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Harrassment in the workplace?

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Old 04-17-2012, 10:18 AM   #1
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Default Harrassment in the workplace?

Has anyone ever been in the position where you are the recipient of unwanted comments or invasion of personal space at work? What did you/would you do?

I'm torn because it has happened to me and I didn't/haven't/dont really want to do anything about it. I know, thats the WORST possible choice but it's a difficult place to be.

A married co-worker of mine finds it necessary to compliment me, come up behind me and hug me, tell me I'm looking very good in a tone that's just UGH.

In my mind (and I realize this is entirely backwards) it's hard for a couple reasons:
  • I'd hate to ruin his (or anyones) career
  • I feel like he is harmless

I have "somewhat" inappropriate emails/IMs from him saying things like "if I werent married, we'd be together" and "you look good today"....and these usually come as a reply to me when I send out a work related email to a group of people, he replies only to me with his comments.

I don't deal with him on a routine basis, so I can easily avoid him. Another co-worker of mine who I trust and am friends with outside of work knows about the situation and said I should go to HR. I guess I'm just confused and playing it down to be less than it is?
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Old 04-17-2012, 10:20 AM   #2
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those are not "somewhat" inappropriate - those are WAY OUT OF FREAKING LINE!

if it were your husband writing them to a co-worker, would you tell him "harry, don't be somewhat inappropriate"?

GO TO HR.

if his career is ruined, you didn't do it - HE did. if you're driving a car and he shoots out into the road in front of you, is it your fault he's roadkill?

trust me on this: if you don't bring this to official attention now, it's going to get ugly. guys like that do not take rejection lightly and when it finally sinks in that you're not interested and never will be, he will probably ruin YOUR career.

Last edited by threenorns : 04-17-2012 at 10:21 AM.
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Old 04-17-2012, 10:26 AM   #3
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those are not "somewhat" inappropriate - those are WAY OUT OF FREAKING LINE!

if it were your husband writing them to a co-worker, would you tell him "harry, don't be somewhat inappropriate"?

GO TO HR.

if his career is ruined, you didn't do it - HE did. if you're driving a car and he shoots out into the road in front of you, is it your fault he's roadkill?

trust me on this: if you don't bring this to official attention now, it's going to get ugly. guys like that do not take rejection lightly and when it finally sinks in that you're not interested and never will be, he will probably ruin YOUR career.
You're right. I would probably, no I WOULD strangle my husband and then kick him out.
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Old 04-17-2012, 10:29 AM   #4
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He kind of sounds like a weirdo. :P

I agree with the others, go to HR. You don't want this to escalate!
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Old 04-17-2012, 10:32 AM   #5
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Go to HR, do not be shy about it. This is sexual harassment. If he gets in trouble, and he should, it is his fault, not yours. Don't tell him what you are going to do, but do it.
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Old 04-17-2012, 10:33 AM   #6
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Tell him it's creeping you out and you're going to have to go to HR if he keeps it up. That'll give him a chance to apologize and stop doing it and you can avoid getting the "officials" involved (you sound hesitant to take it to the next level, which I can understand).

Or you could just go to HR and let them deal with it. He shouldn't be touching you and saying these things to you, married or single or whatever!
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Old 04-17-2012, 10:43 AM   #7
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What I would do is have something in writing telling him his comments are inappropriate and you want them to stop. Next time he sends a suggestive reply to one of your group work emails - reply back to him with a "cease and desist" email. Tell him that you value a good working relationship with him, but that if he touches you or makes any further suggestive remarks, you will have to speak to HR and file a complaint. That will probably scare him enough to back off without actually having to open an official case with HR. However, if he ignores your request/warning - go immediately to HR with all of the slimy emails that he sent to you and the email you sent to him asking him to stop his inappropriate behavior and communication. Most of the time, companies want a paper trail of proof - not just a he said/she said.
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Old 04-17-2012, 10:55 AM   #8
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Whoa, so out of line. His poor wife.

Please don't let this continue because you think he's "harmless." Your silence is probably being mistaken for encouragement or at the very least, tolerance.

You should not have to put up with this. If he was so worried about ruining his career then he'd be behaving more professionally toward his co-workers. His responsibility, not yours. You've done nothing wrong.

Try talking to him in a casual way. Let him know you like your space, and ask him nicely to just back off a little. If he doesn't, you might have to talk to a supervisor. Doing/saying nothing won't work as the behaviors are likely to escalate the longer you are silent and passive. It can only end in disaster if things don't come to a halt now.
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Old 04-17-2012, 11:03 AM   #9
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You need to tell him to stop, if you don't he will continue to think it's okay. If you can't say it face to face say it in the IM's to him that he sends you. He'll probably stop being a creep as soon as you say it. If he doesn't THEN I would go to HR and file a formal complaint. I wouldn't exactly go straight to HR without first telling him not to do it, thats just me tho.
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Old 04-17-2012, 11:04 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by guacamole View Post
What I would do is have something in writing telling him his comments are inappropriate and you want them to stop. Next time he sends a suggestive reply to one of your group work emails - reply back to him with a "cease and desist" email. Tell him that you value a good working relationship with him, but that if he touches you or makes any further suggestive remarks, you will have to speak to HR and file a complaint. That will probably scare him enough to back off without actually having to open an official case with HR. However, if he ignores your request/warning - go immediately to HR with all of the slimy emails that he sent to you and the email you sent to him asking him to stop his inappropriate behavior and communication. Most of the time, companies want a paper trail of proof - not just a he said/she said.
THIS!!!

Yes, his actions are inappropriate. The very first thing you should do is establish boundaries. TELL HIM his actions are inappropriate and make you uncomfortable. TELL HIM to knock it off! Keep a record of dates, times, words exchanged, etc. ESP. keep copies of emails, etc.

Maybe he is "harmless". But a person can be "complimentary" toward you without acting inappropriately. Big difference between "you sure look good today!" and "nice outfit!" ya know what I mean??
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Old 04-17-2012, 11:49 AM   #11
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When you go to HR be sure and take the emails he has been sending you.Very IMportant.
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Old 04-17-2012, 11:55 AM   #12
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Default re:

I'm going to agree the emails are way out of line. Have you saved them? If you haven't asked him to stop, do it. If he doesn't, go to HR.

If you feel uncomfortable going to him and telling him to stop, then go directly to HR. Make sure you have your emails.
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Old 04-17-2012, 11:57 AM   #13
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Default re:

and added thought - what happens someday when he hits "reply all" instead of just you on one of those emails?
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Old 04-17-2012, 12:45 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guacamole View Post
What I would do is have something in writing telling him his comments are inappropriate and you want them to stop. Next time he sends a suggestive reply to one of your group work emails - reply back to him with a "cease and desist" email. Tell him that you value a good working relationship with him, but that if he touches you or makes any further suggestive remarks, you will have to speak to HR and file a complaint. That will probably scare him enough to back off without actually having to open an official case with HR. However, if he ignores your request/warning - go immediately to HR with all of the slimy emails that he sent to you and the email you sent to him asking him to stop his inappropriate behavior and communication. Most of the time, companies want a paper trail of proof - not just a he said/she said.

Yep! Exactly this.
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Old 04-17-2012, 12:49 PM   #15
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and added thought - what happens someday when he hits "reply all" instead of just you on one of those emails?
I hope he slips up like that, it would make my day.
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