forums

welcome! please login or register.

 

 

 

Gropes of wrath (15 comments)

Gropes of wrath

Friday, July 18, 2008 - 12:00 AM

A reader writes... Q: Here's a strange problem I've never run across. About three months ago, I started work in a small office where we're all crowded together and things are usually quite busy. One older guy seems to always be bumping into or brushing against me. At first I thought nothing of it, but after about the third time I got suspicious. I get along with everyone and don't want to mess up a good work enviornment. So I'm reluctant to tell him to stop it. But I don't think all these brushes are accidental and I want it to stop. Any suggestions?
hightechartist
Lover

Posts: 9

Registered:
Mar 2008
Re: Gropes of wrath (Score: 1)
posted Friday, July 18, 2008 - 12:23 AM (#43824)

What your describing sounds like a psychological problem, (more specifically, a paraphilia) called Frotteurism.

It is inappropriate.
It is illegal.

I would not recommend confronting him about it directly.
Report your concerns to your boss immediately. If he/she does not take action, report it to someone higher on the "chain-of-command", report it to law enforcement.


Locked profile
hightechartist
Lover

Posts: 9

Registered:
Mar 2008
Re: Gropes of wrath (Score: 1)
posted Friday, July 18, 2008 - 12:26 AM (#43825)
In Response to hightechartist (#43824):

Sorry, that was supposed to be "or law enforcement" if you have no one else in the company to help you.

I'd also like to say, I know this sounds extreme, and I understand you don't want to cause a "fuss", but that is why he is able to get away with it.


Locked profile
pollywog
Lover

Posts: 7

Registered:
Jul 2008
Re: Gropes of wrath (Score: 1)
posted Friday, July 18, 2008 - 01:47 AM (#43827)
In Response to hightechartist (#43824):

Sorry, but I have to disagree. While the behavior (if it is purposeful as you suspect) is inappropriate and illegal, the potential consequences if your first reaction is to report it could be way more than he deserves. If you were not certain when he did it, it is possible that he is not certain either. In other words he may be fooling himself. Yes, that's sick, but it doesn't make him dangerous or deserving of being disciplined. Unless, of course, he won't stop. Try to come up with a way of letting him know that you know what he is doing without confronting him. For example, tell him that you have always been uncomfortable with close contact with people who aren't your closest friends and need a bit more personal space than some, and would he please make an effort not to bump into you or brush against you in those close quarters. That does not accuse him of what you suspect him of doing, but it does let him know that he will not get away with it. And if he has been rationalizing that he has been making it seem accidental it will let him know that as the cartoon says "he is not fooling anyone". If that doesn't get him to stop then he deserves any consequences of your reporting it.


Locked profile
Murgatroyd
Lover

Posts: 300

Registered:
Jan 2008
Re: Gropes of wrath (Score: 1)
posted Friday, July 18, 2008 - 02:23 AM (#43828)

For example, tell him that you have always been uncomfortable with close contact with people who aren't your closest friends and need a bit more personal space than some, and would he please make an effort not to bump into you or brush against you in those close quarters. That does not accuse him of what you suspect him of doing, but it does let him know that he will not get away with it.

Damn. That is exactly what I was going to suggest, in almost precisely those words.

Pollywog, you obviously are an unusually intelligent, perceptive, and wise individual!
;-)


Locked profile
TyQ
Lover

Posts: 1

Registered:
Jul 2008
Re: Gropes of wrath (Score: 1)
posted Friday, July 18, 2008 - 04:09 AM (#43830)

Three times? I'm not getting a good feel of how often he does it, it might actually be accidental and saying "whoa, three times, dude's touching me bad" might just be an overreaction. I mean, unless this was like 3 times one right after the other, or all in the same day.


Locked profile
Lachesis
Lover

Posts: 13

Registered:
Jul 2008
Re: Gropes of wrath (Score: 1)
posted Friday, July 18, 2008 - 12:34 PM (#43845)

you all have GOT to be kidding me. has no one had any OTJ training regarding sexual harassment?

step 1: Mr. Feely needs to be notified, in unambiguous terms, that the bodily contact is unwelcome and must stop. period.

step 2: if he still exhibits strange attacks of inner-ear afflictions that make him continue to impact his body with yours, then you take it to the supervisor. you inform supervisor that you have requested the contact to cease; it hasn't; now it is supervisor's LEGAL RESPONSIBILITY to get in the act.

step 3: if, in worst-case scenario, supervisor develops sudden tunnel vision, you take it to next level up, working your way to HR department (if there is one). if there is anyone in the company that isn't totally brain-dead, they will get on the stick, before they find themselves presented with a sexual harassment lawsuit. they are LEGALLY required to prevent such harassment.

and yes, you want to be nice about it, but in a nutshell, that's what's happening here. copping a feel against someone's will is harassment, if not minor assault.


Locked profile
Northerner
Lover

Posts: 2

Registered:
Jul 2008
Re: Gropes of wrath (Score: 1)
posted Friday, July 18, 2008 - 12:35 PM (#43846)
In Response to TyQ (#43830):

That's what high heels are for. Next time he accidentally gropes you, you can accidentally step on his toes. Hard.


Locked profile
ErikTheRed
Lover

Posts: 25

Registered:
Jan 2008
Re: Gropes of wrath (Score: 1)
posted Friday, July 18, 2008 - 01:00 PM (#43849)
In Response to Northerner (#43846):

As a small business owner, I'd definitely want to know if somebody in my business was behaving like that. Besides wanting employees to be happy and comfortable, I also don't want to be exposed to lawsuits. Unless your workplace is very small, it's highly probably he's mistreating other women as well, and by letting things slide you're not doing them any favors either.

If I were you, I'd bring it to the attention of either your boss or the appropriate HR person. Make it 'informal' if you aren't comfortable making a big deal out of it, but they definitely need to know. At least at that point, you're "on the record." A good business will find a way to either formally or informally get him to knock it off. If he does it with other people (very likely) and complaints pile up, then the company is pretty much forced to do something about it. If they blow you off, then that should be a big warning as to how they treat their employees and you should consider switching jobs.

Under no circumstances should you follow Northerner's advice and get revenge in some manner, at least not in the workplace. Save that sort of thing for drunk assholes in bars and clubs. If I have to deal with that sort of situation, I'm forced to discipline (and possibly fire) both people, even if the guy deserved it. That's just miles beyond stupid. If you absolutely must, make sure it's well outside of the workplace (not in the office, the parking lot, the sidewalk outside, company party, etc - think Happy Hour or something like that).


Locked profile
LizKitten
Lover

Posts: 19

Registered:
Feb 2008
Re: Gropes of wrath (Score: 1)
posted Saturday, July 19, 2008 - 01:57 AM (#43859)

I tell any and all new coworkers who accidentally brush against me in any sort of context that I am not comfortable with physical contact, as indeed I am not (at least at work).

That seems to work for me.

I also tell them (half-joking, but only half) that I will sue if it continues.


Locked profile
Murgatroyd
Lover

Posts: 300

Registered:
Jan 2008
Re: Gropes of wrath (Score: 1)
posted Saturday, July 19, 2008 - 03:31 AM (#43860)

One older guy seems to always be bumping into or brushing against me. At first I thought nothing of it, but after about the third time I got suspicious.

If you aren't absolutely goddamn sure that this is deliberate, I would cheerfully condemn you to hell if you went to your boss or HR instead of first letting him know that you're uncomfortable. Yes, this older guy might be a perv ... but he might just be clumsy. Or he might have a physical problem such as multiple sclerosis or loss of cilia in the inner ear.

If you file a complain and you're wrong, you're literally going to ruin his life. Think about it.


Locked profile
TheOriginalJes
Lover

Posts: 205

Registered:
Jan 2008
Re: Gropes of wrath (Score: 1)
posted Monday, July 21, 2008 - 12:39 PM (#43911)

--"I get along with everyone and don't want to mess up a good work enviornment. So I'm reluctant to tell him to stop it. "--

To the poster: By the third bump, his feelings don't need to be all that important to you. Next time he does it (assuming it's in a crowded room) feel free to say something like "please stop touching me all the time." in a louder than usual voice.

In my own workplace experience, a forward woman gets more respect.

[I know this seems like a stupid post. But, believe me, this is the boiled down version of a *very* long and reasoned out explanation.]


Locked profile
CasualNotice
Lover

Posts: 49

Registered:
Jun 2008
Re: Gropes of wrath (Score: 1)
posted Wednesday, July 23, 2008 - 07:02 PM (#43952)

Workplace difficulties like this are really much easier to settle than you might think.

Tell him,politely, in front of at least one witness you trust that you don't like to be touched, if it continues, tell your supervisor, if nothing is done, then go up the chain to either HR or the EEOC.

And always remember to document. Memory is good but "he's always touching me" has nothing like the convincing power of "On October 22, at ten am, he placed his palm flat against my left butt cheek. at 2:30pm he held me gently by the waist and moved me to one side."


Locked profile
stargazer
Lover

Posts: 1

Registered:
Jul 2008
Re: Gropes of wrath (Score: 1)
posted Sunday, July 27, 2008 - 03:58 PM (#43981)

as someone who has collided with people on occasion as well:
If he's just a klutz like me, he'll have almost misses with furniture a lot more often than with people, because people learn to move slightly aside and desks aren't as forthcoming. ouch, btw.

If the guy only ever becomes clumsy with who asked the question (and other females), a chewing out ("quit that! it's not appreciated" or "keep your fingers to yourself already") is in order, if it's a 3:1 chance he hits the desk corner instead, a less heated "take more care" would be due (because even klutzes can be more careful :).


Locked profile
lwj2
Lover

Posts: 33

Registered:
Feb 2008
Re: Gropes of wrath (Score: 1)
posted Saturday, August 02, 2008 - 09:56 AM (#44046)

At my employer, the HR standards for harassment are "unwelcome and repeated."

By not informing him that you're uncomfortable (the "unwelcome" part) you can't -- at this juncture -- complain [legally] about the "repeated" part. Your silence gives assent.

As was pointed out, should you go to HR, it's on the record. If you go to your supe, (s)he may keep it off the record or not -- but it will be in the boss' memory.

Until you do something, it's likely to continue, unless it is accidental. Absent an immediate apology for jostling you, IMO it's a deliberate action on his part.


Locked profile
TheOriginalJes
Lover

Posts: 205

Registered:
Jan 2008
Re: Gropes of wrath (Score: 1)
posted Wednesday, August 27, 2008 - 10:38 AM (#44512)

Here's an article worth reading.

http://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/your-daugh ter-safe-work


Locked profile
Discussion: Gropes of wrath | Login/Create an Account | 15 comments
Threshold:  Locked
The Fine Print: The above comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
Hell, let's face it, we're not responsible for anything; including the things we say, do, or think. And if you sue us because you think we are? Well, we're not responsible for that either.

 





(C) 2005 Brad J. Guigar. All rights reserved. Use of content or images without the consent of the author is prohibited.

200 OK

OK

The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

Please contact the server administrator, error-s2_perl@dumbrellahosting.com and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

More information about this error may be available in the server error log.


Apache/2.2.16 (Unix) mod_apreq2-20090110/2.8.0 mod_perl/2.0.7 Perl/v5.8.4 Server at 127.0.0.100 Port 8181