiple instances of an unlikely but possible explanation being true.

                1. SnackAttack*

                  I don’t mind giving people the benefit of the doubt, but it seems like sometimes in this commentariat, people bend over backwards to give others the complete no-strings-attached gift of the doubt, to the point where they stop taking the OP at their word. Is it possible that the employee has an open marriage? Sure, in theory. Is it possible that these sex workers are completely independent and aren’t exploited in any way? Again, sure. And that’s why Alison said to stay out of it. But realistically – given the majority of relationships and the status of sex work in Central and South American countries – that’s not the case.

                2. Phony Genius*

                  SnackAttack, I’ll just say that I’ve seen courthouse juries go out of their way to give the “gift of the doubt” in even worse ways. It’s not just here.

                3. JM60*

                  Personally, I don’t like it when people jump to conclusions when making moralistic assumptions about others. Even if it’s statistically more likely that he’s cheating than it is that he’s in an open relationship, I don’t like calling it cheating without explicitly including some caveat about them “likely” being in some relationship that’s supposed to be monogamous.

              2. Hiring Mgr*

                I think partially it’s a mild drawback of the site policy to not speculate. If we’re truly not speculating we wouldn’t bring up the cheating one way or another, but once someone mentions something that isn’t definite, it’s easy for the other side to then chime in.

          7. 1-800-BrownCow*

            Because odds are, you probably know someone who is either in an Open Relationship or is Poly. I personally am not in an O.R. or Poly, but I do know people who are and they tend to be very private/discreet about it because of the negative stigma associated with their lifestyle. Very likely you’ve crossed paths whether through work, church (yes, even in church), volunteer work and hey, even maybe someone in your family. The numbers are likely higher than you think.

          8. Kesnit*

            For about 7 years, my wife and I attended a festival every years where there were a lot of poly families. We camped a few times next to a permanent triad and their children. (Woman, her legally married husband, their 2 kids, and Male #2, who was involved with both Woman and Legal Husband.)
            Polyamory was so common that one of our friends told my wife and I that the only way she could understand us was to think of monogamy as our kink.

            1. Janet*

              I’m sorry to derail, but do you mean Pennsic?

              In any case, to some extent it’s irrelevant what Coworker’s relationship arrangements are, since we do not and cannot know them. One assumes that if LW did report Coworker, he would explain any mitigating circumstances to the HR person who had this Super Fun Job dropped in their lap.

              But it is not LW’s job to police Coworker’s marriage, and he could be the cheatiest cheatypants to ever cheat without that fact ever affecting his work. Like sure, if he’s under investigation for embezzlement it makes sense to look at indications of his integrity in other areas of life, but if he’s turning in his TPS reports on time and accurately, it’s just none of his job’s business.

          9. Friendo*

            When people bring it up, the point isn’t to determine what is or what isn’t the most plausible situation, it’s to point out that OP has no way of knowing any of this and so it’s in their best interest not to involve themselves.

            1. Lurker*

              Thank you. That was the intention of my comment. I’m surprised at all the responses; people comment here all the time in similar ways. Like the entire alcohol v. soda health debate. Given the pushback it feels a little like latent judgey-ness.

              For the record, I do have friends, with children, who are in open marriages so having a family doesn’t preclude that. Just like having a family – or being in an open marriage – doesn’t preclude cheating. My point was we cannot know for sure what the co-worker’s marital situation is from the info provided by the LW.

          10. New Jack Karyn*

            Guess what? There’s more than a tiny possibility that he is in an open/polyamorous relationship. I don’t know why you think that’s laughable, and it’s actually kind of insulting that you think so.

            1. Keeley Jones, The Independent Wonan*

              So is assuming he’s not cheating. Every time something like this comes up, people are falling over themselves to come rushing to the defense of (usually) dudes who in all likelihood are cheating on an unsuspecting spouse claiming really rare situations where this would be ok.
              Can we just not?

              1. STG*

                The whole ‘but family!’ thing shouldn’t have been brought up at all because we nor the OP has any information on that. So factually, NOBODY here can say whether he’s cheating or not and the assumption either way is silly.

                1. Nia*

                  If you hear hoofbeats think horses not zebras.

                  He is cheating and it is the height of silliness to pretend otherwise.

              2. Friendo*

                No one is assuming he isn’t cheating, the whole point is that it’s in completely different sphere of life than OP is part of.

              3. JM60*

                I think the purpose of bringing up the possibility of an open relationship isn’t to assume that they aren’t cheating, but rather that you shouldn’t assume that they are. You don’t have to make either assumption.

              1. JM60*

                It would be an assumption that they’re in an open marriage, but I don’t think anyone here is making that assumption. The point of bringing up the possibility of an open marriage is that you shouldn’t assume that the person’s marriage is suppose to be monogamous. You can avoid making an assumption one way or another.

        2. sparkle emoji*

          But your coworkers don’t(or at least shouldn’t) know whether your relationship is open or closed. Your coworkers will likely assume you are cheating, which is why hooking up on a work trip where they can see you is ill-advised.

        3. Ellis Bell*

          Yeah he was just waiting to be in another country from his spouse, while at work, because they do this all the time at home.

    6. Lily Rowan*

      J3’s question is a good one (how do you know they were sex workers), and to me, both scenarios are equally gross — seeing your married coworker, on a work trip, bringing two women back to his hotel room. Financial compensation or no, ew.

    7. I should really pick a name*

      I don’t think Alison’s response suggested it was more gross because money was involved.

    8. Anax*

      On a note totally unrelated to the sex work… this guy is on a business trip, and businesses often care a lot about reputational damage. If he posted something on social media about this hookup, or the women he was involved with did, or a client saw them, or even hotel staff who might gossip, that would be potentially embarrassing for the business.

      Ditto, if he had any confidential materials in his hotel room – like say, a laptop which could be stolen – then having random unvetted people in there could be risky.

      And ditto, getting visibly drunk while on work business, under most circumstances.

      I wouldn’t feel comfortable mixing business and my personal life in such an indiscreet way, because of the potential risk to my livelihood. That’s a major part of what squicks me out. It just feels like bad judgment.

      1. Azure Jane Lunatic*

        Yeah, my first thought was about whether he had anything in his room that a random non-employee shouldn’t see or have access to. Kind of like leaving a work laptop and a stack of work papers on the table at the coffee shop when you go to the bathroom, it’s not a great decision.

    9. Smithy*

      I will start that I don’t think this is in play here because the OP likely would have mentioned it, but I know in my job (and peer employers in my sector) – it is against our code of ethics to procure the services of sex workers even if legal in the country. So being found to have procured those services does put you at high risk of being fired.

      Now… own opinion on that definition is that we don’t clearly define what is meant by sex worker and it’s a set of guidelines written in the early 00’s. So does that includes OnlyFans? Strippers giving lap dances? Dominatrix services for anything without penetration? It’s unclear, but it also is what it is and with workplace politics, there’s not really a great space for pushback.

      No comment on the gross part – but on the “wrong” part, if this happened to me with a coworker, this puts me in a horrific position. If this behavior was found to have happen on a work trip of mine – I’d probably feel like I would have to make a formal complaint, at least via our anonymous complaint line. I might make it vague, but I would be worried that if came out that I knew about it and didn’t report at all – I could also be trouble.

      This might just be my industry, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this type of regulation might also be in place for some government staff as it comes from UN guidance following some reports/audits that happened in the late 90’s early 00’s. I get that a lot of people have flagged the cheating on the family piece or the vulnerability of women in those industries – but I do think that if you’ve ever worked somewhere that states its a fireable offense, you can internalize it being wrong without considering ethics or morality. I don’t want to get in trouble and I want to keep my job, ergo I will follow the rules.

  3. Czhorat*

    I think it goes without saying that you shouldn’t bring sex workers to your room during a business trip, especially if you have a spouse at home.

    That said, this is the same principle as the personal mail from earlier this week: it doesn’t rise to the level that it needs to be reported. Nobody was harmed, no laws were broken, there’s no work impact.

    Develop a case of temporary blindness and selective amnesia.

    1. Velawciraptor*

      I mean, the co-worker’s spouse/partner back home is potentially harmed (emotionally and/or increased risk of exposure to STDs), but that harm is outside of LW’s purview to address as a co-worker.

    2. Observer*

      Develop a case of temporary blindness and selective amnesia.

      I disagree. I *do* agree that the OP does not need to report it, and probably should not.

      But it should inform them of their colleague’s poor judgement. This is information that they came by legitimately, and there is no reason that they cannot use it to make judgement calls.

      1. Wren123*

        We absolutely *don’t* know that the sex workers were not harmed or exploited. I would report this guy—in fact my NGO would require it—since hiring sex workers is against multiple HR policies and our organization’s core values. (I work at an NGO helping women and girls in developing countries, so maybe we are an outlier, but I know peers in government jobs where there are similar safeguarding policies. Those policies often include employees of companies that are government contractors.)

        1. New Jack Karyn*

          And if that were part of LW’s company policy, they would know–and very likely would have said so in the letter.

  4. L-squared*

    Really not your business.

    Also, how do you know they are sex workers, and not just girls he met on Tinder?

    Sure, you know he has a family. But aside from that, leave it alone and don’t be a busybody. What would you expect your manager to do about it anyway? Like, what would your ideal outcome be? Him be fired? reported to his wife? Publicly shamed?

    1. Leia83*

      Knowing they have a family shouldn’t even matter. OP doesn’t know their relationship. Coworker and their partner could have an open marriage or some other agreement.

      1. sparkle emoji*

        Still not smart to bring hookups to your hotel on a work trip when your coworkers can see you bringing them in. Fine to have sex but this coworker brought it into the workplace. Doesn’t need to be reported but can be indicative to LW of the coworker’s judgment.

    2. anywhere but here*

      Well, if they are girls and not women, that’s a different problem, regardless of how he met them.

      1. Texan In Exile*

        Came here to say that very thing.

        My current state legislator, in her first race, ran on a platform of maternal and infant health and on human trafficking. My husband, whom she was primarying, and I both scoffed at the idea of human trafficking in our affluent first-ring suburb.

        Turns out she was right. She is a photographer and would see girls – not women – being taken up to rooms in the hotels where she was photographing weddings. And turns out there is a ton of human trafficking in Milwaukee – it’s a major hub.

        (When she entered the primary, my husband tried to figure out how to run against her. He realized, after learning more about her, that he couldn’t run on the issues because he agreed with her on everything. He didn’t want to make it personal, so he dropped out of the race and supported her and she was the only person in Wisconsin to flip a seat that year! She’s won re-election since then and has been fabulous.)

        1. GythaOgden*

          One thing I learned yesterday about the subject was that trafficking isn’t just bringing people into the country illegally. It’s preying on your own friends and family (it’s rarely done by complete strangers) and is separate from the usual (though no less awful) practice of people-smuggling. A lot of migrants brought in by smugglers are also trafficked — they are in hock to the smugglers whom they paid to bring them into the country and coerced into labour in both the sex trade and other industries for fear of deportation or them or their families being harmed — but it is something citizens of western countries do to their compatriots.

          So yeah, turning a blind eye to it is almost worse than just being contemptuous of sex work. It’s being in a position to help someone and gather all the information about it but not bothering to do so for fear of it intersecting with an ideal where sex work is a free and fair exchange and a totally legal and secure way to make money.

          This is ‘walking by on the other side’ in its almost literal form.

    3. Roland*

      Sex workers can dress in a way that specifically communicates their job. I see it a lot driving through a particular part of town at night. If you saw them, you’d know too

    4. Ellis Bell*

      Would you still say this if the revelation was more deliberate than thoughtless? If the guy was telling OP in the break room that he hooked up with some sex workers after the work thing, we’d all understand that was inappropriate and empathise if OP was uncomfortable with that topic of discussion, because it involved being made deliberately aware of someone’s sex life. Maybe it makes a difference to some people that this was (barely) accidental, but the effect on OP is the same as if it was a deliberate reveal. I don’t advise that OP involve themself, for OP’s sake, but I get why they feel they should never have been a party to this, and why they’re weirded out. I also don’t think anyone would cry many tears if it did get out, or his wife did find out.

      1. L-squared*

        I mean, again, this is one of those things you sometimes learn when traveling wiht work for someone. He thought they were all asleep. He brought them back, and she saw it. Comparing it to being brought up in the break room is ridiculous.

        But I’ll give a similar thing. If I was next to a coworker in a room, and I heard them having loud sex, I wouldn’t think that was my business either. People have sex. Just because I’m accidentally made aware of it, doesn’t mean its being done at me.

    5. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Hopefully the business isn’t covering an extra fee some locations add for additional overnight guests. And hopefully there won’t be incidental fees due to the activities of those guests.

      (Not unknown for an original guest to find his date ran up incidental charges withouthim– food, drink, spa services, late checkout…)

      1. L-squared*

        They typically won’t charge a fee to have a “guest” in your room. I’ve stayed in hotels for work, and it was a city where a friend lived. They came up to my room for a couple of drinks before we went out. Then we all left. Usually its only extra if multiple people are CLEARLY staying there.

      1. H.Regalis*

        I think because other commentors are bringing up the possibility that the women he hired could be being forced to do sex work against their wills.

      2. The Other Sage*

        There is the possibility that those women are being forced to prostitute themselves. Someone you met in a bar is most probably going with you voluntarily.

      3. hohumdrum*

        Because people have really divided and strong feelings on sex work and that will impact their interpretation of this event regardless of whether that’s fair or not (it’s not). So for people who think sex work is inherently wrong or exploitative they will assess this event differently if come to find out what happened was OP saw coworker with two girls from tindr and jumped to conclusions about those girls based on appearance or something. And let’s be real, commenters here love to create narratives.

        1. anywhere but here*

          Whether or not the individuals were paid for the evening, can we not contribute to infantilizing female adults by referring to them as girls?

    1. RVA Cat*

      This. As long as everyone is a consenting adult, it’s mind your own business.
      I would report and possibly intervene if the people appeared to be under 18.

  5. Dilly*

    If you’re not the person’s boss, I too would let it go (I have no problem with commercial sex work and the person’s marriage isn’t my business and for all I know it could be an open marriage. Not my business either way) with one exception. If there was *any* chance that a sex worker was underage, I’d be reporting the coworker immediately! This was in fact a situation that my company faced. It was a bit gray on whether sex work was legal in the country in question, but the employee (US citizen in that country for work) was seen by a coworker in the company of a sex worker who was *clearly* a minor. Coworker reached out to HQ and the employee was on a plane back to the US and fired within 48 hours.

    1. Texan In Exile*

      Didn’t the US criminalize having sex with underage people (AKA rape) even outside the US?

      1. New Jack Karyn*

        Yup! The focus at the time of passage was on Asian countries, and the sex tourism trade, but of course the law applies to all countries a US citizen visits.

  6. Stuart Foote*

    Who checks sex workers into their room? Wouldn’t it be easier to just bring them up and not bother with the front desk?

    I have never hired a sex worker so I guess I don’t know how it works. Maybe the hotel is the middle man in this case and gets a cut.

    1. HonorBox*

      Semantics maybe, but I read that as he was at the front desk meeting them.

      I’m not at all fluent in how this all works either, but I was just thinking check them in was more about meeting them since the hotel wouldn’t just send them up.

    2. Phony Genius*

      If he did check them in, who paid for the upcharge? If the employer did, then it becomes relevant to the LW’s management.

      1. pally*

        Hmm… does that charge go under “entertainment” or “lodging”? As this is a business trip, someone has to decide how to expense this item.

        1. Phony Genius*

          The wannabe accountant in me says just put it under “incidentals” and hope for the best.

    3. Hiring Mgr*

      If it’s a Hilton or related property I believe he’ll get triple the Honors points, and that much closer to Platinum status

  7. overcaffeinatedandqueer*

    Is your coworker in the CIA? No joke, that sometimes happens on CIA advance team trips and is suspected as a factor in the death of Kennedy (agents had partied with sex workers the night before and were tired/hungover, affecting response times).

    1. I'm just here for the cats!*

      Are you sure your not getting secret service mixed up with CIA. CIA doesn’t protect the president.

    2. Ally McBeal*

      If OP and their coworkers are in the CIA, they certainly wouldn’t admit it! And frankly I feel like that would change my advice, because I don’t want my tax dollars funding sex parties for government agents (unless, I suppose, it’s part of some sort of undercover operation).

    3. Hiring Mgr*

      Or more likely, the two workers were hired by the OPs company’s top competitor, probably to plant bugs in the room, look for any papers, laptop screens left open, etc

  8. Writer Claire*

    I agree that hiring sex workers during a business trip isn’t something to report, barring any company policy, but I do have a question for Alison. If the employee has a partner or spouse back home, would you still recommend temporary blindness and selective amnesia?

    (I say this as someone who divorced their spouse because they cheated on me with sex workers and casual hookups, and I really wish someone had told me sooner. But I’m not sure if the business setting changes anything.)

    1. nopetopus*

      I’m not Alison, but no way in hell would I tell a spouse of my coworker if I am planning to stay in that workplace for any amount of time. There’s a near 100% chance that it would backfire in my face and make my work life a living hell. I don’t think that’s something you can ask of one’s spouse’s coworkers.

      1. Juicebox Hero*

        This is where I fall as well. Even if the cheated-on person would want to be told, you’re lobbing a giant FEELINGSBOMB into both their marriage and your work environment and you can’t tell where the schrapnel will go.

        It’s different for a family member, or close friend, I think. But for a coworker, and especially the spouse of a coworker – nope and double nope.

      2. New Mom (of 1 5/9)*

        Yep. If I knew the person socially? Absolutely. If I knew you from work? I’m so sorry, but first off I’d probably have no idea what to contact you (I’m 95% remote so I don’t usually even know my coworkers’ spouses’ names), and I’m not sure I’d do it anyways.

    2. Ellis Bell*

      Claire, I’m a betrayed spouse too, and I don’t know how far out you are from discovery-day, but you really can’t rely on a spouse’s colleagues to blow the whistle. These are people’s livelihoods and they have no idea what arrangements couples have, or if you’d even act on the information if you were being betrayed (Have you been to any infidelity support groups? If you have, you’ll have met the person with three or four d-days under their belt, no plans to leave no matter what info they get told, and also doing none of their own due diligence because they expect others to tell them). All that said, I will always tell a betrayed spouse what’s going on, if I know the couple and their set up, and if I know for sure and witnessed something concrete with my own eyes. It’s something I would have appreciated, it’s something I will do for others, but it’s really not something you can expect others to do for you. Especially if it affects their job. At the end of the day we have to look after our own concerns. There are ways to do this, even if I didn’t know them at one time.

      1. Writer Claire*

        Yeah, I get that. In my own case, I didn’t expect his co-workers to have told me. We’re not friends, and in any case, I doubt they knew. But several friends did know and said nothing. They aren’t my friends any longer.

        There was also the matter of STDs. I knew the sex workers would be sensible and use protection. It was the casual hookups I worried about. (Luckily my tests came back clear.) I guess that’s what has me asking the question.

          1. Writer Claire*

            I am, thank you. I’m 18 months from D-Day, living in my own condo with my elderly cat, and life is…good. Therapy and r/survivinginfidelity were both invaluable with helping me get past the anger and grief. It’s a work in progress.

            I hope you are doing well. *fistbump of solidarity*

    3. turquoisecow*

      Yeah, unless I was friends with the person outside of work, well enough to know their spouse, I wouldn’t tell them. I don’t get involved in other people’s marriages.

    4. Le Anon*

      It’s unlikely I’d know any of my coworkers’ spouses well enough to consider telling them. I wouldn’t even have a way to contact them, and I wouldn’t know if they’d even believe me, or if it would set off some firestorm that would suck me into workplace drama hell.

    5. DrSalty*

      I would not, unless I already knew the spouse outside of work. If I knew my coworker was cheating, I wouldn’t approve, but I certainly wouldn’t insert myself into their relationship.

  9. Winstonian*

    This reminds me of a letter (pretty sure it was here) I remember where a coworker brought someone (think it was a sex worker) back to their hotel and work property was stolen.

    1. President Porpoise*

      Oh, yeah, that’s a consideration. If you are working with proprietary/export controlled goods or data, there’s an extra layer of security your coworker should be operating under which would not jive with bring random anyone to their hotel room. That could be a reason to report.

      1. JM60*

        Would you view that as a reason to report if someone had their work laptop in their hotel room on their vacation (and you magically knew they brought a sex worker to their hotel room)?

        For better or worse, many people bring a work laptop with them on a vacation just in case there’s some kind of work emergency.

        1. President Porpoise*

          Uh, actually yes – because I’m directly involved in the compliance arm of my org, we handle very sensitive data, and this is a violation of a slew of policies.

          But it might not be for OP – but it’s worth bringing it up as a possibility.

          1. JM60*

            In that case, it sounds like your company has much more stringent policies due to the nature of your work. I’m also guessing that those policies would apply to visitors in general being in the vicinity of an employer-owned device, not just people visiting for sexual reasons specifically. I’m guessing it would also be against company policy to leave the device unattended in a hotel room without guests (since hotel staff could steal it).

            For most employers, I’d think that typical IT mitigations (e.g., full disk hardware encryption) and policies such as, “Keep your computer unlocked when unattended” should probably suffice.

            1. President Porpoise*

              Yep! All of the above. But no telling about what OP’s company is doing which is why I mentioned it.

              We have the encryption too – but that doesn’t prevent us from having to make a report to the government when a laptop disappears.

  10. AvonLady Barksdale*

    I mean… some of your co-workers were so drunk they had to be “hauled back” to their rooms. This doesn’t sound like a complaint that would fly. Don’t get me wrong– I drink, I like to go out occasionally, I’ve had some really good cocktails in Mexico City, so there’s no judgment here– but in a culture that obviously likes to party on business trips, adding a couple of randoms to the party doesn’t sound all that outrageous. Let it go.

    1. Phony Genius*

      It begs the question of whether the drunk co-workers should be reported, since it caused other co-workers to “haul” them back to their rooms. Or is this another case of “only if the boss sees it?”

      1. Kel*

        I agree; both of these things show bad judgement, but if neither are illegal or against the company rules, then reporting it isn’t really something that needs to happen. A mental note for the future for LW, sure.

    2. Ellis Bell*

      Yeah, I have worked in places with heavy drinking cultures and it always comes at the cost of professionalism. That said I think this is giving an inch and taking a mile; just because you can get tipsy at a work thing doesn’t mean why not get a few sex workers too…

  11. Chairman of the Bored*

    How is “A co-worker did something that is completely legal during his free time while traveling, what should I do about it?” even a question? You do nothing, as there is nothing here.

    I live in a country where marijuana is illegal. If I was in Amsterdam with a colleague and they had some grass in the hotel room their employer is paying for I sure wouldn’t feel compelled to report it to anybody. Same thing.

    1. Jay (no, the other one)*

      I think there was a letter about someone smoking pot on a work trip – someone did complain.

      1. KHB*

        If it’s the letter I’m thinking of, that wasn’t just about smoking pot – it was a male manager plying a female employee with pot in his hotel room. Given the circumstances, I don’t fault her for complaining.

  12. Anonym*

    Oh I am going to disagree on a point, having worked in jobs where this was a whole thing:

    If your workplace has a discount/block reservation or some type of “we will reserve X number of rooms per year from you in exchange for discounts” deal, there may be clauses in that deal which specifically say, do not do this laundry list of things in our hotel. You may be told explicitly or it might be buried on page 562 of the travel and expenses policy handbook. But bringing sex workers to the hotel is often one of those clauses, as are any number of other activities that may be legal but associated with damage to the room or reputation damage to the hotel brand. Voiding the company travel discount by bad behavior is definitely a career limiting move. Now, should those things be made clear in travel policy training? absolutely. Are people dumb about these things anyway? Also yes. And yes I have seen people fired for it. Is it necessarily YOUR business? Well, if someone else finds out and there’s an investigation on Who Screwed Up Our Travel Contracts, maybe.

    1. Zoe Karvounopsina*

      Yeah. I have been in many hotels with a “do not bring guests back to your room” policy.

    2. connie*

      If there’s something actionable here, he’ll be found out eventually, perhaps by hotel staff? It’s not up to the LW to report him. It’s just not.

      1. allathian*

        Depends on the company. I wouldn’t expect the LW to risk her own job security by not reporting a clear policy infraction because that would make the LW complicit after the fact.

  13. Pickaduck*

    None of this makes any sense, and it makes me think that maybe you didn’t see what you thought you saw. Regardless, go back to your own room and don’t worry about it.

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Er, what? What is nonsensical about “I saw my coworker bringing two extra folks up to his hotel room and they looked like they were gonna party”?

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        That’s not the scenario presented, though. “I saw him checking two sex workers into the hotel” is what the LW thinks they saw, and the “checking in” plus the assumption that they were sex workers (and I understand I’m assuming it’s an assumption) doesn’t make much sense. “I saw my coworker escorting two women to his hotel room” does make sense– as you note– but is much less… salacious, I suppose.

        1. Myrin*

          Does “check in” necessarily have to mean “go through the formal ‘checking-in’ process at reception”? I’m not a native English speaker and I thought it had a more colloquial meaning as well, but now I wonder if I’ve just always encountered the expression in ambiguous contexts and simply made that colloquial meaning up.

          1. Yorick*

            I’m a native English speaker and I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone use “check in” except for as the formal process needed to enter a space. You wouldn’t use it to refer to greeting someone in the lobby and bringing them up to your room.

        1. connie*

          Was he exchanging money for sex in front of his coworkers with a statement that he was doing that? Assuming these women were scantily dressed, maybe they were sex workers, maybe not. That’s huh?’s point. You just don’t know someone is a sex worker by how they are dressed.

      1. SnackAttack*

        As someone who’s been to places similar to where OP was, you can tell. I’m not saying that in a pejorative way – you just can.

      2. Joron Twiner*

        Have you ever been outside at night…? Or watched a movie in which the characters went to the red light district?

  14. Lucy*

    Agh, I’m 100% with Alison. One of those situations that’s like, obviously I think anyone can do exactly as they like, as long as it’s safe, sane and consensual, but I don’t love knowing about it! I guess we can’t assume he *didn’t* do a ton of background research to make sure these were sex workers by choice (if sex work is all properly regulated as well as legal, where you were, that would help my opinion!). Hopefully he did, but I hate the thought that I’d have to wonder and worry about it, with someone I worked with, when I didn’t want to know anything about their sex life at all.

    The cheating makes me like coworker less as a person, but isn’t really relevant to his job, I guess.

    Absolute best case scenario is, he did his best background check to ensure the sex workers were willing and fairly treated (or there are regulations in place that do that work for him) AND he and his partner have an open relationship, which is understandably not discussed at his workplace.

    If it were me, I think I would willfully force myself to believe those things until proven otherwise, to try and avoid the feelings of skeeve I would otherwise be unable to stave off.

  15. AnonInCanada*

    I agree with Alison. See no evil…

    We’ve all done things before that we regretted later. I’m sure if some coworker who thought drinking was a cardinal sin made your bosses aware that you’ve had one too many the night before flying home from that trip, you wouldn’t be too thrilled having that dirty laundry aired out. Leave it alone. Not your circus, not your monkey.

  16. BellyButton*

    were they sex workers or were they women he picked up or met online? He could even have an open marriage. A whole lot of assumptions are being made about something/someone and none of it is LW’s business. MYOB, people!

    1. SnackAttack*

      Honestly, I feel like commenters here are making just as many (or more) assumptions than OP was. They’re assuming that he has an open relationship, and that no coercion takes place in legal prostitution. I understand the purpose of pointing out alternative factors, but I do find it funny when people say “that’s an assumption!” and then make several more assumptions of their own.

      1. Database Developer Dude*

        While you’re right, SnackAttack, who’s to say which set of assumptions are correct? Nobody is. That’s why OP should leave it alone.

      2. New Jack Karyn*

        No one is assuming he has an open marriage. We are pointing out that the assumption he is in a monogamous relationship is faulty.

  17. Annie*

    Pretend you didn’t see it. Why get involved in something that has nothing to do with you or the job?

  18. The frogs are okay*

    “It feels like forcing unwanted information about his sex life on you, even though that presumably wasn’t his intent.”

    I don’t really get this attitude. People have accused me of as much for coming out of the closet. When I was punk and wore a studded collar as a teenager I was also accused of this. But really, no information about anyone’s sex life was exchanged.

    OP saw them go into a room, but sex workers do have the rare nonsexual client. They could have been playing chess. I would never assume something about someone and then feel they forced me to.

    1. New Jack Karyn*

      Okay, I am firmly on the side of not LW’s business, and don’t make huge assumptions about the rate of polyamory, but come on, now. Nonsexual clients don’t pick up their dates two at a time at 4:00 am. They were not playing Ticket to Ride.

  19. Brain the Brian*

    Your friendly neighborhood queer person here reminding everyone not to police your coworkers’ sex lives. Is this poor judgment on the part of the coworker? Yes, probably — he should have been more discreet about it. But should you start deciding for yourself what’s moral and amoral for other people to do in the bedroom? Please, please no. Don’t open that door — because it’s only a few short steps from “no sex workers in company hotel rooms” to “no queer partners at the company holiday party.” Way too many people conflate (even straight) sex work with queer relationships more broadly, and I’d urge — nay, beg — you not to give them any more ammunition to use in self-righteous moral panics.

    (Not to mention you have no idea what sort of agreements this coworker may have with his spouse / partner about sex while away from home. Or any idea whether his marriage might be about to end anyway. Or really anything at all. Just let it be. Unless a company-paid hotel room is damaged or you have ironclad proof that an employee is doing something overtly illegal in one, there’s really no need to get into what employees choose to do in their hotel rooms in their off hours.)

      1. Yes Anastasia*

        I 100% agree that the pearl-clutching, moral panic response that people have to sex work is anti-woman and anti-queer, but I think there is still space for individuals to judge people who behave badly in their personal relationships. There’s strong evidence that this guy is cheating on a monogamous partner, and reasonable questions about the labor conditions for these sex workers. “What happens in the bedroom” can’t be sacrosanct in a world where so many people treat their sex partners badly. (Which is not to say that *companies* as institutions should be the ones policing anyone, unless crimes are happening.)

    1. Ellis Bell*

      This is not rhetorical at all, because I am genuinely and sincerely interested: who is conflating sex work with queer relationships? I know homophobia likes to strike through the word “relationship” and replace it with “just sex” when faced with gay relationships, but relationships are directly opposite to casual sex. How is this getting played out?

      1. Yes Anastasia*

        Historically I’m the US there was a lot of overlap in the way that queer people and sex workers were policed and regulated, since their activities all fell under the umbrella of “illicit” sex. There’s vestiges of this rhetoric in the contemporary sex trafficking/”grooming” panic.

        1. Brain the Brian*

          Thanks for summarizing much more succinctly than I could have, Yes Anastasia. I’ll add that there are plenty of companies that have significantly scaled back their public-facing Pride efforts in recent years because of conservative backlash, and those outwardly visible changes have an internal impact on policies and practices, too. I certainly don’t envy my friends who are known drag performers on the side; how they make it through a day at their desk jobs without some form of harassment in the current environment that conflates drag performance with “sexual deviancy” is a miracle.

          And that’s not even mentioning other countries. My company has offices in a dizen countries — most of them far more conservative than the U.S. — and navigating queerness here is hard enough without anyone focusing on whether our sex lives are “illicit” or not.

      2. different seudonym*

        You’re fortunate not to have encountered such ideas. But off the top of my head:

        * Assumptions that younger gay men are all sex workers
        * Assumptions that trans women are all sex workers
        * Assumptions that sartorial participation in queer and BDSM culture–anything from one studded bracelet to full drag–means that someone is a sex worker
        * Assumptions that nonmonogamous couples patronize sex workers, and/or are sex workers themselves; there’s an extra step here in that nonmonogamy is far, FAR more common among queer people
        * Assumptions that older queer people are predatory to young people/those who have just come out, and might formally or informally traffic them
        * All of the above turned up to 11 when the queer person in question is poor or nonwhite

        These are all very widely circulated, especially in reactionary-right online spaces. If you’re thinking to yourself “none of that makes sense!”–well, yeah, it makes no sense because it isn’t a description of reality. It’s a multi-part elaboration of a dehumanizing fantasy: “those PERVERTS will do ANYTHING and us normal people could get CAUGHT IN THEIR NETS!” This ideology is extreme, but it’s what props up and justifies less-intense forms of dehumanization like “queer people don’t have relationships, only sex.” It’s also what justifies violent homophobia ranging from street bashings to murder. It is not a freaking joke.

        1. Ellis Bell*

          Oh, I don’t look for sense when discussing hatred. Just here for the lived experience of the experienced!

    2. Critical Rolls*

      In the U.S., even under current circumstances, there’s a lot of daylight between “no sex workers in company hotel rooms” and “no queer partners at the company holiday party.” For one thing, situation A has multiple concerns. Is it going to result in additional charges from the hotel? What about the risk of theft (we had a letter from someone who had a company laptop stolen by a prostitute)? Is this person only doing this where prostitution is legal? Whereas the only possible reason for situation B is unvarnished bigotry. This is one of those things where a slippery slope only exists if people are unreasonable, and if they’re unreasonable, they don’t need cause to show it.

      1. Ellis Bell*

        Would “no queer partners at the company holiday party.” not be illegal? I do know that companies can find ways to be illegal shitheads without having to come right out and say something; but it would be illegal for them to say that, right?

        1. Brain the Brian*

          It would probably be illegal to come right out and say it, yes. But there are lots of little things that probably aren’t illegal on their own but add up to a discriminatory pattern all together. In one recent example from my employer, we had someone leave to move cities and live with her long-term girlfriend. Her goodbye email to her close colleagues in our U.S. office said that in plain language, but her manager censored it to a vague “family reasons” when he forwarded it to the rest of the office and her colleagues in other countries. For years, he had asked her to keep quiet about her (very bland) lesbian relationship to be “sensitive” to certain staff members.

          Anyway, we’re very deeply into a rabbit hole of why queer people experience discrimination in the workplace. I know I started it, but I think we’ve crossed into an off-topic, nonproductive place for the comment section on this particular letter. Google and the news exist for people who are genuinely curious.

  20. Reality.Bites*

    We’re losing sight of the fact that this is a column about workplace issues, not personal relationships. Whatever one thinks about monogamy, open relationships and sex work, the fact remains that what happened (or didn’t) was in no way the OP’s legitimate concern, nor their employer’s.

    1. Ellis Bell*

      To be fair, that cuts both ways. If it’s not the business of people at work (and to be clear it’s not), don’t do it in a work context, with coworkers in ringside seats.

      1. KTC*

        He didn’t do it at the office and presumably he didn’t knock on each of his coworkers’ hotel room doors and introduce them to his companions with detailed descriptions of their evening plans. No one was in a ringside seat. OP needs to MYOB.

        1. Ellis Bell*

          Oh I definitely think there would have been a (slight) difference if everyone had been out of the way and gone to bed a while ago. It would have at least been trying to be discreet. The way I read it, he was still on the night out, and had gotten the sex workers while OP and a colleague were around making sure everyone who was drinking had gotten in OK.

  21. Writer Claire*

    I agree that hiring sex workers during a business trip isn’t something to report, barring any company policy, but I do have a question for Alison. If the employee has a partner or spouse back home, would you still recommend ignoring what happened?

    (I say this as someone who divorced their spouse because they cheated on me with sex workers and casual hookups, and I really wish someone had told me sooner. But I’m not sure if the business setting changes anything.)

    1. L-squared*

      I don’t think that is a work question, I think its a personal question. It is still something that doesn’t need to be brought up to anyone at the company. Its not the boss, or HR, or anyone else’s business.

      If you want to tell the spouse yourself, that is your choice.

    2. I should really pick a name*

      Even if you personally would have wanted to know, this would be a risky thing for the LW to do.

      They would basically be inserting themselves into their coworker’s personal life, and that’s just going to get messy, whether the spouse reacts well or poorly.

      What’s best for the coworker’s spouse quite possibly doesn’t line up with what’s best for the LW.

      I’d say yes, the business setting changes things. I’d say there would be more reason for a friend to pass on this information than a coworker.

    3. Brain the Brian*

      I think if the coworker’s spouse asked LW directly if LW had seen coworker with any sex workers or hookups, LW could answer honestly. I don’t think it’s the coworker’s place to insert themself preemptively — especially given the legal and HR ramifications.

      I’m sorry for your ex’s cheating. All this aside, that sucks.

    4. BellyButton*

      I am sorry that happened to you. In this letter the LW doesn’t say they are friends with the coworker or spouse. There is no way I would assert myself into that mess. Also, we have no idea if the coworker and their spouse have any type of open marriage or arraignments. I was friends with a couple that had a don’t ask don’t tell policy on business trips.

    5. turquoisecow*

      Unless I was friends with the spouse, no, I wouldn’t say anything to them. Honestly, if one of my husband’s coworkers I didn’t know called me up or came to my house or whatever and said they saw him with sex workers in a hotel room, I would wonder if the coworker simply had a vendetta against my husband. And if I saw one of my coworkers talking to a sex worker (or someone I presumed was a sex worker), I wouldn’t say anything to their spouse.

      I don’t get involved in other people’s marriages.

    6. Part time lab tech*

      Personally I wouldn’t lie to the spouse. I’d probably evade any questions and very carefully avoid any speculation. eg If a colleague said they had a business trip when they’d taken holidays, I wouldn’t cover but I would also insist I knew nothing further, because I don’t. I might also give a heads up to HR, colleague’s boss and my boss in confused tone to reduce retaliation on me, especially if I believe he was having an affair.

  22. Kermit's Bookkeepers*

    I’m reminded of the letter we had awhile back in which the LW was complaining that their colleague brought an old flame back to her hotel room during a business trip, in which the answer was similar: what the coworker chooses to do in their off-time is their own business, and provided it doesn’t interfere with your own ability to be well-rested and professional, it’s nothing you should complain about. I understand the ick factor around the potential cheating (we don’t know what his arrangement with his primary partner is), and even if you believe sex work should be legal and destigmatized it can be difficult to ignore your own conditioning around it — besides the issue of using a company trip for something with such a cloud over it. It may be helpful to think of this in the same terms you would think of, say, marijuana use in a legal state: it’s not particularly graceful to be talking to a delivery guy in the lobby of the hotel where his coworkers will see him, but there’s nothing wrong with the use itself.

  23. Hiring Mgr*

    Not your concern – don’t say anything. Plus, how does LW know they were sex workers and not just hookup app meetups or something.

    Also, there were two… Is your boss male?

      1. Hiring Mgr*

        Since there were two women. and the group was all out for a big night of drinking, someone else in the group (e.g. the manager) might have been in on it too. (OP says she’s unsure whether the mgr knew or not)

        And I figured a man is about a billion times more likely to engage a sex worker on a business trip while drunk so….

  24. FashionablyEvil*

    Honestly, I would check your company’s code of conduct/employee handbook–my company explicitly prohibits paying for sex while on work travel even if it’s legal in the country where you are.

    1. Observer*

      I still would not report. Obviously it would color my judgement of the person but this is still not the OP’s issue.

      1. Sneaky Squirrel*

        If OP’s policy manual explicitly prohibits it, there is a high possibility that there’s also a statement in there that failure to report could cost them their job.

        1. RVA Cat*

          That seems unfair for a co-worker, especially since they did not witness the paying-for-sex actually happen. It’s highly possible these were women in skimpy clubwear he met at q bar.

  25. Tangerine Thief*

    The only way I can justify reporting this is if it was illegal in the jurisdiction you were in (as I would for someone doing drugs, driving dangerously, or theft) or if they worked in a profession where this would be ethically not okay in a professional sense – e.g they work for a religious affiliated place or a non profit for trafficked people. But that is a reeeeeaally fine line to tread for a lot of people so I get OP’s feelings.

    However, I would feel gross about him forall the reasons Alison said.

    1. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

      If you’re going to report someone for driving dangerously, the dividing line shouldn’t be whether the person got drunk/stoned beforehand. Dangerous driving is still dangerous if the underlying cause is trying to watch a movie while driving, or speeding for its own sake, or not having slept in 48 hours, or any number of other things people can do sober.

      1. anywhere but here*

        That doesn’t correspond to what Tangerine Thief said at all. They gave doing drugs and driving dangerously as separate examples, with no implication whatsoever that the only kind of dangerous driving is that done whilst on substances.

  26. 1-800-BrownCow*

    Is it sad that I did not find this shocking at all? 20+ years working in a male dominant field, I’ve seen and heard it all and this really does not surprise me one bit. I very briefly worked for a medium sized company where the owners would take their “bro club” at work out to the strip bars after work, especially when celebrating that WE hit a milestone at work. They didn’t hide it either, everyone at the company knew. And the first trade show I ever attended in my field, during college, one of the company’s attending would play music and have scantily clad women dancing seductively at their booth until they had a nice crowd of men watching and then they’d start in on a sales pitch for their products. And folks, that was this century that I attended the trade show, so it’s not that long ago!!!! I’ve worked with plenty of people over the years who’ve talked about traveling for business and crossing the border into Mexico for “some fun”, much like the LW’s coworker.

    I know some managers and some companies would have a problem with what LW’s coworker, but I know many who either wouldn’t care or would consider this none of their business.

    1. BellyButton*

      I started my career in the 1990s in a male dominated industry known for being ick to women– sigh. During that time there was very much the attitude that if you wanted to be successful you had to hang with the bro club. I was often dragged to those strip clubs along with the inner circle, I was “one of the guys” but now, at 50, I know better. Those men loved the power they had over me, they got off on making me uncomfortable, and pay for lap dances for me. ICK ICK ICK.
      I know these things still happen, but I have hope that the next generations coming up and into leadership are better than our leaders were (are?).

      1. 1-800-BrownCow*

        I definitely can relate. Early in my career I would pride myself when I became “one of the guys”. I am closing in on 50 myself and feel very differently now about it all. If I could go back and teach 20 year old me something, I would change a lot about how I did things.

        But yes, I too am slowly seeing things change and improve and have hopes the younger generations are and will be better.

        1. BellyButton*

          Honestly, it was such the mentality back then even if I could tell 22 yr old me not to do it, I don’t know I would have gotten this far in my career. That’s what is even ICKIER about it. Back in the 80s/90s we had to do it or we wouldn’t have survived.

          I must remember to bring this up on Friday’s open thread– it would be interesting to hear from people who started their professional careers in the different decades.

          1. 1-800-BrownCow*

            Great point!! I remember in college being strongly advised to learn how to be “one of the guy’s” if I wanted to survive in my career.

      2. Texan In Exile*

        “During that time there was very much the attitude that if you wanted to be successful you had to hang with the bro club.”

        Which, in addition to being just gross, also made it harder for us women to advance. My male co-workers used to take clients to strip clubs. I was not invited – not that I wanted to be, but that bonding was how promotions happened.

    2. higheredadmin*

      Right there with you – not shocked. When I worked in finance we had a client company from a country where sex work was legal, and they would expense it – sex worker had its own account code and everything. And the bosses/managers going to the strip clubs, also a yes (although I always managed to get out of going).

  27. Alas, a Fed*

    I suspect the writer would have mentioned if he worked in the public sector because I feel it would make a difference here. I work for the US federal government, and it would be a big, big deal if a federal government employee hired a sex worker (or even brought a random stranger back to their hotel room) while on official travel. If that’s the case, yes, the coworkers should absolutely report it. I am truly not being dramatic when I say it could be a matter of national security. (Does he have his work computer in his room? Work documents? Notes he’s taken during meetings?) Even if it’s not at that level, it’s certainly a breach of policy, operational security, and shows poor judgment about what activities are appropriate on a work trip. (I don’t mean to comment on someone’s choices in their own personal sex life, but he’s literally on a work trip.) I’m surprised it would really be that different in the private sector?!? I’m clearly in the minority, but I think the coworkers should alert HR to the situation.

    1. Remotely*

      Apparently I typed my comment before reading yours, but I agree with you and cited US Government work as well. Definitely a no-go.

    2. Smithy*

      I’m in the international humanitarian context that follows the UN guidelines on this – and so the perspective is not worded around national security, but I’d come from a similar “this is a fireable offense” perspective. And similarly, if I didn’t report, that I could also put my own job at risk.

      That being said, I do think that in comparison to the government – the perspective and language are different. For us, this would be in violation of our code of ethics, humanitarian value and opening us up to considerable reputational harm. We don’t position this as a security risk, so if I were to go into another sector without this guidance – my view wouldn’t be from the place of security risk because that’s not how we’re trained/taught about the guidelines.

      Because of this difference, bringing a stranger back to my hotel room or a one-night stand on a work trip would not be viewed as problematic on a work trip provided overall discretion and professionalism were in play. So I do think it’s fair to caution that a) Government guidelines are a lot stricter but b) for some of us from this work culture – there can just be an impulse to report that comes with different baggage. Outside of our given sectors, I do think it’s fair to challenge those impulses, but they’re certainly very real guidelines at a number of employers.

    3. allathian*

      Yep, not in the US but similar rules apply here. You report infractions to CYA. I work for a government agency in Finland, and while I don’t have a top secret rating, I do have access to “merely” confidential information, including personal data covered by GDPR. Inviting non-employees to your hotel room without explicit permission from your manager (i.e. if you’re traveling on business to a tourist destination and spend the weekend there and bring your spouse/family) is a potentially fireable offense.

  28. Ash*

    It is completely ok to say that buyers of sex, more often than not, are gross. There is a reason why the overwhelming majority of sex workers are women and almost 100% of buyers of sex work are men (regardless of the gender of the person they are employing), and that reason is patriarchy. I also believe sex work should be safe and legal, but sex work as an industry is absolutely souped in misogyny. If it wasn’t, more women would buy sex! Many studies have shown that men who buy sex are, on average, more likely to be violent, coercive, and hold misogynistic views. I highly recommend reading “Revolting Prostitutes,” written by two women sex workers, to learn more about how criminalization of sex work hurts workers. What they DON’T do is defend buyers.

  29. Ann O'Nemity*

    If I were the LW I wouldn’t report the coworker, but moving forward I’d likely view him in a less favorable light and question his judgement.

    1. UKDancer*

      Definitely. I would think badly of him as lacking in ethics and respect for women. I would not think badly of the women involved, but I certainly would think badly of someone using a work trip to engage in this type of behaviour.

      I would probably not report him (unless my company required me to do so) but I wouldn’t think at all well of him either. I would also take extra care to ensure he was behaving appropriately around staff, especially female junior staff.

  30. Fluff*

    So this almost exact same scenario happened at a work conference in Canada for a US based organization and I was one of the upper levels present. He only met one sex worker. Being in Canada (where sex work is legal) made it this easy.
    1. Sex work is legal. Like getting a hair cut.
    2. He had attended all of his work duties and meetings. And did a great job.
    3. Yes, he was married.

    I taught my team to learn to be comfortable in discomfort. It was not our business because his work requirements were met. Yes, perhaps it is an ethical squirm about the personal relationships – which are also not our business unless he makes it our business (i.e. asking someone to lie to his partners). On separate note, sex work tends to be safer where it is a legal profession for the worker and the client.

    Now turn this around. Had it been in the US, I would have talked to him. NOT because of the sex work, but because he was participating in an illegal activity. Get arrested at home please, not at our conference.

    Now being in a country with different cultural norms does not mean the home country’s professional norms vanish. If he smoked a doobie in Canada that might be ok in Canada. Later, that employee’s positive drug test in the USA may be a major problem (weed can stay in the system for weeks).

    Going further though, let’s move this conference to the middle east. The cultural norms for treatment of women is quite different. Now a US professional may try treat their female co-workers in line with the middle east social norms simply because they could. You can bet that as soon as the plane landed in the USA, sex harassment PIP or maybe the ‘you are fired’ would be handed to him on cold shrimp platter.

  31. Jennifer C.*

    In addition to what Allison said, the LW probably doesn’t know many private details about her coworker’s marriage. He and his spouse may have an open marriage, or may have an agreement that short flings in foreign countries are okay. So there may not be any reason for the LW to worry about whether they have some kind of moral obligation to tell the coworker’s spouse.

    The coworker could also make a habit of bringing sex workers to his hotel room while out of town so that he can lecture them about Jesus and try to convince them to change professions. That’s much less likely than other scenarios, of course, but the point is that the LW really doesn’t know enough about the situation to get involved.

  32. It's more complicated than that*

    Do you actually *know* any sex workers? I do, and “sex work should be legal” is a simplistic response that doesn’t take into account the realities of the work itself and, more importantly, the never-absent patriarchal structure that makes hetero sex work inherently problematic. (I don’t know any sex workers who aren’t heterosexual; I can speak only to the challenges of those who are.)

    I worked in a drug-treatment clinic for three years, and a lot of the women there had recently worked as prostitutes in order to support their habit *and* because they had grown up in unsafe households were physical and sexual abuse were common. These women were not the lingerie-clad, pretty, nubile prostitutes typically depicted on TV and in film; they were rough-looking (bad skin, bad teeth, not slim and busty, coarse hair from bad at-home dye jobs) and not glam in the least. There is nothing sexy or glam about sex work.

    Making sex work legal would in no way guarantee the safety of these women. In no way would it dissolve the reality that hetero men are literally *renting* hetero women ( = renting *things*) so the men can do what they want to these female bodies reduced to being vessels for some of the most intimate acts a person can engage in — and that shores up the misogynistic view of woman-as-exploitable-THING. In no way would legalization eradicate the reality that a woman is letting some stranger who is likely to be unclean and smelly, or repulsive in other ways, do the most intimate things to her that one person can do to another.

    No little girl or teen girl says, “I want to be a prostitute when I grow up.” A complex web of factors, all rooted in misogyny, lead hetero women to hetero prostitution; rather than think about some impossible-to-achieve halcyon state of legalization, we would do far better to put our energy and money into giving women who work as prostitutes the various types of support they need (housing, education, child care, drug treatment) in order to learn other skills and do something else to support themselves.

    1. Dinwar*

      How is renting a body for sex more disgusting than, say, renting a body to remove hazardous waste? Or to clean excrement from sewer pipes? Or to hose guts off slabs in a slaughterhouse? I’ve done all of that–and the possibility of contracting diseases or other problems is just as high, if not higher. Let’s face it, for most of humanity the most marketable commodity is their body. We typically use the term “labor” to make it sound nicer, but the reality is employment is renting a person from themselves.

      The rest of your statement falls under the heading of Clinician Fallacy–no one goes to the doctor for a routine illness, so the only thing the doctors ever see is the worst cases. The way the human brain works, no matter how hard you try to avoid it, what you encounter becomes viewed as normal. So when all you see is the worst cases with regard to, say, sex work, that’s what you come to think of as normal. However, this doesn’t mean that IS normal. Add in a healthy dose of group filtering since it’s illegal anyway, and thus only those who are already inclined to violate social norms and laws will engage in it (in other words: cause and effect are notoriously hard to separate here).

      I’ve known a few prostitutes (I’ve traveled a LOT). And while I’ve not engaged in their services, I’ve bought a few a drink just to chat (I’ve also bought pilots, and colonels, and day laborers a drink, and they’ve reciprocated; it’s considered polite). From what they’ve told me, it’s just a job. Sure, none dreamed of it when they were little girls, but no one dreams of being a driller’s assistant or a medical transcriptionist either. Unfortunately for some of them, the law effectively precludes them from finding other employment, for a variety of reasons (and I spoke to both the prostitute and the cops in that case–the cops were sympathetic, but they have a job to do).

      1. anywhere but here*

        “How is renting a body for sex more disgusting than, say, renting a body to remove hazardous waste? Or to clean excrement from sewer pipes?”

        Regardless of one’s opinion on the legitimacy or legality of paying an individual for sex, it is the case that we as a society and as decent human beings treat being forced to have sex against one’s will as categorically different from being forced to engage in non-sexual but otherwise repugnant acts against one’s will. “I don’t really want to do this work, but it’s better than my other options [starving, being homeless, etc.]” is of course worse when the activity entails allowing someone intimate access to your body than it is when the activity entails literal shit.

        1. Dinwar*

          “…being forced to have sex against one’s will…”

          The ones I’ve spoken with at least aren’t. At least, no more so than I’m forced to have blood extracted from me against my will during my OSHA-mandated physical. They opted into the career, knowing full well what it entailed. I do not consider that to be against their will.

          If you disagree, than logically you must consider almost all labor to be against one’s will, since few of us would engage in it without the necessity to do so in order to survive. I’ve met people who do believe that, so will admit it’s a tenable position. But your argument that prostitution is uniquely against one’s will simply is not supported at all at this point.

          1. anywhere but here*

            I can’t tell if you’re being deliberately obtuse or simply cannot grasp distinctions even when they are spelled out for you. I did not say prostitution is uniquely against one’s will. I did say that, of things that a person can be forced to do against their will, unwanted sex (i.e. rape) is uniquely bad. Do you really think an unwanted blood draw is comparable to unwanted sex? If a woman were homeless and a friend offered her a place to stay, do you genuinely think there would be no difference between the friend expecting her to help with chores around the house as payment versus expecting her to have sex with him as payment??

            That being said, if you want a conversatiom about exactly how wanted and chosen the profession, consider educating yourself on what percentage of women and girls in prostitution want out, what percentage started before 18, and what percentage were abused as children. The “average” person (usually a woman or girl) is not freely opting into the career with full knowledge and acceptance of the risks.

            1. New Jack Karyn*

              Dinwar didn’t say ‘chores’; they talked about some pretty gross jobs specifically. And bringing friendship into it changes the dynamic, so that’s two ways in which your analogy breaks down.

              No one grows up wanting to be an itinerant farm worker, either.

    2. bamcheeks*

      I know lots of sex workers, and nearly all of them support the decriminalisation of sex work, as do the vast majority of sex-worker-led organisations.

      Also, “no little girl grows up wanting to be” is a shitty, shitty reason for denying people agency and labour rights. Nothing about criminalisation SUPPORTS access to housing, childcare, reproductive rights, healthcare, welfare or education: exactly the opposite, because where sex work is criminalised, sex workers have difficulty accessing those services or are outright blackmailed by them. Criminalisation, including the Nordic model, gives power to landlords and other bad actors who was to manipulate sex working women. And on the flip side, nothing about decriminalisation prevents people working towards better access to housing, childcare, reproductive rights,healthcare, welfare, education and all the other things that women and other marginalised people need.

      1. A*

        I disagree on the Nordic model. My understanding is that it decriminalises sex work and criminalises sex buyers and pimping at a traffic offence level. In practice, countries with the Nordic model have much less trafficking than countries with full decriminalisation according to the stats I’ve read. Sex workers are also more likely to report breaches of contract such as stealthing and other rape and theft, possibly because consequences fall on the buyer. If someone want to do sex work, they’re hardly going to make false accusations.

        1. bamcheeks*

          That’s the theory, and it sounds good to anyone who has encountered the principle but not listened to sex workers about what it means it practice. In practice, part of the stated goals of Nordic model campaigners who seek to push women out of sex work by making it more dangerous, and that’s why sex-workers campaign against it.

        2. allathian*

          Yes, this. I’m in Finland, and sex work is decriminalized for the sex worker. But pimping is illegal and buying sex is illegal (the latter punishable by a fine, the punishment for pimping depends on the size of the profit). Nevertheless, a large percentage of sex workers are trafficked immigrants whose passports have been confiscated by their “controllers.”

    3. Kesnit*

      Yes, some women are pushed to sex work to support a drug habit. I represented some when I was a criminal defense attorney.

      Then there was a friend of mine who got work as an expensive escort when she lost her job as a doctor. There was another friend who found that sex work paid better than anything else she was qualified to do.

      And a few years ago, a woman in California made news in the legal community when it was found out that, although she had a job with a large law firm, she was working as an exotic dancer on the side in order to pay her student loans.

    4. Delphine*

      Agreed. It’s a fantasy of “choice” feminism that prioritizes the experiences of privileged women, especially those in Western countries, who dabble in sex work at the expense of countless underprivileged women who are deeply, deeply harmed by the industry. I support decriminalization only as far as it goes towards protecting these women, who should not be further put in harm’s way. But the men who “consume” sex work? Throw away the key. There is no ethical consumption here.

    5. Wren123*

      Thank you for expressing this so clearly! I’m really shocked by the number of comments defending this guy. I have to wonder if many of the men here saying the guy did nothing wrong also pay for sex.

  33. Remotely*

    In my industry, I believe I would be required to report. If your company does any US Government contract work, your company is subject to regulations regarding human trafficking, and the company must have a policy. That policy would apply to all of the company’s employees, not just those who directly support US Government contracts. While, yes, we know that there are those engaged in that type of work who are independent agents and not trafficked, you can’t know, so…you have to assume they are. Now maybe the OP’s is in an industry that it doesn’t matter and their company doesn’t have a policy; in that case, I probably would NOT report, but it would certainly color my view of my coworker.

    1. Sneaky Squirrel*

      Here to say this too. In my industry, (guessing it’s a similar industry based on context), we would be required to report any situation where there is an exchange of money for sex or sexual favors. The policies we are required to abide by are very explicit about this.

    2. TPS Reporter*

      agree I thought the same thing. my industry has a lot of government and other funding that would require reporting of this type of behavior from someone who is paid on the contract.

    3. Dan*

      Yep this is absolutely reportable, even at the state govt level. Also, our company has a code of conduct in our handbook and this is a fireable offense.

  34. A Pocket Lawyer*

    So the caveat I would add to this is that if the company has contracts with the U.S. government, this could constitute human trafficking under the regs applicable to government suppliers (yes, even where prostitution is legal), and would thus potentially impact those federal contracts. If that’s the case, then I think a call to the company’s anonymous ethics hotline would not be unwarranted.

  35. B*

    I once had to share a hotel room for a conference (I got off the waiting list last minute and couldn’t find a good room of my own so somebody let me share theirs). They had a suite with two separate areas and my BABY and I took one (the conference had free childcare! Love it). On the last night my coworker went out to meet up with old friends in town and when I woke up to pee at 3 am, which required walking through her room to get to the bathroom, she was naked on top of a male visitor

    Do what you want in your private time but I wad not very happy about having a man I didn’t know bright into the hotel room where my baby and I were sleeping without anybody asking me. This was probably one of her friends so not a stranger to her but he’s a stranger to me!

    Also I knew she was married…

    Thankfully I have not had to state any hotel rooms for work trips since then

    1. Brain the Brian*

      This situation is different. She had sex with a coworker present. Immediate report there — with an immediate firing if HR is even mildly competent.

  36. The better part of valor*

    I’m a gay man in an open relationship and I’ve occasionally had (unpaid) guests over on work trips. Sometimes a hotel elevator requires a key card and I have to go down to get them, and I never want to run into someone who might clock what’s going on, even though I’m not actually doing anything wrong, and even though someone who would realize what’s happening probably wouldn’t care what’s happening, but because these are colleagues and it’s none of their damn business and it’s just kind of embarrassing. Like, they’re on the same apps I am…we block each other and politely don’t talk about it. Whatever the specifics are here (sex workers or not, open marriage or not) the lack of discretion and consideration for coworkers, who have a right to not know about your sex life, is the issue for me here. (I wonder if he didn’t realize he’d have to check them in and thought it would be a simpler/subtler process to just walk back to his room.)

    1. Dinwar*

      Would you feel the same way if you ran into a colleague on a date with someone when you went out to eat?

      It’s not like this person was rubbing it in anyone’s face–they didn’t go up to the colleague and say “Hey, I’ve got hookers coming up! Thought you should know!” They happened to see their colleague. You’re going to accidently encounter your colleagues in the wild, so to speak, and it’s unfair to demand that they constantly behave as if they’re in an office on the off chance that they might be seen.

      In my opinion the polite thing to do (assuming there aren’t legal consequences) is to pretend it didn’t happen. It’s none of your business anyway. Think of it like a fart–not something that’s necessarily pleasant, but the polite thing to do is just ignore it and move on.

      1. The better part of valor*

        You’re right, of course, and pretending it didn’t happen is exactly what I would and should do. It’s more that coworkers/professional acquaintances have a right not to know about my sex life, and also not wanting them (as so many in these comments have done) to make incorrect assumptions about what I’m up to, the rules of my relationship, etc. When f-ing around on a work trip, one should be discreet, is all I’m saying!

  37. TeapotNinja*

    This would be a firing offense at my employer, because we’re regulated, and this opens up all kinds of potential situations for company reputation, and intellectual property protection.

  38. Dinwar*

    My rule is, I’m not your parent, and we don’t let children onto our jobsites. Your private life is your concern, as long as you show up sober at 07:00. What (and who) you do in your private time is between you and whoever else is involved as long as they are consenting adults.

    Without knowing more about the situation it’s impossible to know if the person is cheating or not. Not every relationship is monogamous, and shaming someone for having a different lifestyle is simply wrong. If the person’s spouse asks me about it I’ll be honest, but I’m not going to assume I know what sort of relationship they have–I’ve known far too many open relationships, poly relationships, relationships where one party can’t engage in physical intimacy and allows the other (men and women) to seek it elsewhere, etc.

    Finally, would it be too much to ask to calm down with the man-bashing?

    1. Observer*

      Your private life is your concern, as long as you show up sober at 07:00. What (and who) you do in your private time is between you and whoever else is involved as long as they are consenting adults.

      Except that they were on a work trip, in work paid accommodating. That does change things.

      Not every relationship is monogamous

      Sure. But the odds of that being the being the case here are really low. And this is not a piece of information anyone needs, either. And if you really do want people to know this about your relationship, there are far less “in your face” ways to make it known.

      1. New Jack Karyn*

        I dunno, man. LW saw them at the front desk; he wasn’t shouting about it at the complimentary breakfast bar.

        For your last paragraph, this puts the person picking up a date in a Catch-22. They get spotted with a date, and now they either have to live with their coworker thinking they’re a cheater, or out themselves as being nonmonogamous. What should the person do then?

        Also, as to the work-paid accommodation thing: What if it wasn’t a short trip, but someone gone for a longer period of time? I once applied for a traveling sales job, where I’d be on the road for weeks at a time, in paid motel rooms. Would you say that I could never get a date?

  39. Stay Out of It*

    Mind your business LW.
    Report your coworker? You learned something about them the YOU don’t like but that’s it. What’s your desired outcome? They get fired? Punished? Embarrassed?

    I wouldn’t want to see it either. I’d wish I hadn’t been in the lobby but I’d keep it to myself. It’s not work related unless you want to monitor everyone’s activity in their hotel room.

  40. restingbutchface*

    Could be worse. We invited the sales team from another country office to join us for a conference. For some reason I was the name they remembered so I was the one that got the hysterical call via the switchboard at 3am. They had brought sex workers back to the hotel the company was paying for and woken up to find the women had sneaked out with their wallets, passports, company laptops and phones. Turns out, if you threaten not to pay for services rendered, people find ways to claim that money back.

    I was half asleep but that woke me up fast. Writing that security report was… challenging.

    1. allathian*

      Yikes on bikes! Did you ever learn if there were any consequences for those people, apart from the trouble of getting their stuff back? If so, they got what they deserved.

  41. cityMouse*

    I agree with Alison: sex work should be legal, and safe. As long as they were safe, it’s none of your business, as unpleasant as it appears to you….

  42. Dorothy Zpornak*

    But wait. Did these people go on a “work trip” that only involves these coworkers. Because typically when you travel for work it’s to meet with clients or industry partners or to attend a conference or event with other people from the industry. I suppose it could just be a private corporate retreat, but if it’s any of the above, that means the people you do business with could also have witnessed this behavior and that could impact their perception of your business or staff, which I think changes the equation completely and makes it necessary to bring up.

    1. Friendo*

      The LW is “hauling” her drunk coworkers through the lobby after they had too much to drink. Not sure if they have a leg to stand on about unbecoming behavior in the hotel.

  43. Pdweasel*

    Sure, Jesus hung out with prostitutes and he’s the messiah, but when *we* do it we’re “making the work trip awkward” /sarcasm

  44. Coyote River*

    File this one away as “not my problem”. Judge this man as harshly as you wish for disrespecting his marital vows, but ultimately your concern is his work, which was seemingly unaffected.

    1. allathian*

      Depends on the field. If they work for the public sector or for a company that has a contract with the public sector, paying someone for sexual services could be a fireable offense.

      That said, it’s not as if the LW has any conclusive proof, regardless of any assumptions that were made. Maybe the guy passed out in his hotel room before he had time to do anything, who knows?

  45. Raida*

    Personally I’d tell him in private “That was not professionally acceptable. Never do that again. It was a work trip. You were in a room paid for by the business. Tell me you understand. Right. I am not bringing this up to Boss, so please appreciate that I’m talking to you in private, and nobody else.
    Oh, but if your Wife ever asks me, I’ll fckn tell her the truth. You better not have brought home any transmittable, mate.”

    1. Wrench Turner*

      Personally, I wouldn’t do that. Personal affairs are not my business. However, if it somehow came up in conversation while they were around, that’s another story. If asked, I saw what I saw.

  46. PackRat*

    In my state we had a famous Work Comp claim of a traveling employee who was injured one evening after getting drunk and hiring a prostitute. It was found to be compensable under “ordinary comfort” doctrine.

  47. Wrench Turner*

    What or who my coworkers do off hours is not my business so long as it doesn’t impact me in any way. Unrelated to any ethical questions about sex work or plausibly open relationships, I just couldn’t trust strangers to not take my wallet or whatever when I went to the bathroom. If my coworker did that and suffered negative consequences, after I stopped laughing, I’d be grumpy about any inconvenience they caused me. Beyond that, it’s definitely THEIR problem and not MY business. At the end of the work trip day I go and hide by myself with expense account takeout, wine, Food Network and it is glorious. That’s all I can be bothered to care about.

  48. Tired&RetiredSkripper*

    As a (now) retired escort in her late 20’s…

    I just wanted to say that I really appreciate Alison’s additional note on this post.

    In my own perspective, the act of sex work is not gross. Although it is often exploitive – especially in countries like Mexico.

    However, the inability to separate work and play in such a public manner while representing a company IS gross.

    His personal life is none of my business. But as a coworker, the way he is representing himself and his company is foul.

  49. OneException*

    One exception to Alison’s advice, if your company handles classified information, or said employee handles significant corporate secrets, then the co-worker hiring sex workers should be reported. This is because the act creates an opportunity for blackmail especially as the coworker is married.

  50. Devil's Advocate*

    Lots of folks apparently think they know what was going to happen in his hotel room… maybe the person has a foot fetish and was rubbing on their toes. Likely not, but who knows? Why make assumptions?

  51. Database Developer Dude*

    Just wondering something about this discussion…..

    When there’s been pushback on the idea that this guy is cheating, that maybe he’s in an open marriage, the comment has been made more than once that bringing strangers back to his hotel room –AT 4 AM– is throwing his sex life in peoples’ faces.

    Why is a colleague who wears a wedding ring and has a picture of his or her spouse on the desk not doing the same thing? I’m male. If you work with me, and see me with a wedding ring on my left hand, and a picture of a woman on my desk, it would be a natural assumption that this is my spouse, and I’m having sex with her on a semi-regular basis. Why is that not forcing colleagues to know something about my sex life?

    Assumptions abound, and who is really to say what assumptions are correct without verifying facts?

    1. Jennifer Strange*

      Assuming the co-worker was bringing two unknown (to him) women up to his room for sex (regardless of whether money was exchanged, that is an act of sex and sex alone. There is nothing else meant to be to their encounter but sex. A romantic relationship (which may or may not include sex) is more than sex alone.

        1. New Jack Karyn*

          I will bet my last dollar that the coworker brought the two women back to his hotel room for sex. Yeah, it’s an assumption, but we all make assumptions many times a day. This is a reasonable one.

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