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To keep quiet about boss' "colourful"; history even though it's biting ME in the bum? (Long)

(92 Posts)
NorthernLassie247 Sat 05-Apr-14 08:05:36

This is a weird one and have NC for this as don't want it to out me...
We have a new boss, started a few months ago. There are 9 in our department, and 6 of us regularly went out socialising, the other 3 don't really like going out much but we are all friendly at work so no issues there at all.

Anyway it turns out I know new boss quite well and have done for years...always been in same "circle" of friends, got on well but never that close. She always seemed nice but a total man-eater so I didn't really want to become associated with going on "man-hunts" etc with her.

So this year she starts work with us and although I was dubious she has turned out to be amazing, really talented, we are so happy at work because of her. In the meantime she found a bloke last yr and settled down and is no longer seen going home with a different man every night. All good so far.

However since she started I've found myself being invited to absolutely no social events this year. I've found out on Facebook they've all gone out without me (I know, I hate Facebook too!) and a few weeks ago there seemed to be a lot of secrecy about something and it turns out she had a massive party for her 40th and not only did she not invite me, she invited everyone else and told them not to tell me about the party. I still get on with everyone else exactly the same as I did before she came so I don't know what's going on there.

I decided the other day to ask one of my closer friends in the dept about it and she said that basically our boss had made a decision not to invite me to anything as she still felt bad at not being invited to my wedding five years ago, and literally everyone else was invited so she was really upset. Which sounds fair enough. Except...the reason we specifically did not invite her was that her behaviour at that point had been getting worse and worse, and at the previous wedding she'd attempted to sexually assault one of DH's best friends, who, although he managed to fight her off, was deeply upset about it and begged us not to invite her to ours. As he was one of DH's ushers, he took priority and we didn't invite my now boss.

I'm pretty sure that in her head, she didn't class it as assault and just saw it as her one failed conquest at that time but she really took it way too far and he was so scared and upset afterwards so it was a really big thing for him whereas it was a drunken moment for her that turned out to he a bit awkward because he didn't want to have sex with her.

So...all my friends at work are thinking that I'm getting my "just desserts" for being so rude and not inviting her years ago, as does my boss (as the incident is so insignificant to her)...and I think that's not fair that I'm losing out because of something she did wrong. But obviously I don't want to blab about her assaulting someone as that's an awful thing to say and could land me in real trouble at work as well (even though it's true!)

All the department are wanting to heal this rift and make the boss invite me out to things again as they are fed up of the secrecy. AIBU to kind of hint at a falling-out of mutual friends and having to make a choice about the wedding guests to protect her or do I tactfully say something about a drunken moment that went too far? I just have no idea what to say to explain myself and I don't want to make up a lie about it - please help!

deakymom Sat 05-Apr-14 08:10:58

ummm tell them that she is wrong not everyone got invited and its a bit precious to be going on about it 5 years later it really has NOTHING to do with work meetups she doesn't have to invite you to her party but for everything else to exclude you is wrong

did she get arrested for the assault?

gamerchick Sat 05-Apr-14 08:12:35

Can you not blag it with taking her to one side and saying ' not only did you not come to my wedding (and by the way it's rude not to reply either way to an invite), you're not inviting me out now either. Do you not want to be around me or something?'

Or something like that.

tripecity Sat 05-Apr-14 08:14:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

meganorks Sat 05-Apr-14 08:15:33

I would suggest maybe talking to her about it and being honest about why you didn't invite her. Say your sorry if she was hurt by your decision but it really seemed like the best solution at the time. Ask if you can now pyrite behind you and move on. She might feel embarrassed by what you say and want to mention rge rift and nit have you say anything to your colleagues. Or she might get defensive and nasty. But you should at least give her the opportunity.
Easier said than done I realise! Its going to be a tough conversation. Maybe don't actually call it sexual assault just reminder her what she did and tell her how it made your friend feel. Maybe say something about if the roles were reversed?

NorthernLassie247 Sat 05-Apr-14 08:16:37

No she didn't.

The man was really upset and shaken but so embarrassed that he wasn't sure what to do. By the time he was getting round to reporting it she'd blabbed to everyone how drunk she was and had "accidentally" tried it on with him and it was clear that in her head it was just a failed attempt to "tempt" him into bed and she'd somehow forgotten the force she'd subjected him to. She was not used to being turned down and he's very, very shy so in his head, he let his lack of sexual experience and embarrassment convince him she was maybe just behaving normally and he felt silly as he's a man - he fought her off and thought he'd look ridiculous explaining he's turned down a woman.

But it was assault - he has not been with a woman since then so I think it has traumatised him more than he lets on sad

SolomanDaisy Sat 05-Apr-14 08:18:10

Her behaviour as a boss is utterly appalling. Excluding you like this is bullying and you could report it and have it dealt with formally. I
You clearly don't want to go down that route though, so I think you need to talk to her directly. Go and tell her it is outrageously unfair to suddenly be excluded like this and explain to her why she wasn't invited. Then tell her you want to be friends and all socialise together, but if she carries on deliberately excluding you from her position of power then you will raise it through formal channels.

NorthernLassie247 Sat 05-Apr-14 08:18:17

Sorry that reply was to deaky - no arrest.

maddening Sat 05-Apr-14 08:19:03

I think you need to have a candid discussion with the boss and explain that despite the assault by her and her exclusion on one occasion this behaviour now of excluding you extends in to bullying and is terribly unprofessional on her part - particularly with the talking behind your back and ensuring secrecy re events.

based on her response I would either let everyone know the real reasons behind it all (and I guess you have witnesses) or keep it quiet.

NorthernLassie247 Sat 05-Apr-14 08:20:39

I just feel silly on 2 counts - firstly I know she'll have minimised this so much in her head that she'll think I'm totally over-reacting about the assault thing..."what are you talking about...just a drunken grope...happens all the time...etc" and also I feel ridiculous for getting all grumpy about a few nights out that have nothing to do with work? But for me it's the feeling of exclusion and asking my friends to exclude me too sad

Ragglefrock Sat 05-Apr-14 08:23:42

She's bullying you. Your colleagues know this and decide to do nothing (I can see their position but tough not standing up to be counted means they are pretty much complicit).
I would wait until everyone is around and make a jokey but pointed comment about why you weren't invited and ask why. Don't be aggressive at all you need to be completely reasonable.

NorthernLassie247 Sat 05-Apr-14 08:25:41

The thing is as well, on a day to day basis we get on really well, laughing, joking, chat etc. She is also very supportive as a boss so no complaints at all professionally. I think for me it came to a head about her birthday thing, there was a conversation with someone else that kind of went...

Me: oh I hear it's your 40th next week, you kept that quiet didn't you? Make sure you book the day off, you don't want to be stuck here do you?!

Boss: thanks, yeah I have booked the day off and going out with my mum for lunch

Other colleague: is it next week? Oh yeah of course, cos that's when I'm away for the weekend and I couldn't make it to your... (Trails off, I turn around to see boss making "aaaargh SHUT UP!" face and gesture to colleague)

So yeah...really fun at work for me at the moment... sad

diddl Sat 05-Apr-14 08:27:46

Is this work things that she isn't inviting you to that you should be going to for your benefit?

If it's not, surely she can invite whoever she wants?

If you were never close why would you even think about inviting her to your wedding & why would she expect an invitation?

Can't think why your "friends" at work think you are in the wrong for not inviting her.

FunkyBoldRibena Sat 05-Apr-14 08:27:55

I'd have a meeting with her and say exactly your dilemma; that you couldn't invite her after her assault, and if she continues to invite all the rest of the team and not you - then you will have no option but to explain what really happened as you will have to put a grievance in. Her call.

Ragglefrock Sat 05-Apr-14 08:28:05

She sounds like a nightmare actually and a manipulator which is why I personally wouldn't say anything to her privately because you need witnesses/your colleagues to see. You are essentially blameless here so have nothing to hide she has everything to gain from you not saying anything or speaking to her privately - hence why she's asked everyone else to be secretive.

YellowDinosaur Sat 05-Apr-14 08:29:19

I agree with the poster who says this is bullying.

Take away the sexual assault for the moment. Say you didn't invite her to your wedding 5 years ago because you just didn't want to / didn't like her / numbers / anything. She is being massively unprofessional to exclude you from work nights out on the back of this. It's totally interrelated. Fair enough about her 40th, she can ask who she wants, but the work nights out is not on.

I'd take one of 2 approaches. Either speak to her and explain that you had your reasons for not inviting her and you feel that she needs to draw a line under this and stop bringing it into your work environment 5 years later. That if you don't start being included then you'll be complaining formally to your boss about bullying.

Or go straight to the boss with this.

Either way her behaviour is grossly unprofessional and someone needs to call her on it. But there is no need to bring up the sexual assault, which you can't prove, and to do so might actually bite you on the bum and make you out to be the unreasonable one.

YellowDinosaur Sat 05-Apr-14 08:29:53

Would the friend who told you this be prepared to back you up to the boss?

YellowDinosaur Sat 05-Apr-14 08:31:32

Unrelated not interrelated...

NorthernLassie247 Sat 05-Apr-14 08:34:47

Probably not yellow as our boss' boss doesn't really have much to do with us on a day-to-day basis, so if we alienated our boss by going above her head, the über-boss would do something about it which is good, but then we're still stuck with normal boss every day who has shown she's very good at underhand and manipulative behaviour sad

CerealMom Sat 05-Apr-14 08:34:59

I think I would play the long game and say nothing.

At the moment it doesn't seam to be impacting your job only the after hours social. I would hope your work colleagues would get fed up with excluding you and after the settling in period of your boss and either stop going out with her or ask you to join them.

It sounds very childish to hold a grudge from five years ago about an invite not everyone would get/be expecting.

Don't say anything about your boss's previous behaviour to your colleagues, it would be very unprofessionable. If you feel it it starting to effect your job then either have a clear the air talk with her or preferably go through HR.

LayMeDown Sat 05-Apr-14 08:35:55

You should talk to her. She may try to minimise it, but really her feelings or memories on it are irrelevant. It is the victims that matter. Regardless of what she thinks happened he felt violated and assaulted. He begged you not to invite her and you were right not to. She needs to accept that it is due to her own actions that she didn't come to your wedding.
I would tell her all this and then say that now it has been cleared up you hope you will no longer be secluded from work arrangements. I would wait and see if things change. If they don't I would tell her you regard the deliberate exclusion as bullying in the workplace and will take appropriate action.

Joysmum Sat 05-Apr-14 08:37:10

Personally I too would have the conversation. I wouldn't bring up the assult initially, I would just explain that you're very concerned as a number of the team have come to you because they are unhappy with the situation and want it sorted. Then let her explain herself and take it from there.

NorthernLassie247 Sat 05-Apr-14 08:38:39

I totally get the birthday thing and how it's her choice, that's partly why I feel silly. I feel like I sound like a teenager "but they were MY friends and now she's taken them away from me!"

But this just seems so much more than that. And it really bugs me that we could be such a good team together, I work so hard for her and the department and she really appreciates that at work and I feel that things are healing somewhat, then I find out they're all off out again and I'm still being pushed out. I just don't know what more I can do and feel annoyed that I'm having to work to try and re-make friends and solve a problem I never even caused in the first place!!

ajandjjmum Sat 05-Apr-14 08:42:25

Would it be possible to speak to her and record the conversation? If you have a private conversation with her, say what an amazing boss she is turning out to be, and how much you and the whole team are enjoying working with her.

Then say that there is obviously a problem which you understand relates to your wedding invites. Explain why you made the decision - that you understand it was her nature - going OTT/drunk etc., but it had a traumatic effect on your friend, and you had to prioritize his feelings.
You are becoming increasingly unhappy, and if the talking/planning behind your back continues, it will have implications for the whole team, and is not a professional way of behaving.

I would also make the point that it's putting your work colleagues in a difficult position, as they get on with you. I might even drip that you always know what's going on, as several people talk to you as they are uncomfortable about it.

Then as her how she intends to proceed.

As long as you work hard and are secure in your position, I would be pretty tough.

WhoNickedMyName Sat 05-Apr-14 08:45:20

I think if your boss is being professional, polite, friendly, chatty, etc in the workplace, and the things you're being excluded from are purely social, then unfortunately you're going to have to suck it up.

Hopefully your colleagues will catch on and start sticking up for you, but don't bank on it.

I really don't think going to the person above your manager, going "boo hoo she didn't invite me to the pub or to her 40th" will do you any favours.

If however she's excluding you from work events, that's an entirely different matter and you need to take it further.

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