Dealing with inappropriate advances from your boss
Did that really just happen?! This is a question that you may ask yourself the moment your boss takes that small or large leap over that boundary line that would seem to have large flashing letters and a loudspeaker stating...."Inappropriate Advance Line!" "Sexual Harrassment Line!" "DO NOT CROSS THIS LINE!"
What job out there doesn't requirement sexual harrassment training anymore to ensure that everyone is exceedingly clear on this issue? As far as our boss is concerned, this is someone from whom we may take orders and maybe even respect due to their work skills or even their ability to reach the level they are at in the company. This would be the last person we expect to go against well known sexual harrassment, inappropriate behavior, company's rules.
But it happens and we often find ourselves surprised and bewildered. You know that they know better, but knowledge and behaviors are two different matters. So how do you handle it?
If it ever gets to the point at which you find yourself taking this matter to the Human Resource department, one of the first questions they will ask is whether or not you informed your employer that his or her advances were unwelcome. Therefore, if you feel safe in doing so, this would be the first step. The moment that first uncomfortable instance occurs is the time to speak up. "Stand back." "Don't touch me." "I am uncomfortable with your behavior." These are all appropriate responses.
Sometimes, however, you may be surprised by an advance . To be certain, how to dp you respond in that particular moment? At other times you may be afraid for your job because of the ability to pay your rent, etc. If the latter is not the case, return to your boss and have a frank discussion with him or her. If they do not seem to get your point, or if they respond in additional inappropriate ways, at that point, begin to fear for your job due to their response or body language. This is definitely the time to go directly to the human resource department.
If you fear for your job, go directly to the human resource representative. Do not stop to talk the matter out with your boss. Contact the appropriate personnel immediately, either by telephone, email, or in person. Discuss the matter with them. If you feel it is the right thing to do during or after that discussion, file a formal complaint; do not hesitate to do so.
You are legally protected against retaliation. There is no guarantee how the work environment may feel, but either way, now that they have crossed the line, you are going to feel uncomfortable. If they are made to feel uncomfortable too at this point, you cannot blame yourself. You did what was right and possibly prevented this from happening to anyone else in the future.
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