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Sexual harassment as a freelancer

(10 Posts)
MumblingRagDoll Wed 29-Jun-11 01:00:41

As a freelance writer I have nobody to complain to...most of my contracts are short term one-off gigs.

I have never encountered any sexual harassment before yesterday when a client told me he'd "smack my bottom" ...he said it in a jocular fashion when I aplgised for not calling him when I said I would...this was during a telephone conversation.

I bollocked the life out of him and told him to stick his contract up his hairy arse.... and he sounded genuinely contrite...apologised etc....I then agreed to continue to write his piece of claptrap....should I have told him to travel back in time on his bottom-spanking time machine and try it on with someone who would be afraid to tell him where to go?

Or was I right to carry on with the work? I need the money but not THAT badly. I am kind of irritated that I am still doing it. But maybe it's more feminist to bollock him and then to carry on as before?

Himalaya Wed 29-Jun-11 02:07:39

As a fellow freelancer I just want to write back to say I feel your pain!

I have had a client who was a bully before and I have come off the phone shaking and crying, and thinking 'if I worked for you that would be harassment'.

The spanking thing sounds like a poor joke that fell flat to be honest. I think you did the right thing by pulling him up on it and making clear it wasn't acceptable. Hopefully it won't happen again. I think you did right not to jack in the piece of work though. I don't know how tight and specialised your field your field is, but people talk and you don't want to be known as unreliable. On the other hand if in the rest of your dealings with him it doesnt improve just get this job done and then politely decline future offers of work.

Walk away, reputation intact and tell all your professional contacts what a pig he is.

TeiTetua Wed 29-Jun-11 03:39:06

I think his response should be responded to. He seems to have felt pretty small and stupid, which at least shows some decent feelings. If that's true, then I'd have thought it's possible to say "All right then, we don't need to dwell on it any more; let's get this job done."

It's not exactly "carrying on as before" but demonstrating that you expect to be treated like a serious adult, and if that condition's met, you'll accomplish some useful work.

meditrina Wed 29-Jun-11 06:56:51

Holding grudges is often back for the psyche (yours); people can learn from their mistakes (his) and should have the chance to show they have done.

He made a mistake. You vented at him. He apologised, sincerely it seems.

What else do you want?

meditrina Wed 29-Jun-11 07:15:28

Oh, and by the way on a pragmatic note, could I suggest that you think about what impact you want to leave on him. "Bollocking" sounds wrong in a professional relationship, and I hope that's just part of venting on MN.

But there is a risk that, as much as you might want to put out the word that he's a pig, he will counter that by saying that you fly off the handle at the slip of the tongue.

TeiTua's advice is good. Keep both emotion and proselytising out of your professional life.

dittany Wed 29-Jun-11 08:29:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

floyjoy Wed 29-Jun-11 08:46:11

You did a really good thing by calling him up on it. If you turned the work down it would go to another writer who undertook it, maybe a woman, who if he did the same thing might say nothing. He now has to think of what he said and your response every time he sees your name, deals with you and your work. I think that's really good. Just like any employee, you shouldn't lose out on work because of a boss's behaviour. You might be the first person to have done this to him and you haven't let him off the hook by walking away. What you said might make him think twice about what he says in future. I don't think you should question your actions - you haven't done anything wrong by taking the job. He shoudl feel bad. You should feel good.

floyjoy Wed 29-Jun-11 08:48:51

'you haven't let him off the hook' was bad phrasing - if you had walked away that would be fine. That phrase puts too much responsibility on you to abslove/punish. Didn't mean it like that, sorry.

MumblingRagDoll Wed 29-Jun-11 09:00:19

Meditrina no....I was quite composed really...just mentioned professional conduct and offensive sexual terms...

meditrina Wed 29-Jun-11 14:24:22

I thought it might have been a vent here - rather than at him!

I think you did right. Deal with the specific incident, and move forward.

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