I need to let an employee go.  I also need to get me a piece-a that action.  Do I ask them out before or after terminating their employment? 

- Skinny McLying

I would like to take a moment here at the ole advice desk and commend this question.  What makes this such a good question?  1)  Its brevity - only 29 words (and that's counting piece-a as two words)  2)  It is a very accessible problem as many bosses have found themselves in similar situations.  I know at my
old website, my boss, Iffy Tittleton, found herself unable to deny the attraction to this here Fats, and it often resulted in some three-color copies which became quite the water-cooler conversation.  I assure you, my decision to resign from that website had NOTHING to do with the fact that Iffy is a pretty lousy lay.  3)  It is grammatically correct.  4)  It didn't mention my parole.

But with lawsuits, ethical battles, and of course general awkwardness about dating a co-worker, there is plenty to consider before ending up training your employee in the Business of Smooth Lovin'.  It's a particularly sticky wicket when you are the one calling the shots.  I will first answer this as if you were my co-worker, asking me this question about another in our office.  My suggestion would be simple: whatever your decision, I want in. 

I realize I'm not being helpful just yet, at least not for your dire situation.  The first thing you need to do is assess how much you want a piece-a.  Use a mathematical formula.  First, assign a number (from 1-10) on how much want them: 1 being about as much as you'd want to eat an old hash brown if you weren't particularly hungry, and 10 being how much you'd want to eat that same hash brown off of a naked Ella Macphearson (in her heyday).  This value will be assigned by W.  The second number you need to worry about is if they match your sexual preference, or S.  Give a 0 value for 'no', a 1 value for 'yes', a 2 value for 'unsure', and a 5 value for 'yes, all of them'.  The third variable you need to determine is the the chance this person will file legal action, or L.  Assign from 1-10, 1 being the likelihood of the Cubs winning a World Series, and 10 being the likelihood that you'll sit down at least once before you die.  Then, get a 20-sided dice, and roll three times.  That's to see if you kill the orc that's in your pantry.  Finally, assign a value to C, or the potential consequence.  Will this cause a rift in your friendship?  Will this prevent you from ever gettin a chance to do it again, hopefully this time in a hearse or at a production of Troilus & Cressida?  Could you contract the crabs?  The more potentially damaging the possible consequence, the higher the number you should assign for C.  So a 1 might be that you know for sure you will be able to get a quickie out of your coworker no matter if they're your employee, if you fired them directly, or if you are currently extorting money from them with their knowledge.  10 would be if you think they will stab you in the face during the sex act.  Now here is the formula:

([W^2 x 10S] / L) - C^3 = X  

If X is geater than zero, dump the employee pronto, and ask them out, possibly in the same breath.  If X is less than zero, you should be concerned with their reaction.  Therefore, get as much doin in as possible before axing the employee. 

Of course, math isn't for everyone.  I know it isn't my forte (except for the brilliant theory I've created above, as well as the less publicized FATS' THEORY OF MASHED POTATOES).  Another way to determine this answer is the "string bet" theory.  In poker, if you were to call someone's bet, and then gauge a response, you might be able to get a little information out of them to see if you should raise.  This is *technically* illegal in major tournaments, but we can learn alot from illegal things.  Using this technique, ask the cohort out on a date.  Based on the success of that particular date, you can decide whether or not to let them go before the date ends, or to grant them another date extension.  If they seem cold and want to talk about business on your date, fire them, and emphatically.  Leave no doubt in their mind.  (Perhaps get the staff of the restaurant to come out with a cupcake and sing, in unison, "Happy You're Not Employed With Me Anymore Day" to them.)  But if your colleague offers you to go back to their place with a good friend of theirs, that's good for two more dates, three if your coworker picked up the tab.  The only caveat here is if each date is successful, then you won't have gotten around to firing this person, who is clearly not meeting your business standards.  The key is to sneak in "By the way?  You're fired." in the pre-nup and have them sign it.  You're good to go.

Looks like Fats has gotten his Christmas Wishes late, and the people are speaking, quite confusedly at that.  Don't let that stop you!  There is no such thing as a stupid question.  Except for the one sent in by Amanda Pundit of Grand Rapids MI.  Seriously, that was frickin' retarded.

Until next time, this is Fats saying, "If it ain't broke, come to Fats for help."

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