Harassed at work?
October 26, 2012 2:08 PM Subscribe
How to sort out my feelings and figure out next steps after a disturbing incident?
posted by altopower to Human Relations (58 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I work as director of music at a small Presbyterian church. Overall, it's a very good job and I love what I do. However, I'm having an issue with one of the members, and I don't quite know what to do about it.
"H" has been a member of the church for a long time, and he is a member of my choir as well. When I started working there 8 years ago, he immediately struck me as an unconscious creep. He does not respect personal space, and when you back up, he steps forward. When he is in my space like that, I've seen him look down my shirt quite frequently (he's quite a bit taller than I am). He also occasionally makes comments on my appearance that make me uncomfortable. He obviously thinks he's complimenting me and that I should be flattered, but I'm not.
I have brought all of the above up with the minister (my boss) a few times. He does these things to her as well, which makes me think even more that he's just a completely clueless creep.
Now, my current issue. On Wednesday night, I was alone in the building doing some work on the computer before choir rehearsal. He came in to sign some paperwork, which is a normal occurrence. He sat in front of my desk. As I was typing on the computer, I could tell he was just staring at me. I ignored him as best as possible and continued my work. Then he said, "Wow, that's a snazzy-looking undergarment you have there." I looked up in shock, and realized that my bra strap had slipped into view on my shoulder from under my sleeveless shirt. It was showing maybe 1/4", and yeah, was an obviously contrasting color from my shirt. Not a great thing, but not an infrequent thing for anybody. I completely froze up and just fixed the strap without saying anything to him. I KNOW I should have said something to him, but in the moment I just couldn't.
It seems like such a minor thing, but it's really fucked up my brain. I feel like it was my fault for what I was wearing, even though intellectually know that's ridiculous. I feel ashamed enough to not want to tell my boss, and what's more I don't feel like I can be around this guy by myself anymore. I don't think he would make any sort of actual physical advances, but I'm still very uncomfortable. This is my workplace, and I hate feeling like this.
So. A) Should I tell my boss? She already thinks he's kind of a creep as she has also experienced some comments from him. B) Should I say anything to "H" next time I see him? Or C) Should I just leave it alone and prepare what I would say the next time?
BTW, I am married, 34 years old. I have told my husband about these incidents, and he's always sort of rolled his eyes at the creepiness of this guy (and he does NOT like him at all because of it), but when I told him about this most recent one, he flipped out. However, he doesn't have any helpful advice about what to do.