To find my colleague's behaviour inappropriate and be annoyed at myself for not saying anything at the time?

(12 Posts)
IHaveHadHOWManyUsernames Tue 02-Aug-16 02:42:56

A male colleague who is senior to me but not a direct manager asked me to do an errand/bit of work for him. He asked me to do this job and when he did this he cupped my face with both his hands and sort of stuck his face forward quite close to mine. I felt this was quite inappropriate and it made me feel really uncomfortable. I think I must have been a bit taken aback as I wasn't happy with it but was sort of too shocked to say anything. I've been stewing about it all day, I found it quite humiliating really and am now kicking myself for not telling him not to do that again. I have a long term problem with assertiveness and shyness etc and felt like in the last year I have got a lot better so it feels like a bit of a step back and a knock to my confidence. I also did a lot of questioning myself, like maybe I should just lighten up or whatever.

AIBU?

Sativa Tue 02-Aug-16 02:49:19

YANBU! How patronising & creepy...

Would he have done the same to a male colleague? There's your answer angry

trafalgargal Tue 02-Aug-16 03:15:24

Inappropriate touching and encroaching on your space. I'd talk to your direct manager (or HR) about it. Not in an accusing way but simply say he made you feel uncomfortable. They will probably know if he has form or not.

Must admit I'd have stepped back and asked him what on earth he was doing.

VioletBam Tue 02-Aug-16 03:15:31

Just complain. Write a complaint.

Snowflakes1122 Tue 02-Aug-16 08:03:02

I think lots of people in your shoes would have been lost for words too.
What a weird thing to do!

It's easy to think of all the things you'd have like to have done/said in the situation after it happens. So you mustn't be hard on yourself for not reacting.

Did anyone else witness it? I'd be speaking to someone in HR and refuse to work with him if you can.

Euphemia Tue 02-Aug-16 08:07:53

I'd have flinched at least! Did you not even react?! I hate being touched - I couldn't have just stood there! What a creep! angry

BillyNotQuiteNoMates Tue 02-Aug-16 08:10:00

If it made you feel uncomfortable just tell him, that's not on. Having said that, in work some people pinch people's cheeks, hug them, and generally have contact that is USUALLY acceptable to that individual, but not always. I hate hugging and I've asked several people to refrain, it's fine as long as you tell them. I can think of people that would hold someone's face like this, without meaning anything creepy by it, but I'd smack them if they did it to me.

RowenaDahl Tue 02-Aug-16 08:15:33

What job do you do?

You should have challenged him at the time. Be ready if he does it again. I would push his hands away and tell him the touching isn't necessary. Keep a diary and report to HR if it happens again.

I know someone who was touched inappropriately when she was in the car with her boss. She reported it to HR and ended up being moved to a new site. She didn't want to make too much of a fuss as he was married with a young baby and put it down to a mistake on his part. She later found out it went down on her HR record that she had an affair with him hence the office move....... shock

Gwenhwyfar Tue 02-Aug-16 08:28:38

I agree with those saying report to HR or your manager, or perhaps another manager you feel comfortable with or who is a woman. I don't necessarily agree with Rowena that you should have challenged him at the time as that is victim blaming. You were obviously shocked. If you're afraid of Rowena's example of someone being suspected of having an affair, make it clear you consider it harassment because that's what it is. A boss touched my face once when he was drunk. The look of shock on my colleagues' faces was enough for me to know that nobody would have blamed me for making an official complaint about it.

HerOtherHalf Tue 02-Aug-16 08:33:12

You were taken aback and didn't respond assertively at the time - that's quite normal. You could escalate to management/HR but personally I would consider the personal approach first. Prepare yourself emotionally, ask him for a private chat and tell him pretty much what you told us in your OP. Make it clear you find it completely unacceptable and will not tolerate similar behaviour in the future. Alternatively, do this by email so that you have a record in case he acts like a child and tries to make life difficult for you.

ReaWithson Tue 02-Aug-16 08:47:45

Don't kick yourself for not reacting! You were caught off guard by something that is extremely inappropriate and many people who have never struggled with assertiveness, and are so sure they would have told him where to go, have in fact been surprised to find they have responded the same way as you in similar circumstances.

toptoe Tue 02-Aug-16 09:06:38

You froze...natural reaction to someone invading your space. Other natural reactions are pulling away or getting angry, but no one knows how they are going to react until they are in that situation. Your body goes into fight, flight or freeze survival mode.

Definitely complain. And don't do the extra work. I would say he either thinks he can underpay you for it or he'll use the opportunity to sexually harass you in some way. Put that in the complaint because your company may have rules against bosses asking employees to do extra work as it is a conflict of interests.

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