More Than Innocent Flirting | The Boss Who Crossed The Line

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While I was in my early 20’s, I worked at a fast food restaurant. There was obviously nothing spectacular about this particular job other than the fact that it was located in an upscale part of town and the starting pay was an unusually substantial amount for this particular fast food joint.

I got along well with the other employees and even became really good friends with one of the older managers.

The only problem I had at this job was with the General Manager.

He was this huge guy who flirted with me, a lot.

I did not like it but pretended as if it did not bother me. I continuously ignored his flirting and advances. I tried to avoid him as much as possible. But I never gave any indication that I was uncomfortable with what he was doing except for the time he actually touched my backside and I removed his hand.

My older self looks back at things like this and wonder, why? 

Why in the world would I choose to ignore this situation and act as if everything was normal?

The younger me sheepishly responds with:

  • I didn’t want to cause problems at work.
  • I didn’t want to get fired.
  • I didn’t want to have to find another job making less money.
  • I knew he had a family and didn’t want to cause hardships for them.
  • Even if I said something to someone, it would end up being his word against mine.
  • I hoped he would just get the picture and stop on his own.

That didn’t happen. Eventually, I moved across state lines and got a job working in a hospital.

Looking back on this, there are a few things that I should have handled differently. The mature me has some advice for the young grasshopper:

  1. Get evidence.

A video or voice recording of what’s happening so that if you do get fired for speaking up, you will be able to use the evidence in court for being sexually harassed and wrongfully terminated.

2. Speak up.

Tell him/her that you’re not comfortable with their sexual advances and there’s a good chance that they may stop.

3. Report it.

Go to their boss or someone in HR to report the incident if the harassment continues.

  1. It’s OK to feel uncomfortable.

Don’t give mixed singles. If you’re uncomfortable then the person making the advances need to know that. It’s OK to frown, to shift your body or completely walk away.

  1. Know your company’s sexual harassment policies.

It’s usually printed in an employee handbook, posted in the break room or in the union contract.

6. Stay employed.

Don’t quit your job before reporting the situation. If you do, you are possibly forfeiting the chance to file harassment claims.

Now….

…I completely regret not following the necessary steps to improve my work environment. I also realize that since he was not held accountable for his actions that he more than likely has done this to someone else since then.

Have you had any experience with this? What would you do in this situation?

 

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18 thoughts on “More Than Innocent Flirting | The Boss Who Crossed The Line

  1. Tasha, this post brings back a lot of memories for me. I honestly wonder why some men think it’s okay to keep doing this. My younger working self experienced many scenarios like this even once during an interview when a supposed new boss * I am not exaggerating* wanted to see and feel my boobs. I got up and left and never went back. I think that they feel young girls are desperate for the job opportunity, hence willing to do anything. I look back and wish I had blistered his ears at least.
    jacquelineobyikocha recently posted…Rolls of Dice…My Profile

    1. That was totally inappropriate, especially at an interview. I think the reason why some bosses feel comfortable coming on to younger employees is because of their position of power. You did the right thing by walking out of that interview…that was just a preview of what was yet to come.

  2. Another great summary from you of a topic that shouldn’t exist or should not be an issue for any woman. That is terrible to hear but you give great advice here in summing this all up. Most importantly about staying at the job until you report the situation. Which is probably one that a lot of people forget. Excellent and useful as always my friend.
    Robert Doyle recently posted…True NorthMy Profile

    1. Thank you for this, Robert. I just wish I’d had the fortitude to follow this advice back then. There was absolutely no good reason to suffer in silence.

    1. Hi Dinata….some of your info is missing but it sounds like you’ve been through a similar situation. It’s terrible that something like this is common in the work place.

  3. Tasha, this such a relevant and an important issue to bring to the table for conversation. I with you could make this a flier, a class, a subject for every jr. high and high school student to hear you take on this topic and help them all understand how to handle this situation when faced with it. I really appreciate how you brought this up. EXCELLENT!
    Carrie Groneman recently posted…Hey, Did you Survive Yourself OK?!My Profile

    1. You’re right, this topic should be discussed early on so that students who are entering the work force will be well informed on how to respond to these sort of situations.

  4. This is such a great post to get us talking to our teens about this! Perhaps a follow up post to this so that we know what to warn our kids about. There are so many crappy bosses, sexual advances, or those who just like to tout themselves over you, I had a boss who tried to convince his boss that I was crazy, he withheld my money and then accused me of using the money to buy drugs, he never paid me, he withheld the funds and I almost lost my house and car, I was a single mom and I was going a bit crazy. I got offered another job and quit. But there are so many bosses out there that get off on being the boss. Sad, isn’t it?

    1. That’s a good idea, Nikki. Thanks for the suggestion. You’re ex boss sounds like a complete jerk! Something similar actually happened to me in my early 20’s while I was a single mom as well but it was with my landlord. He’d accused me of not paying my rent, got visibly angry when I told him I’d already sent the money order (by mail). He even had me served with eviction papers. So I did a trace on the money order as proof to show the judge once we were in court. I could not believe what I’d found….his signature was on the back of the money order. Yea, I moved from that apartment as soon as I was able to.

  5. You brought up a great point at the end that he is most likely doing it to someone else since he was not held accountable for his actions. That is why I think things should be handled just the way you referenced here with the very first incident. Chances are he has done it before if he feels comfortable enough to touch someone inappropriately so it should not wait until he does it again to bring it up. But this is also the older me talking. The younger me would have all the same fears you mentioned:(
    Nena recently posted…Move It Monday | PinterestMy Profile

    1. Thank you Nena for your thoughts on this…however, I couldn’t help but chuckle when you referred to the “older” you. You look so young that I forget sometimes that you’re a few years older than what’s ingrained in my mind. But yea, I really wish I would have handled this differently.

  6. I completely agree with you that we should speak up about this. I have learnt this after many years of, and it’s very important that they are publicly confronted for their actions, otherwise they will just do the same thing again…

  7. This could have been me writing this, except it was 36 years ago; I was 15 at the time and he was 23. He made sure I was always scheduled with him. No one talked about sexual harrassment at that time, and I wouldn’t have known who to talk to. After he cornered me and kissed me at work, I quit. I wonder how many other young girls he preyed on?

    1. Thanks for sharing your story, Patty. It’s difficult not to think about others who may have been affected by such crass behavior. Your boss was a child predator who more than likely have victimized other young girls. Good thing you quit when you did. We can only hope he eventually paid for his crimes.

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