"Friends or Lovers," deals with a sensitive subject; sexual harassment in the workplace and the appropriate steps to take after a complaint is filed.
Penny Layton is Head of Personnel at Innovation Center, Ltd. in England. She's fairly new at her job. She has a complaint against an employee named Mike who has been sales rep of the year for a number of years.
Penny and the Director of Business Development decide to transfer Mike since this was the first complaint against him but would be sufficient to send a message that inappropriate sexual behavior is not tolerated.
After Mike's transfer a number of his old unit request to be transferred with him and in a later meeting, Penny explains to Mike that the complaint didn't come from the employee named Elona but with another member of his team. Mike explains that this person didn't understand the situation and that Elona had a problem that he was attempting to help her with and had come to him in confidence. Therefore he wouldn't tell Penny anything more.
The story is complicated but Penny is a hard working woman who is young and eventually feels that Mike was wronged and begins to have feelings for him herself.
In an intelligent fashion, the reader witnesses Penny's thoughts as she meets a man named John. He is an academic and studies human relationships.
The situation is complicated and the theme seems to be that one shouldn't act until they have all the facts. Also presented is the concept that it isn't always the man who is the aggressor and should be blamed.
I found the story informative and feel that it wouldn't be bad reading for the personnel of larger companies so they can see what happens if the corporate employee takes the wrong steps and what can result from not having all the facts.
Congradulations to the giveaway winners:
Laurie and Victoria. Notifications have been sent to the winners.