The corny but scary office scenario goes something like this: The boss runs after the female subordinate. The pat on the bottom and the leering at the cleavage follows.
So, how does one cope with the leers, innuendos and gropes… If it was a co-worker, you can take it to the boss. But what do you do if it's the boss himself who can't seem to control his testosterone?
Real or imaginary
Make sure that it's not just your imagination and that the boss is really predatory.
Gals, it always comes back to this. Wear less clingy clothes to work. Show off your knowledge and expertise, not your cleavage.
Watch your words and actions
The businesslike handing over of a file can be quite different from a languid gesture that invites a fumble. Don't succumb to flattery and send wrong signals that may be difficult to handle.
Handle with kid gloves
It is not easy to antagonise the Boss. Stare back pointedly, gently joke about the leer without getting emotional. Do it with others around; the public embarrassment may stop it. If it is your bosom, say, "Is there a spot on my dress?" or "Did I wear my husband's/boyfriend's/brother's shirt by mistake?" "Do you like my blouse? You can get the same at XYZ for your wife….".
Avoid solo contact
Not easy, especially when you are asked to come into the boss's cabin and close the door. Tell a colleague about the meeting. Glass-walled and modular offices are great, so try to maintain dignity. Keep the table between you at all times.
Confide in a co-worker. In the presence of others, discuss sexual harassment in a movie or serial, especially when the boss is in hearing distance! They can bear witness if the affair becomes official or a legal issue.
Keep a record
Record incidents, occasions, dates etc. of episodes to strengthen your case and show a pattern of harassment.
Dont go emo, cope up:
1) If the behaviour continues, object politely but firmly-no tears please.
2) Firmly push away the groping hand.
3) Say loudly, "Stop! You are invading my personal space."
4) Repeat sexual innuendos or doubtful statements in a loud voice and ask what he means….very effective when there are others around.
5) Leave out pamphlets or articles around on sexual harassment.
6) Use the phrase "sexual harassment" or "sexual assault" freely and frequently when he is around.
7) Complain to HR if it continues even if your leery Boss is the top man. Explain the situation and your discomfort. A safe working environment is part of your contract.
8) If all else fails, bite the bullet! Look for another job.
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