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Feminism: Sex and gender discussions

Working for Mr Creepy

17 replies

TheGlorifiedSecretary · 08/05/2013 20:36

NC because this may or may not be identifiable and is technically confidential.

So, ...

I'm a contractor. At the moment I am working on a project in the financial sector where I am consulting for one of the managers in my particular field of expertise.

I have recently become aware of some really inappropriate stuff that's been going on between that manager and some of the client's own female employees - lewd comments, groping, staring, inappropriate invitations, ... you get the picture.

For whichever reasons neither of the two women who've actually spoken to me about this want to report him to line management/HR. I'm not even certain whether they know of each other's experiences; I've been asked not to tell, so I haven't told.

The thing is: no such thing has actually happened to me. Still, ever since becoming aware of this I have felt deeply uncomfortable about working with this person. I don't feel at ease about attending functions anymore - a must in my line of work, I select my meeting rooms for proximity to the nearest open plan office, I constantly watch my body language and I'm just generally always on alert.

This is obviously not a situation which can be sustained. I have firmly resolved to notify my higher ups the second this man crosses the line with me. I have my boss on speed dial for this particular reason - literally. I know that I can defend myself and I know that I can cope.

What I find really hard to deal with is working for a confirmed harasser and never being certain if/when I'm due, ...

How would you deal with this?

OP posts:
AnyFucker · 08/05/2013 20:40

Just like you are.

AnyFucker · 08/05/2013 20:40

I would also encourage those other women to report his ass

TheGlorifiedSecretary · 08/05/2013 20:46

Yes, I've obviously done that - to no avail.

The thing is: I can see why they won't do it - apparently this sub-branch of the larger corporation I'm consulting for is, ... err, ... not precisely known for handling those kinds of incidents with the required professionalism.

I wish someone would sue their sorry arses; that might fix the situation. Don't think it'll happen, though.

OP posts:
AnyFucker · 08/05/2013 20:50


Sexism is alive and well out there. Whoonoo ?

TheGlorifiedSecretary · 08/05/2013 20:59

What? In the financial sector? Oh noes! Never!

It's not as though they entertain clients strip clubs or anything like that either. Totally not!

Luckily for me I'm a specialist. Would hate to let the management down by declining that particular invitation.


OP posts:
AnyFucker · 08/05/2013 21:09

I am glad I work in a carey sharey kind of profession where the men are evolved over and above the knuckle-dragging variety Smile

NiceTabard · 08/05/2013 21:35

If it is a big company with an HR dept and you have seen him do stuff then there isn't any reason for you not to report your concerns about what you have seen.

Of course if you don't feel comfortable doing that, it's entirely understandable. But I think if you have seen things then you have reason to act if you wish.

SolidGoldBrass · 09/05/2013 01:42

Have you actually, ever, seen anything yourself that this man has done? You say he's done nothing to you but have you actually seen or heard him behaving inappropriately to other women, or is it just that other women have told you they are upset by his behaviour? FWIW if two different women with little or no contact with each other separately claim that a man is creepy then I would be pretty sure they are telling the truth but it's not up to you to make a formal complaint when you are basing it on hearsay.

chipmonkey · 09/05/2013 02:13

Have you told these women that each of them is not the only one? Could you say "I can't break a confidence but you are not the only one who has complained to me about X's behaviour?"

WilsonFrickett · 09/05/2013 11:44

That's what I think chip you don't have to name names but letting both parties know there's another person being affected might encourage them to come forward?

Teresatableux · 09/05/2013 11:51

Strikes me that whatever he is doing, they don't particularly mind or they would report him. Our laws robustly protect us from this kind of crap.
So if they don't deem his behaviour to be reportable, why on earth should you?
In short, nosey parker.

lisianthus · 09/05/2013 12:14

Teresa, the law may well be robust about this sort of thing, but having worked in this kind of environment myself, you tend to not want to stick your head above the parapet as you are then seen to be the troublemaker. Once you sue your employer, you can kiss goodbye to your career as you are then a liability no-one wants to hire.

Even if people acknowledge the justice of your claim they think or say "she could have handled it better", "lacks personal skills", "can't handle difficult situations without blowing it up into a situation" -all sorts of nonsense like this. Many male-dominated industries like this are highly competitive where it is made very clear to you that there are hundreds of highly qualified people just champing at the bit to step into your job. Also, lots of these types of places have HR departments which have very little power in comparison with the actual bosses, so if the sleazebag is in a position of power, you can't just breezily rely on HR to "sort it out".

The people being harassed may mind very much indeed, just need their joobs very much indeed too.

WilsonFrickett · 09/05/2013 12:52

FGS Theresa there's the law and then there's a toxic organisation.

I know for a fact if this happened in my previous organisation it would be 50/50 if anything would be done about it. And even in a successful outcome, it would be exactly as lisianthus said. Lots of discussions about 'one's personal style' and 'being more robust' and 'protecting you from situations you aren't able to deal with' (ie the big, challenging projects). There'd be a side dish of 'you're not the right fit for x, y and z's team' with 'we're not sure you're values would work in this opportunity'.

Career suicide. And (to be fair to my friends who are still in financial services) it is incredibly tough out there at the moment, people are all in fear of their jobs, no-one wants even a question mark beside their name. It's not as simple as 'this is the law.'

TheGlorifiedSecretary · 09/05/2013 14:25

Chip, no I've not actually told either of them there are others. But I think it's a brilliant idea and I will let them know they're not the only ones. There's no question about whether I believe them. I do!

And, Teresa, these women do mind! I know they mind because they've complained about it - to me. The previous too posters have explained rather well how this sort of stuff tends to go down in our industry, so I'm not going to bother with explaining it again.

I think you're also not quite getting, why this is in fact my business: yes, solidarity is part of it, no, I can't report someone on behalf of others, but:

I have to work closely with this man too. I feel stressed working closely with a man always wondering if/when he'll cross that line. I don't want to be inviting my own manager along to (not actually optional) after work drinks with the client just because I feel safer with him being around.

So, yes, this kind of is my business. It's literally my business. I work there!

OP posts:
BigBlockSingsong · 09/05/2013 14:33

I think you've done all you can.

unless you're boss is Jack Bauer, why do you have them on speed dial?

Why are you so worried he will harrass you? genuine question ,not In a nasty way but someone being a serial perv does not mean he will perv on you, it reminds when people get all 'waah' about gay men being in male changing rooms.
Has he actually crossed the line with you? constantly anticipating he will is no way to live.

SolidGoldBrass · 09/05/2013 17:08

If he hasn't done you any harm yet, it may be that you don't fit his victim profile (eg are these two women both plump redheads while you are a slim blonde) or you are simply too high in status for him to harass you whereas the other women are employed directly by him and therefore, in his mind, available facilities.

So I think you might be able to let go of your fear that you will be hurt by him, but you may not want to let go of the anger that this man is harming other women in your workplace. I do think telling them that they are not alone is a good idea.

TheGlorifiedSecretary · 09/05/2013 18:09

That is a really good point actually, SGB.

My hourly rate and the logo on my business cards probably do place me in a different category. As does the fact that I technically work for Creepy's boss rather than Creepy, I suppose. Yay for multiple overlapping systems of oppression! Hmm

That having been said: yes, it does make me angry and no I really don't want to hang out in bars with a guy who obviously has zero respect for women in general and the women he works with in particular.

As far as I'm concerned he can GDIAF!

OP posts:
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