Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Workplace Harassment?

Ugh. I have a little work drama…

I am employeed at a dress shoppe where I style women for events and weddings. Next door to us there is a little vegetarian café which is owned by my boss’s son. Since I started working at the dress shop the cafe owner “R” has made it clear he finds me attractive. On several occasions I’ve had people come up to me and tell me that R thinks I am cute. I didn’t think much of it because to me it was just gossip. He has been flirty with me but I figured that was sort of his personality and it didn’t mean much.

Lately though it has become uncomfortable. I’ve been told he has a crush on me and that he likes it when I go to the mail box (which is right outside his shop). Yesterday he came into the dress store to fix something for his mother and I definitely felt he was hitting on me. He ended up calling the store several times later that day just to talk to me which I felt was awkward. He pointed out a slinky black lace cocktail dress we had on display and told me he thought I should buy that one, that I would look really good in it. Basically it is to the point that I feel a little uncomfortable. I don’t think he would actually physically do anything to me but I most certainly feel I’ve been verbally harassed. I am an intelligent women and I don’t appreciate being reduced to eye candy at my place of work. I know the dynamics of my boss’s relationships with her son and I don’t think it would be of interest to me to tell her what happened. I think that would make my work environment even more awkward and possibly become my undoing. R is extremely close to his mother, his is a momma’s boy. So I feel my hands are tied. I have a few witty remarks prepared incase he tries something again. If this continues I will have to take it further but I don’t think I’ll have much to go on legally since I technically don’t work with him, he just works next door to me.

Any support, encouragement, or advice would be much appreciated. I did tell my husband and let’s just say he is pretty angry. I had to stop him from going over to the café and saying/doing God knows what.


Ms Kayso said...

first of all i apologize for not being so active on your blog. I guess since you made it private, your posts don't update on my dashboard. Now I know to personally come by.

Now on to your problem -

That is really tough but you are really going to have to take the first step in saying something to the guy. You should really bring up that you don't feel comfortable with him hitting on you, especially at work. You are a happily married woman and you would appreciate if he could respect that and keep it on professional level.

Something like that shouldn't be threatening to the guy. It shouldn't get you in trouble with work, but you never know. I mean, this is the first time something is being said so you can choose your words nicely. Just because this could affect your work, be nice the first time, but state your point. There is no need to beat around the bush because he still may not get it. If you choose clear vocabulary, he has no excuse to keep continue his actions.

Definitely start out by saying something to him and go from there.

Good luck!!! Let us know what happenes!

debwagner said...

This does sound like workplace harassment based on the definition I was taught. I agree with what was said by Ms Kayso, state yourself in clear terms and see if that helps. If the harassment continues.......well that is a topic we'll address only if need be because it is an entire post in and of itself. Feel free to contact me with any questions concerning your rights!

Sey said...

I agree with them too! you can start by saying something and then tell him you are uncomfortable with what he is doing. Do it nicely so that he won't have anything against you in return.

From there, let's see what would happen. Be careful

Jennifer said...

Oh Rachel, I am so sorry this is going on. He sounds like a creep! I don't have any experience so I can't give any good advice. I would tell him to knock it off. I would also document everything that happens. Then at least you remember the exact incidents if you have to go further with this.

I'll be praying it doesn't go further. Big hugs to you my friend!

janjan said...

I'm not really good at giving advices on situations like this. for me, the best thing to do is tell him upfront to stop flirting on you. maybe he needs a quick eye opener that you are married and you don't entertain stuff like that. Deliberately avoiding him might also help. and if he continues to bother you, maybe you can tell your boss about it. but i'm not sure though if your boss will take it as OK. i mean, it's her son and she will always have her sympathy over him.

but we're talking about harassment here. you're not comfortable with it so you gotta do what you think is right for you.

btw, my dashboard doesn't update on your new post. good thing i read it on twitter that you posted something on your blog so i have to check it myself. that's the reason why i haven't been able to read your posts lately. i missed a lot. :)

Meg O. said...

Thanks for the invite (First of all)! I think the whole having comments prepared for this guy is a good idea, especially things like "You might have to ask my husband," "Or my husband might have to disagree with you on that." And just talk a lot about your husband. He'll get the picture.... eventually.

~Rachel~ said...

Ladies, you advice is fabulous! Thank you!

@Ms Kayso- I am for sure going to be as direct with him as possible.

@Meg O- I love love LOVE the "you might have to ask my husband" idea...I think I will use that! :-)