To not want to ignore this harrassment any longer?(25 Posts)
This is going to be long, thanks for reading if you do! Since returning to work from maternity leave just over a year ago, a male colleague who I’ll call Bob, who is 10 years older than me (in a higher level position but in another department) has become increasingly complimentary and forward towards me to the point where I now feel extremely uncomfortable. He’s married to a woman I believe he’s been with for over 15 years, has two young children and another on the way. I am in a cohabiting relationship with DP of 4 years, and we have a 2yr old DS.
On a works do at the beginning of the year we got chatting and had a lot in common in regards to music taste and talking about our children, another female colleague was present during most of the conversation and to me it was purely friendly, and platonic, although we were all pretty drunk and the conversation may have gone on a bit! I do not see this man as any more than a work colleague who I happen to get on with and I never have done. There’s a high turn around in my work place and as Id not long returned from maternity, I didn’t know many people, so I kind of stuck with Bob more so than anyone else that night. At this point he’d done nothing to make me feel uncomfortable. Later that night however, he started to show me recordings of him singing songs he’d written, and then started singing them in my ear. I could see other colleagues looking over at us and I was mortified and very embarrassed. His voice and songwriting skills were truly awful, and I cringed badly but was too polite to tell him to stop as I didn’t want to offend him. I dismissed it though as he was so drunk and actually thought it was quite funny afterwards.
From then he started messaging me lots in Work, not really saying anything inappropriate but talking lots about family life and tv programmes etc. Now and again he would make reference to a photo of me on Facebook and say I looked ‘amazing’ or something like that. He would then come over to my department to have a chat with me unannounced, or would time his dinner the same as mine and come down to the canteen where I would be (not on his floor) knowing I’d be there. Colleagues started to notice and joked about how much he ‘loved me’ and was obsessed with me. I laughed it off and said he was married etc, as he’s a very sociable character with everyone in Work and there are other women who he seems to have a jokey/flirty relationship with, so I figured this was just him.
I mainly saw him as a Work friend, and one day I mentioned that I was looking to get DS a particular toy, to which he said he had up in his loft that his own DS no longer played with and that he would give it to me for free. We swapped numbers and he text me and said he’d drop it off the next day, he did and brought his DS with him- he was in and out and there was nothing inappropriate about it, there were no follow up texts. However a few weeks later, out of the blue I received a message from him- a recording of him singing a love song (which I happen to hate!). He said he wanted me to check out his new ‘cover’. At this point I felt so uncomfortable that he had text me out of work never mind send me a recording of a love song, that I told DP all about how Bob had become a little too full on and had now sent me this song. We listened to it together and it was so bad it sounded like a joke. DP could see how much I was cringing and seemed to think it was actually quite funny, mainly because he didn’t see him as a threat in any way and could see I was clearly not interested. I was mortified and didn’t reply. The next day in Work he apologised and told me he was drunk, and that he likes to show off his singing when he’s had a few and that it wouldn’t happen again.
I confided in a female colleague who is around the same age as my DM, and who he seems quite matey with him and told him how uncomfortable he was making me feel. She told me that it wasn’t okay for him to make me feel like that, but that this was just what he was like, she’d known him for years, she had met his wife before and knew he was happily married, and although he’s full on, he was harmless. Because of this I naively continued to give him the benefit of the doubt, although tried to distance my self from him as much as possible and only gave limited responses to his messages in Work. By this point lots of people made reference (albeit in a jokey way) to how much he talked about me and ‘stalked’ me which again Made me feel anxious and uncomfortable.
Shortly after I changed departments, and thankfully he seemed to have taken the hint. He doesn’t come over to see me anymore, he rarely messages me ever in Work. Now and again I will bump into him on my dinner and he may sit with me and my other work mates for 10 mins or so, but it really just felt like he was treating me as a friend in the same way he treated anyone else in Work. I thought the novelty had worn off with me and felt glad.
However the other night was the work Xmas do, I was reluctant to go but after some persuading from team mates I went, but turned up late by which point everyone was very drunk, and me very sober. Bob was absolutely rotten, swaying, eyes were gone. He hugged me tightly and said in my ear “I fucking love you yeno. I was so into you for ages. I still am, you’re amazing”. I pulled away and said “Bob shut up you’re married. You have kids.” And I walked away. Later on I was outside having a social cigarette and he was there and told me that he wanted to send me some more songs he’d recorded, I asked him not to, as there was not a lot I could say about them. He was so drunk I didn’t even want to converse with him. Back inside I stood at the bar talking to a male colleague, who i’ll call Steve, who is actually my friends DP, about my friend who is unwell atm. Bob then came over, almost looking like he was on the warpath and stood in front of Steve so he could no longer speak with me. I asked him to move and he walked off. Later on he came over to me looking jealous and annoyed and asked “so are you and Steve an item now?” I replied “what the fuck are you talking about?!” And again he walked off. I left shortly after.
I now feel like I’ve had enough. No more am I giving this creep the benefit of the doubt, making excuses as other people have told me he’s harmless. How dare he disrepect my own relationship and make an assumption I am cheating on my DP just for talking to a male colleague- and who is he to imply who I can and can’t talk to?! I’ve today heard a rumour that he actually cheated on his wife shortly before their wedding years ago, with another colleague who still works there. Even more my eyes are opened- he’s not harmless, he’s a letch and I feel so sorry for his wife. Today he has messaged me in Work and I have blanked him. But I want to say something, I want to tell him enough is enough and that it stops now. I have told DP who is livid and wants to kill him. I feel so silly and naive I’ve allowed this to go on for so long. I genuinely do not believe I have ever given him reason to think I fancy him, I’ve never ever complimented him, I’ve never initiated conversation with him and I’ve never text him outside of work. I’ve been polite and friendly in the same way I am with any other colleague. I’m not a confrontational person but I’m not stupid, and I feel as though this post may read like I am! Naivety, And always seeing the best in people is my error here.
Anyone at all prepared to read my essay? I’m really not sure how to go about this
I would either text him (so you have a record) or ask female colleague/Steve to accompany you as you to tell him that his behaviour is inappropriate and to never contact you again. Block his number, see if you can block his messages in work. If he does contact you the straight to HR.
I'd print out what you have written here and give it to your boss (and your HR department if there is one).
You want to tell him enough is enough - have you tried that?
If he continues contacting you after a definitively leave-me-alone email, that is something to take to HR.
Message him along the lines of 'I have never considered you as anything more than a work friend. You have crossed the line and your behaviour is making me uncomfortable, please do not contact me again on any matter that is not work-related.'
I got cross reading that op.
You have been faultlessly polite and professional I cannot see how you could have done anything differently and yet this prat gets away with foisting his weird obsessions onto you. That last incident where you were talking to Steve and he strode over was outrageous. Don't know what to suggest but makes me that women still putting up with this shit. If you had been firmer earlier no doubt you would be seen to be a "bitch".
Can you try telling him he's making you very uncomfortable and that you find it upsetting? If he does care about you, that should be enough. If he doesn't take the hint, I'd go with a very short, "Please leave me alone."
I think a message (in writing - work email?) would be appropriate
"I understand that you were drunk at the Christmas party, but you crossed the line of what is appropriate behaviour to a colleague. If this happens again, I shall report you to HR for harassment"
I really wouldn't try to handle this by yourself. His behaviour is bizarre and disturbing and it's escalating. I know he was drunk but actually getting angry because he imagined you were having a relationship with another colleague is worrying, he's not really in touch with reality. I worry he would take anything you say the wrong way so I think since you have evidence in the form of his messages and witnesses to his behaviour it's best to play it by the book and make an official complaint. Sorry you are in this situation.
I’ve sent him a text message telling him I felt very uncomfortable and I don’t want it happening again. I’ve said that I’ve been polite so far but he has crossed the line and he has no right to imply who I can and can’t speak to, or to make inappropriate compliments or declare feelings for me. I’ve said he’s a Work friend to me, always has been and nothing more. It’s quite possibly the most upfront I’ve ever been with anyone and I feel a bit sick now!
I was going to do a Work one but all work emails and IMs are monitored and if somebody was watching we would both be taken into an office for it to be investigated. If he was a single man I wouldn’t care as much, but if he got suspended pending this investigation I’m not sure it would be with pay or not, and I’d feel awful on his wife and kids if that happened.
So a text it was! I’m yet to receive a reply....
That being said if he does reply aggressively I would take it to back to work... wanted to make sure I’d told him personally in no uncertain terms I am not interested. I figure he may be so arrogant to assume that because I had not actually said that, that he has a chance or my feelings are mutual.
Do you by any chance work in a primary school op?? The reactions from your work colleagues doesn't sound very grown up. And by the sounds on it you have done the right thing, definitely make sure you take it further if he does this again. And never ever feel crap or awful or like your in the wrong or yiur going to put him out for his behavior. End of the day it's his fault not yours
Nothing useful to add but I am actually dying on your behalf at the thought of him singing in your ear . And the videos.
My hair is actually standing on end after reading that.
He sounds like an absolute fucking slime ball.
Next step should definitely be taking it up with HR. The man is a creep.
You are lovely to be so concerned about his family but frankly, they are his responsibility not yours. If he was at all concerned about them, then he shouldn't have been bothering you in the first place. You mustn't take on HIS responsibilites here. You need to look out for yourself. Besides, even if you let him off the hook, he will certainly do this again and he WILL get into trouble about it eventually. Might as well be now as later. Don't let him get away with it.
Thanks for all of your responses! It is very sad that this sort of thing still goes on in workplaces and that women are still finding themselves in this position!
I’ve had a reply from Bob apologising and saying it won’t happen again. It was a very brief response given my message but at least I got an apology, I’m guessing he will be feeling very embarrassed (as he so should!) and hopefully I won’t have any more to worry about.
Obviously if there was I would now tell HR or management as I’ve officially and professionally told him to fuck off now!
Maybe girls should be taught at school the useful skill of shutting a man down. The body language, the facial expressions, the total refusal to engage with nonsense, the dismissive cut off, all can be done without saying a word.
and sorry you've had to put up with a grown man exposing his inner rock star to you, nowt worse! did he bleat on about jamming sessions with friends and forming a band? Demo tapes and learning guitar? All such middle aged cliches.
In addition to the message to him I would also tell HR, not as a complaint but just to keep them informed. They may be others he does this to and it would be useful for them to have the information about the way he has harassed you at work.
I had a similar situation years ago, and sent the stern email, but I really regret not telling HR as I know the man went on to harass other women in a similar manner. I am still angry thinking about him over ten years later.
Or perhaps teach boys not to make repeated continued overtures instead of putting onus back on women and girls to deal with this entitled nonsense
I agree Kerala it’s sad that still today I have had to take the responsibility of ending the continual pursuits of a married man, because him being married, me having a partner and never having ever given him any reason to think I’m interested wasnt enough
The being proprietorial over you when talking to your friend would push me over the edge into anger too. If everyone is married / in long term relationships there's surely a presumption that there's no sexual \ romantic overtones to speaking to someone of the opposite sex at a work event?! His mind but be an extremely strange place.
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