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to want my boss not to brush past me and 'accidentally' touch me on the way past

(23 Posts)
hunnypots Sat 01-Oct-16 08:10:10

I am in a new job (two months) it's not going well. I had a six month break this year as I was working full time and got too stressed so left my job and was supposed to get a new one but instead worked out a way to survive for a few months so I could go back and start anew.
I explained in my interview I need to take my dc to new nursery which is down the same road as this office so it would be very convenient for me. I said I'd had enough of the long hours of the city and was willing to take a big pay cut to work shorter hours in a local place. Anyway two months down, not only am I working long long hours and having too much work put upon me despite me saying I can't cope with the work levels not to mention (I have been working every night and weekend at home trying to catch up) I get told off everyday (not too seriously but makes me feel shit) for standards sliding due to my workload.
On top of this, one of my bosses constantly brushes past me if I'm photocopying which is in a narrow area and accidentally rubs against me trying to fit between the gap that is too small for one person yet he always does it even though there is another route the other side of the copier just as simple to get through. The other day when I needed to get past him in a different small gap I said excuse me and he just leant forward in the gap which is only a metre long, he could have just taken one step and been out my way, in this route it was my only way of getting out of where I was. Another occasion he put his hands on my hips when I was at the copier pretending he couldn't get his balance when squeezing (unnecessarily) past me.
But the most awful bit for me is I was abused when I was younger and absolutely hate anyone touching me unless it's with my permission. Even my best friend can't give me a hug some days as I find it difficult. My boss has also grabbed my chin to turn my head to look at someone else and has rubbed his hands over my face when saying oh hunnypots what are we going to do with you when I've made a mistake. It makes me feel sick.
I know people are going to say leave etc but my last job was also new but I left after a few months due to me becoming too stressed and I don't want another blip on my cv after having 6 months off as well so am trying to stick it out. I also need the money. I have an ok cv in my career otherwise but I know this might further push my pay down if I try to rebuild everything now and I don't think I can afford to be on less.
I've had this exact same thing with a boss before who always made comments and brushed past me so he could lean into me etc but when I asked him to stop he got really funny with me and promotions etc stopped after that. He ended up leaving thank goodness. This current boss is the owner of the company so I am feeling really stuffed. I've asked him not to grab my face but he did it again. There is no way this is 'friendly office laughs' face grabbing. This is a hard grip around my chin and turning my head involuntarily. Nobody talks in my office it's silent all day so I have no one to talk to and if I say anything at all they just shrug their shoulders. He doesn't do it to anyone else. I now try to avoid him but it's a small office, I feel so uncomfortable that I try to make sure I'm not alone with him but that's not always possible as I end up staying late in the office and he's always there. Sorry for long post but tbh I just had to get it off my chest as well. Whenever I talk to RL people they just say oh everyone always fancies you so it's going to happen here or somewhere else. Is it?! I have had it in two previous jobs but I just felt that as I get older these things would stop as before I put it down to being young and these guys taking advantage of their seniority. In this job I'm more senior myself and have a child. sad
aibu to not want this to happen!

TheSparrowhawk Sat 01-Oct-16 08:13:13

YANBU. But you do have leave unfortunately. This place sounds hideous and it won't be good for your mental health.

Madeyemoodysmum Sat 01-Oct-16 08:16:22

I agree. If he is top dog you have no choice but to leave

Realhousewivesofshit Sat 01-Oct-16 08:18:53

No way should you stay there it's toxic.

Look I don't want to sound bitchy but there are millioms of pretty women working all around the country and they don't get assaulted or felt up at work. You need to leave and look for another job. Maybe a bigger firm?

SpaceDinosaur Sat 01-Oct-16 08:19:39


It doesn't have to be a "blip" on your cv. Just omit it. But leave. Now. You are worth more than this.

Solongtoshort Sat 01-Oct-16 08:20:53

Omg how awful, l couldn't work in this situation.

Practically l would move out of the way if l seen him coming whilst l was photocopying or move the table out of the way. Is there a table or something you could move so it's not such s tight squeeze. I know l would just have to say out loud please don't touch me or sqeueeze past me to make others aware.

I would start looking for another job straight away.

ConvincingLiar Sat 01-Oct-16 08:23:28

I'd start planning a way out. In the short term I might tell him privately that whilst you don't expect him to understand you absolutely hate being touched in any circumstances so it needs to stop. This includes him brushing past you at the photocopier, turning your head etc. if he carries on, he's an arsehole. Call him out on it every time. "Geoff, why are you touching me? I've told you I hate it. Why would you do that?". You might end up having to leave, but it sounds like it's going that way anyway.

ChildofASD Sat 01-Oct-16 08:26:22

I am so angry angry . This is overt harassment and workplace bullying. Write down what happened when and the names of the people who might have seen it. Go to the Police, file a report. go to your GP and get signed off with stress, hand in your notice. then file a complaint with ACAS.

ChasedByBees Sat 01-Oct-16 08:27:41

Honestly you have to leave. You could even leave it off your CV if you wished but as an employer I wouldn't look badly on someone for leaving a job because it was clearly unsuitable. I assume you have had some longer periods at other jobs so that would prove you can stay at a job. Just leave.

category12 Sat 01-Oct-16 08:28:31

Omit it from your cv - you have been a sahm, OK?

Apply for jobs, and get out of there. And don't accept him touching you in the meantime, pull away, say "that's inappropriate". Don't put up with this.

hunnypots Sat 01-Oct-16 08:34:56

Yes I think deep down I know I have to leave but leaving and getting a new job last time round was so stressful explaining why I left I have been avoiding going through it all again. Also won't new employers know from my p45 I had a job only saying if I'm explaining I haven't worked at all...

I'm also in the middle of starting to divorce my stbxh and my solicitor said I would be much better off being local to say I'm the mum and have my child stay with me (another matter for another day but relevant still) and I won't get this money anywhere else locally as I tried for a while even though I've taken a big pay cut instead of being in the city. I have worked so hard and this job is giving me amazing work experience but I think in the long run this is going to hurt me more than I realise when it gets too late to do anything. I am just so upset about it tbh.

Realhousewivesofshit Sat 01-Oct-16 08:41:03

You still have to leave love. The head turning thing is vile too. So controlling and wierd.

Keep looking and applying for anything you can locally. Do you get financial help for your child from ex?

Cakedoesntjudge Sat 01-Oct-16 08:48:19

I agree with the others that leaving would be the best option - you don't even have to really say why if you're not comfortable doing so, you could just say "I explained to you that I was not prepared to take on a large workload and long hours and yet that is what you've given me."

However, if you are truly set on not leaving (and part of me understands your reasons and I'd feel the same I think) you do have options.

I have funny rules about being touched too based on previous experiences with some not-very-nice men. It's a bit odd in that there's some people who can hug me or whatever and I'm not bothered in the slightest but there's others where I tense up if they even innocently brush past me. I've never worked out what is in my mind that differentiates between them, so I've just learnt to accept that that's the way I am now.

I work somewhere which most people would struggle with, it's very un-PC and not exactly professional which I don't actually mind for the most part. But there's a lot of hugging or just bumping into each other or whatever while people are having a laugh while working and one of my colleague got very upset that I would hug and join in with certain people but picked up on the fact I couldn't do it with them and had just said to them "it's not personal I just don't like being touched" and they were understandably offended and had a word with our manager about it.

I don't have a particularly good relationship with the manager in question and it was excruciating to do it but I sat and explained to him briefly about my past and why I was the way he was and, in fairness to him, he's been great about it ever since. He handled the situation with the other colleague and he's always very aware if I am in a situation where someone hugs me/brushes past me/touches me to move me out the way and checks I'm ok.

Sometimes I think people (and IME) men especially don't think if you say "I just don't like being touched." So while it should be enough to say that, I think a lot of people will just view you as standoffish which is why I chose to be very upfront about it. I didn't go into detail I just said "there's been events in my life that have meant I now only trust certain people to touch me in any way, I know it's mostly innocent to them (though in your boss' instance, not so much, it's definitely inappropriate) but I can't help my reaction to it" and then they get it.

You shouldn't have to do it, and as I said first off, I do think it would be best for you to leave. But if you are dead set on staying I'd consider saying something like that just because unless he's a complete and utter arsehole he'd probably listen to that and actually hear what you're saying rather than just thinking you were being a bit funny about it.

hunnypots Sat 01-Oct-16 09:05:22

Thanks for the replies, cake this office is a very professional one and noone else even talks to each other let alone hug anyone it's very much get in work done leave environment. I have been in two minds to say anything in case it makes the situation worse. Ideally I'd stay one year then leave but I see this escalating into a worse problem. I only took this job because it's local and my other situation. I am thinking I will have to leave. Maybe I'll just say to the agencies my boss isn't making me feel comfortable I just feel so stupid after leaving my last job and now this.

Twatty Sat 01-Oct-16 09:20:11

Talk to ACAS. Its harassment and sexual harrasment.

GlitteryFluff Sat 01-Oct-16 09:36:13

I think you know you have to leave, so you've got nothing to lose.
I would start saying something when he does it, starting quiet and polite ending up in very loud and pissed off. 'Please can you not touch me' just normal voice level, then next time louder, if there's a next time louder etc
Start off with 'Look, im not going to go into the reasons but please stop touching me, ask me to move so you can get past'
Then 'I've asked you already, stop touching me, I don't want you to'
Then 'stop touching me, this is assault, I've made it clear I don't want to be touched by you, stop it' preferably in front of people and loud.
Hopefully he'll stop when you call him out on it.

bertsdinner Sat 01-Oct-16 09:36:20

It sounds a horrible situation. I went through a period about 9 years ago where I got very depressed and flitted from job to job. I had about 5 jobs in 18 months and 6 months of just being at home, living off savings. I was worried about my CV as I thought I looked unreliable. I left about 3 of the shorter timescale jobs off my CV and said I'd spent time abroad (I do have a brother in Germany so could have spent time there I suppose). My current employer accepted this with no questions.
I found prospective employers dont question your reasons for leaving too much, just give some bland "transport problems/hours/looking for a new challenge" reason.

SoupDragon Sat 01-Oct-16 09:51:54

I would make a formal complaint about his behaviour. If he is doing this to you, no doubt he did it to your predecessor and will do it to whoever replaces you (assuming they were/are female).

Then I would leave/go off sick.

FruitCider Sat 01-Oct-16 09:56:42

If your boss is sexually assaulting you at work you would be well within your rights to report to the police, then take him to tribunal for constructive dismissal.

Is there anyone higher up than him that you can complain to?

HermioneWeasley Sat 01-Oct-16 10:06:51

You need to leave, but gather some evidence first.

Keep a diary - do it retrospectively and then keep daily notes.

Can you set your phone to secretly record while you're at the photocopier if that means he's likely to squeeze up against you. Say out loud that you've asked him before not to touch you.

If he's the owner of the company then there isn't anyone realistically you can complain to so spend a couple of weeks gathering your evidence and then resign claiming constructive dismissal due to sexual harassment.

MillionToOneChances Sat 01-Oct-16 11:35:25

You can't stay there sad

definetlynotbored Sat 01-Oct-16 11:36:50

I had a boss do this. He wasn't pervy but just touched me quite a bit like the hand on my back, hand on my hand etc. If it makes you feel uncomfortable you need a new job. Complaining wont make it better.

hunnypots Sat 01-Oct-16 12:30:14

Thanks for all the replies. They've all helped in their own way. I think I am going to send my cv out mutually before leaving to see what the feedback is and then if it's really negative just leave and leave it off. I can make up something I'm sure. Maybe divorce might help as a reason I'm not sure. I don't think I can get to him because he is the owner. I've had pervy bosses before and that doesn't bother me at all. It's the touchy feely thing makes me feel uncomfortable. Words or looks don't worry me I just think this crosses a line I don't feel comfortable with.

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