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Personal space at work!

(21 Posts)
PassTheSatsumas Thu 04-Aug-16 18:30:28

I'm pretty sure AINBU here, but needed to share/let off steam and ask for some advice

New 'superior' at work : it's a man a few years older than me and he has got done serious problems respecting other people's space - sits too close mostly - and will keep getting nearer if I move away, will sit on the empty chair if I leave one between us in a room, brushes his hand against me when talking (ick)
Most annoying of all, he touches my personal things ! Notebook , my cellphone (once, but that was enough), keys...
Today he opened an ornamental box kept on my desk (it has pens in it). I told him (truthfully) that it was a gift from my late father, and also that in ten years no colleague (at 3 offices!!) has touched it, and that I did not like him touching my personal things
Not very polite but I felt it necessary

Hopefully he will get the hint - anyway I can reinforce the message in a somewhat polite way
(And tips with putting up with slimy creeps in the office - he's a temp so just until Xmas but I'm already escaping to a meeting room as often as I can!!)

PassTheSatsumas Thu 04-Aug-16 18:31:27

Just to add to the fun- he's a mat cover for my boss, sits next to me (all day, every day...)

StealthPolarBear Thu 04-Aug-16 18:35:22

Yes he is creepy and while you should be polite when he's touching your things you can tone the politeness down a bit when he touches you.
Is this person your interim boss then?

ToadsforJustice Thu 04-Aug-16 18:57:13

Tell him straight to keep his hands off your possessions. Tell him to keep a distance from you. If anyone get in my "personal space", I tell them to move back - "my bubble your bubble". You will have to be firm with him. Next time he touches you by "accident" ask him if is aware of your work place grievance procedure regarding inappropriate behaviour. Twat.

PassTheSatsumas Thu 04-Aug-16 19:05:06

Yes - wonder if I should raise it with head of dept (a woman who likes her space!!) or HR?

HIs slimeyness has been picked up by colleagues....

YourNewspaperIsShit Thu 04-Aug-16 19:56:32

He sounds like one of those people that if you don't point it out publicly he'll just keep on doing it. I have personal space issues and if it happens on a bus, etc (you sit down and someone sits next to you creepily even with empty seats around) I will make a huge point of getting up and moving and sighing passive aggressively. Also goes for if someone touches you, if you flinch at their touch or take a very blatant step back it causes other people to turn and look which embarrasses them enough to get the message.

Otherwise I'd just say straight to his face that close proximity isn't appropriate for you and to respect your space. It could be his shit way of flirting, some people tend to touch/stroke/fidget with personal items to test breaking that barrier so you need to nip it in the bud every time. What a douche.

PassTheSatsumas Thu 04-Aug-16 20:11:58

Thank you all - some really great advice - esp the make it public smile

Queenbean Thu 04-Aug-16 20:14:22

Do the following:
- when he touches your things say "please don't touch my XYZ"
- when he touches you say "please don't touch me".

But do it loudly both times to embarrass the fucker

ForalltheSaints Thu 04-Aug-16 20:41:49

Continue to challenge his behaviour which whatever his motive is awful. If it continues then it should become an HR matter.

Penfold007 Thu 04-Aug-16 20:54:45

He isn't your superior but he may be senior to you. If your mobile phone is a personal one put it away. Put all personal items away and then speak to HR.

Shizzlestix Thu 04-Aug-16 21:02:15

I like the loud challenge. Nice.

I had to speak to a guy at work about this. He would talk and get closer and closer until I was backed into a wall. I had a serious little chat with him about feeling backed in and asked if he would mind remembering that I do not like having people so close to me unless it's my DH.

My manager used to grab my wrist as tho I were a baby to get my attention. I had no intention of running across a road or anything. I also spoke to her and said that I would not run away and that I did not like to be touched. (Slight OCD, maybe, but I'm hyper aware)

Perhaps you should ask his manager to have a discreet word rather than the loud challenge as this may embarrass him and cause an issue, which I'm sure you don't want. As she likes her space, she should be sympathetic.

SaucyJack Thu 04-Aug-16 21:06:20

Stop wearing deodorant?

PassTheSatsumas Thu 04-Aug-16 21:10:51

SaucyJack - that's a great idea!!

justilou Thu 04-Aug-16 22:17:10

Say it loudly enough so that there are witnesses. Document it. If he does it again, say "I told you before that I don't like it when....." Document that. Take it all to HR AND to your boss. He sounds like a slug.

Onlygingergothinthevillage Sun 14-Aug-16 15:00:09

We have a customer who will come & stand on our side of the enquiry desk to look over the shoulder of who ever is assisting him (never if it is a male staff member). He is quite creepy. When he did it to me I announced, quite loudly, that he was making me feel uncomfortable & asked him to go back to his side of the desk. There were other people around to hear me & thankfully he has not done it since.

roasted Sun 14-Aug-16 15:03:20

You don't have a right to have all of your personal things out at work. It's work. If you choose to keep them on display, you lose the right to be precious about them.

However, if he keeps touching you when talking and that makes you uncomfortable, that is something you should politely ask him to stop, and if he doesn't, then you speak to HR. But you are only entitled to complain about the personal space, not about someone touching your possessions that strictly should be at home anyway.

PassTheSatsumas Sun 14-Aug-16 15:50:59

roasted - I don't think I agree (nor did our HR dept)

The follow up to this was that I went to speak to HR about a number of incidents (the box and lack of apology was the trigger) - but touching my hand, photos, a couple of nasty undermining comments ...

They asked if I wanted to file a grievance (decided against it as a lot is hard to prove) but company was v supportive.

He has been moved and y lond reporting changed as there was a pattern emerging that looks like bullying/heading in direction which could leave company at risk of sexual harrassment

I think I was really lucky that they have acted so decisively : it's a global American company so very wary of that sort of thing, plus my head of dept and HR seniors are women so that helps

He has been moved to sit surrounded by men only so it def looks like that is what they are wary of but despite an unpleasant few weeks I'm happy with the outcome

PassTheSatsumas Sun 14-Aug-16 15:52:40

Thank you to the posters who replied on this thread: taking time to think about it gave me the conviction to speak to HR

coconutpie Sun 14-Aug-16 16:09:48

Glad to hear you got it sorted. He sounds like a right creep.

roasted Sun 14-Aug-16 17:39:47

We'll have to agree to disagree.

But I'm glad you're feeling happier.

PassTheSatsumas Sun 14-Aug-16 18:11:38

Thanks Roasted smile and to be fair I'm pretty sure it was the touching my hand and photos tgT got HR's hackles up!

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