to think this is really inappropriate behaviour and can't be excused by age?

(38 Posts)
EveryOtherNameIsTakenGrr Sat 05-Apr-14 18:18:36

I've name-changed and will try and keep details brief so as not to out myself. At DP's work they're a friendly bunch, all seem to get on pretty well, and I commented on this to him today. He pulled a face and said "Well there's friendly and then there's too friendly". I pressed him on it - more because I was wondering if there was a girl flirting with him or something - and it turns out that there's an older man working there, in his 60s and been there a few years, who makes suggestive comments about all the young women working there. That's bad enough, but he apparently picks on the shyer men who work there - the ones who are over 18 but a bit quieter, just get on with the work etc - and now he's picking on my DP, squeezing his bum constantly, and apparently he grabbed his crotch yesterday while DP was just trying to get on with his job. DP seems really uncomfortable with this.

I told him he needs to sort it out, but apparently the guy laughs at anyone who remarks on it and indeed when I've met him briefly he doesn't seem very approachable. So I told him to report it to his bosses, and he said he had a quiet word with one of them yesterday who told him that this guy is old and set in his ways and he's always been like that, so all they can do is ignore it.

Am I being unreasonable to think that this is a) completely inappropriate behaviour from the worker, and that b) it doesn't matter how ol the guy is or how long he's been working there, the behaviour could be considered harrassment if it carries on and the workplace have a duty to act on it?

I'm worried about posting this as I fear I'm giving too much detail, but I'm really confused, worried for my DP because he's quiet and doesn't like to cause a fuss or draw attention but he seems really unnerved and uncomfortable with this. But his boss's reaction makes me wonder if maybe IABU, maybe it is just the way this guy is?

FunkyBoldRibena Sat 05-Apr-14 18:22:24

Well, they will do nothing if nobody puts complaints in. However if EVERYONE put a grievance in, it might get somewhere.

ilovesooty Sat 05-Apr-14 18:23:11

It's inappropriate behaviour whatever his age. The company are failing in their duty of care to employees by failing to act. I think your partner should make a formal complaint.

EveryOtherNameIsTakenGrr Sat 05-Apr-14 18:24:10

But from the way DP told me about his boss's reaction, it sounds like people have gone to them to complain about it before, and they write it off as just being his age or 'the way he is' every time.

kotinka Sat 05-Apr-14 18:25:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

morethanpotatoprints Sat 05-Apr-14 18:26:12

I hope they are prepared to ignore it when somebody lamps him one or kicks him in his balls.

Exactly what ilovesooty said - they are failing in their duty of care and acting illegally by refusing to deal appropraitely with an employee who is sexually harassing his colleagues.

Who is it who told your DH they can do nothing? How high up the food chain is he/she? Is it a big/small company? If it's a small business he might be stuck, but if it's a big one he needs to keep going up the ladder until someone listens. Has he spoken to HR? They would be more likely to act within the law than a line manager,

adoptmama Sat 05-Apr-14 18:29:02

It's not just sexual harassment if he is grabbing at your DPs crotch - it is sexual assault. If I were your DP I would make a formal complaint and report the dirty old sod to the police.

Jolleigh Sat 05-Apr-14 18:29:29

Sounds like your DP really needs to kick up a fuss to his incompetent management. This must be dealt with. If a 60+ year old woman was grabbing my crotch in a work environment, it wouldn't be dismissed. It's sexual harassment and the manager really shouldn't be making excuses for the offending employee.

Jolleigh Sat 05-Apr-14 18:31:17

Correction: sexual assault. adoptmama is right there.

Forgettable Sat 05-Apr-14 18:33:54

Yes I would certainly consider reporting assault to Polis

EveryOtherNameIsTakenGrr Sat 05-Apr-14 18:34:49

It's a big national (international) company but a small branch. Part-time work.

The boss he spoke to is a branch manager. He doesn't know how to contact anyone higher up. He's only been there for a few months so I think he's nervous to ask about complaints procedures etc, it's quite a cliquey environment. Thankfully he works with a couple of my friends who he gets on with too, but neither of them were working yesterday when this happened so he was on his own, and they're both fairly new too.

DP would never dream of leaving the job as we really need the money at the moment but as far as I'm concerned no amount of money is worth him being put through that - but obviously we'd rather it didn't come to that so I'll encourage him to find out about who is higher up the food chain and how to make an official complaint, because I know he enjoys the job and gets on with lots of the guys. He's just seen as an easy target I think, because he's quite often in the back doing other tasks on his own when the others who have the same job title are standing around chatting.

It certainly wouldn't hurt to point out that he is acting illegally and if they refuse to act you'll take it to the police.

It is, however, very unfair on your DH that he is going to have to be the "bad guy" in this and potentially ruin his relationship with the company because of their refusal to deal with sexual assault in the workplace.

Latara Sat 05-Apr-14 18:38:20

He needs to speak to HR maybe?

This can't be excused by age if the man has always been like it, also I don't know any 60something men who behave like that.

pigsDOfly Sat 05-Apr-14 18:38:32

What the hell has his age got to do with it? I'm in my 60s. If I was walking down the street sexually assaulting people I'm damn sure the police would soon be involved.

The man sounds like a nasty bully and if the company bosses won't do anything about it because 'he's set in his ways' - what a stupid excuse - then the victims of his assaults need to report it to the police. There is no way on earth this should be allowed to continue. Horrible man.

adoptmama Sat 05-Apr-14 18:39:34

The fact this is male-on-male assault can make it very hard for people to come forward. Your DP is to be commended for having the bravery to speak out because men can feel that they should be able to stop things like this as they are physically strong. Good luck to him in his next steps. It takes courage to stand up to people in this way and he could well be preventing other, more vulnerable people being victimised.

ENormaSnob Sat 05-Apr-14 18:42:25

Police.

SExual assualt surely?

Pervy old fucker.

EveryOtherNameIsTakenGrr Sat 05-Apr-14 18:42:55

Thanks for the advice, it's really appreciated and when DP gets back from work tonight I'll let him know that it isn't just me who thinks it's out of order! I think he's worried that because he's male, he's expected to just get on with it. If I tell it to him from a point of view of protecting others from him - he seems quite worried about the comments the guy is making towards the younger girls who work there, especially considering the guy has no qualms in grabbing men's crotches, so perhaps if he sees it more as looking out for others rather than complaining on his own behalf, he'd be more likely to speak out about it.

I just feel gutted for him, he seemed so happy there until this sad

phantomnamechanger Sat 05-Apr-14 18:44:50

ye gods, I assume this man is super excellent at his job or something, why the heck is this vile behaviour "put up with".

lottiegarbanzo Sat 05-Apr-14 18:45:35

He could just tell the guy, quietly but very firmly, with full eye contact, that once more and he contacts the police.

If the manager is that crap it may be much more effective to bypass him and deal with the issue for what it is, not what the company want to pretend it isn't and will go to some lengths to minimise.

The 'just his age' excuse might have worked 30 or 40 years ago with an old bloke patting women's bottoms. Not grabbing anyone's crotch!

YouTheCat Sat 05-Apr-14 18:45:43

Get you dh to join a union and then get them onto it.

kotinka Sat 05-Apr-14 18:49:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lottiegarbanzo Sat 05-Apr-14 18:52:35

If he does want to address it within the company, for the sake of others too, the fact he's newish could help, as he can express real shock and isn't implicated in their collective blind eye turning.

He could write down every instance of inappropriate behaviour he's witnessed, take it to the manager and say he knows the police will be interested in at least x no. of these incidents and, if proper HR procedure is not invoked right now, that is where he'll go.

I think he needs to be really outraged, clear and firm. He must not allow the management to think for one moment that they can persuade him to see it their way. No compromise, no vague discussion, brief and to the point.

YouTheCat Sat 05-Apr-14 18:57:18

That's all well and good but they'll probably just let him go if he hasn't been there long. Union is the way to go.

EveryOtherNameIsTakenGrr Sat 05-Apr-14 18:59:02

I'll get him to have a look and see if there is some kind of union he can join that would be applicable to him. Thanks YouThe

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