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Sexual harassment at work?

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Independent Gal

Ideal_Rock
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Has anyone ever had their boss be REALLY inappropriate or flirtatious with them? If so, what did you do?
 

Aloros

Brilliant_Rock
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Does your boss have a boss? If so, you might want to bring it up with him/her.
 

Kismet

Ideal_Rock
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Tell him that whatever it is he''s saying and/or doing is making you uncomfortable and to stop doing it. If he continues or laughs at your concerns then go to HR. A lot of companies these days have sexual harassment policies in place. Check and see if yours does and what it entails.
 

eks6426

Ideal_Rock
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I have had issues with this. There was a manager from another department who liked to walk by "too close" with his hands in such a position as to touch me on the chest and say inappropriate things to me. I did nothing other than try to avoid him because I have seen other people turn sexual harrassement into HR only to be "blacklisted" by management for promotions, juicy projects etc.. I know what the LAW says but the reality is different at least at my mostly male run company. Sad but true.
 

poptart

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My manager at the restaurant where I work kissed me on the cheek once. It may not be a big deal to some, but it made my stomach turn. He''s also one of those people who stands too close and rests his hand in the small of your back (shudder). He does this to ALL the female workers, but it really bothers me as I don''t like to be touched. Anyway, I told him never to touch me again and if he stands too close I move. There would be no point in telling anyone because he''s pretty much the boss, so I just don''t let him come near me now. Good luck at work!

*M*
 

dmbfan

Shiny_Rock
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I wish, she is hot. But I''m a guy and have less of that to deal with.

Indy- it depends on what relationship you have with him and if you would feel confortable speaking with him. He may not even know that he is doing it and if you gave the opportunity to someone to correct the actions with out getting him in trouble, it may work out better for both of you. If you can''t trust him, definately go to HR and cover yourself so he doesn''t turn it on you. Sorry to hear indy, hope this gets resolved for you.
 

starryeyed

Ideal_Rock
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Date: 2/7/2007 4:04:50 PM
Author:Independent Gal
Has anyone ever had their boss be REALLY inappropriate or flirtatious with them? If so, what did you do?
Yes, I''ve been in situations where the behavior of a boss and coworkers has been what many women would consider inappropriate.

Do not go around or above this person until you speak with him directly! This is important for several reasons. First and foremost, it''s important for you to stand up for yourself. YOU have to be the one to establish your own boundaries and limits of acceptibility. This is important for your own personal development.

Second, if you go around the person you risk getting a "reputation". The only way I would take it to the next level would be if the guy didn''t respect your requests and still treated you inappropriately after, say, 2-3 requests to stop. Document everything if this starts to happen.

Please be aware though that some men behave inappropriately and don''t realize it. Some women feel harrassed if they receive compliments on their appearance. Some women don''t like to be touched at all. Many times, male co-workers may not even be aware of this. That''s why it''s important for you to say something in a nice way or perhaps even make a joke out of it. Don''t create tension or controversy, unless the person is totally out-of-hand and "nice" doesn''t work.
 

lumpkin

Ideal_Rock
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May 24, 2005
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Date: 2/7/2007 5:34:35 PM
Author: starryeyed

Yes, I''ve been in situations where the behavior of a boss and coworkers has been what many women would consider inappropriate.

Do not go around or above this person until you speak with him directly! This is important for several reasons. First and foremost, it''s important for you to stand up for yourself. YOU have to be the one to establish your own boundaries and limits of acceptibility. This is important for your own personal development.

Second, if you go around the person you risk getting a ''reputation''. The only way I would take it to the next level would be if the guy didn''t respect your requests and still treated you inappropriately after, say, 2-3 requests to stop. Document everything if this starts to happen.

Please be aware though that some men behave inappropriately and don''t realize it. Some women feel harrassed if they receive compliments on their appearance. Some women don''t like to be touched at all. Many times, male co-workers may not even be aware of this. That''s why it''s important for you to say something in a nice way or perhaps even make a joke out of it. Don''t create tension or controversy, unless the person is totally out-of-hand and ''nice'' doesn''t work.
ITA. Another reason to tell him first is that by doing so you have given him the opportunity to correct the problem. Think of it as an employee: you''re not following a procedure properly and you get written up and it''s in your record, even though no one told you were doing it wrong and you didn''t have a chance to correct your procedure.

It also depends on the severity of the offense. If he comes out and says you have to perform a sex act in order to keep your job or get promoted, I would go STRAIGHT to HR. If it''s a matter of making inappropriate comments, I really think you need to tell him to knock it off before you go to HR.
 

Mara

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
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31,003
I agree with starry eyed as well. Some people really do not realize how they come off or how they are behaving. There was a guy at an old company who was really flirty with girls and would make inappropriate comments and until someone said something to him about it...he had NO IDEA how he was coming off. He was just young and ignorant. And he didn''t take offense to if someone said ''hey knock it off''. But obviously you''d hope a manager would know what NOT to do though I have really learned to not be surprised when people seem to not realize how to behave in a professional situation. In any case, good luck.
 

ImpatientOne

Brilliant_Rock
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Date: 2/7/2007 4:24:06 PM
Author: IslandDreams
I have had issues with this. There was a manager from another department who liked to walk by 'too close' with his hands in such a position as to touch me on the chest and say inappropriate things to me. I did nothing other than try to avoid him because I have seen other people turn sexual harrassement into HR only to be 'blacklisted' by management for promotions, juicy projects etc.. I know what the LAW says but the reality is different at least at my mostly male run company. Sad but true.
Unfortunately I have found this to be the case as well. There is a manager (not mine) who makes it a point to say inappropriate things to me nearly every day. Fortunately I have the ability to work from home 2-3 days per week, so it's not constant.

My manager is out of state, but I told her after a while of this behavior. She reported it to her manager, who in turn contacted HR. They did it without bringing my name into it, and I guess I was not the only one to complain about this guy. Anyway, they made him take a sexual harassment class, but it didn't do a bit of good. To this day he continues with his inappropropriate comments. I mean, some of the things he has said to me are down right disgusting. One time he did come in my office and got behind me and started massaging my shoulders - I was speechless, so shocked I didn't know what to say. Only reason he stopped is he heard soneone coming down the hall. He then made a comment about how he does feet too, but if he tried that he'd probably get turned into HR for sexual harassment and he'd been there before!


I work for a HUGE corporation - I would think they wouldn't put up with this. I hesitate to say anything else for fear of retaliation
 

ephemery1

Brilliant_Rock
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Mar 20, 2006
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1,724
I''ve been lucky not to have had to deal with this, but a good friend of mine did.... she was also hesitant about getting him in trouble, especially since it was in academia and they were working together on several projects that would ultimately be published... she REALLY didn''t want to end up jeopardizing her own career!

She ended up just chronicling EVERY questionable thing he said or did, in a notebook... each incident dated and with any witness''s names as well. It made her feel better to be doing something, even if she hadn''t decided to report it immediately. And if/when she did decide to report it, it seemed like her testimony would carry more weight with all the documentation...

Sorry you''re dealing with this!!
 

larussel03

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 22, 2005
Messages
1,747
Ugh, I am sorry if you are dealing with this. I had a co-worker (in a different department) at my previous job who would blatantly make sexual comments towards me and it was just disgusting, even though he had a girlfriend (who acutally didn''t care b/c they had an "open" relationship). I was leaving that job a few months after it started, so I pretty much just avoided him and made it clear that I did not welcome his presence around me. By the time I''d left everyone I was close to knew he was a sketchball. I could have said something to HR but I didn''t feel like making a big stink when I was going to need a good reccomendation in a few months...if I were still working there I woudl have said something, it just wasn''t worth the drama at that point in time.
 

lumpkin

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 24, 2005
Messages
2,491
Men who make inappropriate comments and knowingly harass their female coworkers are getting SOMEthing out of it. A good question might be how to take the fun out of it for him.

You could try telling him he has food in his teeth the next time he leers at you or suggest a breath mint the next time he gets too close. You have to act like you are actually a little concerned for him. Every time he does it have a comment about his foot odor problem, his too strong after shave, a food stain on his shirt, something you can tell him about in that sort of "I'm telling you before anyone else notices" kind of tone. Something relevant to him that you would probably only notice because he's doing or saying something too personal. He might tend to avoid you after you do this a few times. That kind of thing would shut a lot of men down. Hopefully it could work with this guy. Just be sure nothing you tell him could come back to haunt you (keep his reputed lack of stamina or inadequate size out of it
).
 

Independent Gal

Ideal_Rock
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Nov 12, 2006
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Thanks for the all the suggestions ladies (and DMBfan)! I''ve known this guy, P, for several years since we have also worked together at another organization in another city. He says he thinks we''re ''friends'' and has confided really personal things to me. I don''t think we are friends at all and would never confide anything in him and felt totally weird having to listen to him. But I think he thinks that lets him get away with being flirty and sometimes touching me (on the THIGH?!) in a ''friendly'' way. Yesterday he came into my office to talk over a project and closed the door, and was trying to hug me , sitting WAY too close, being flirtatious... I kept trying to move away. It was so awkward!

It made me feel sick. And even more sick because M, my sweety, also works for this organization. So, M dropped by to say ''hi'' and I was all jittery from this interaction with P, but couldn''t tell M why. I''m pretty sure M would be... upset. An understatement. Wouldn''t that make for a fun workplace!

What makes it super super super gross is that P is engaged and getting married in TWO MONTHS! I feel so badly for his FI. How horrible to be marrying a man who is behaving like that. Maybe he''s acting out his pre-wedding jitters or something?

I think what I''ll do is the next time he makes me feel icky, I''ll say something immediately. If I say something now, he might just say ''It''s all in your head!'' Particularly because a colleague recently brought up a similarly awkward interaction he''d had with a client and P told me he thought this person was being ''hysterical''.

You guys might be right that he doesn''t really realize how disgusting and inappropriate his behaviour is. I''ll definitely talk to him before going over his head. Weirdly, I worry about hurting his feelings. But that''s crazy, right?
I shouldn''t let him make me uncomfortable.

Sorry for the rant. Just so yucky!
 

dmbfan

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 1, 2005
Messages
188

Indy,


you might be better off not waiting for the next awkward situation, and he probably doesn''t think he is doing anything wrong. If he thinks you are a friend of his, I would tell him whenever you get an opportunity. You don''t have to be confrontational and could just put it this way: "P" I know you think you are being friendly, but your behavior towards me really bothers me, specially when you place your hand on my thigh. I really don''t appreciate that and I was hoping I could just bring this up directly to you without making this a big deal or involving anyone"


Does he know about "M"? how is he by the way?


If he really thinks of you as a "friend", use that towards him with enough threat that he may think you could tell your boss/HR.

 

Independent Gal

Ideal_Rock
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Hey DMB, I''m curious... from a guy''s perspective... is it possible that a guy would act like that and NOT mean it sexually? I mean, putting his hand on my thigh? Trying to hug me in my office? He''s a lot older than me and has always been in a position of authority over me, so it''s not like we''re ''chums''. Although I''ve never had a male ''chum'' put his hand on my thigh!

But now I''m thinking ''maybe I AM hysterical'' ?

Yes, he knows about M, but M works in another area and they don''t actually KNOW each other.

And M is great, thanks for asking! Things are going very well between us. I''ll post an update on LIW sometime soon.

How are things with YOU? I think it''s time YOU posted an update!
 

dmbfan

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 1, 2005
Messages
188
Date: 2/8/2007 12:53:56 PM
Author: Independent Gal
Hey DMB, I''m curious... from a guy''s perspective... is it possible that a guy would act like that and NOT mean it sexually? I mean, putting his hand on my thigh? Trying to hug me in my office? He''s a lot older than me and has always been in a position of authority over me, so it''s not like we''re ''chums''. Although I''ve never had a male ''chum'' put his hand on my thigh!

But now I''m thinking ''maybe I AM hysterical'' ?

Yes, he knows about M, but M works in another area and they don''t actually KNOW each other.

And M is great, thanks for asking! Things are going very well between us. I''ll post an update on LIW sometime soon.

How are things with YOU? I think it''s time YOU posted an update!

I wish I could answer that question, but I am amazed at some of the things some guys say and do and that for some of them it actually works on women. I am a very big flirt and I know exactly when I am doing it. I also know when I am getting close to crossing the line and promptly stop. If there is anyone that I flirt with, are my peers. I am also very respectful and they know it and trust me. Putting your hands on someone''s lap is ok.....if you are at a bar. I cant imagine that being appropriate at work, so no, you are not hysterical. Hugging is even cutting it close. There are women at work that I would hug if we were outside of the work environment, but never while at work. The fact that he is in a position of authority and he is older(which really doesn''t matter) he may not know he is crossing the line, but would assume that he know what he is doing (if that makes any sense). I would certainly talk to him and I think based on what you have said about him, you can. You have every right to go to HR if he chooses to not take advantage of the fact that you approached him and gave him the opportunity to change his behavior.

Glad M is working out

. definitely let us know. I don''t really have any updates, I will let you guys know as soon as things change, But I''m doing well so far.

 

phoenixgirl

Ideal_Rock
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3,369
If it's a case of being a dufus and not being malicious, then I agree that you take away the fun. So either he imagines that you like his behavior, and that turns him off/puffs him up, or he realizes that he is crossing the line of going too far and finds that exciting. Either way, I would respond very formally and very unemotionally. Don't laugh or look offended when he makes jokes; just look completely blank, like you don't get what he's saying at all. I think he'll move on quickly to someone who gives him a better reaction. If he touches you, remove his hand and say in a flat tone, "You may not touch me." If he does it again, say, "I asked you not to touch me. I will have to report you now." Do all of this with the emotions and tone of a robot. Don't get into a discussion about it -- you don't have to explain why it's wrong or justify your discomfort. That might just continue the excitement for him anyway. If he keeps bringing it up, say, "Feel free to schedule a meeting with your supervisor/so and so from HR and me to discuss this issue."

This is how I've learned to deal with teenagers who go out of their way to get your attention. For many people, any attention is a reward, so you give neither positive nor negative attention. When you are unemotional yet don't take the bait, the other person quickly tires and moves on.
 

monarch64

Super_Ideal_Rock
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17,757
There is a REASON that in America we use the handshake for business/casual acquaintance purposes. It''s called "appropriate." We don''t go around touching each other on the thigh, giving hugs when we feel "close" to someone, etc. This guy is out of line, and I think he knows it. You feel icky, it''s because he''s crossing a line with you. I understand you not wanting to be made to feel like you''re hysterical or crazy or whatever, but you deserve to work in an environment where you''re not being made to feel uncomfortable. It''s your right as a human being. This guy needs to be told by you, or someone else, if you''re not able to do it, that his actions are not appropriate! Doesn''t your organization have a sexual harassment policy? If so, familiarize yourself with it. And then make sure he''s familiar with it as well. I''m not a guy, but my DH has told me so many times, "guys know what they are doing, don''t trust them." A person who has only good intentions will most likely go out of their way NOT to make you feel uncomfortable...
 

Independent Gal

Ideal_Rock
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Just an update: I talked to a couple of people who warned me against ''messing'' with this guy since he''s pretty powerful in our organization. But then I got a very inappropriate e-mail which he signed ''XXX'', so I thought ''now it''s in writing, so...''

I replied telling this person to keep his interactions wtih me professional, given that our relationship is strictly professional. His response was, and I quote: ''Yes, Sir!''

Rude, but I think that takes care of that. If he troubles me again, I now have a paper trail.

I feel good that I stood up for myself, even though it makes me nervous and uncomfortable!
 

dmbfan

Shiny_Rock
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Good for you Indy. Glad you stood up to him and thats perfect that he did this via email. make sure you save that


I finally update my situation and it didn''t end very good....

 
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