She's in Knots Over Boss's Attentions
Q: My boss is making me nervous. He stands way too close to me, and smiles in this weird way. I've even caught him looking down my shirt. Now I make sure not to wear anything low-cut to work. He finds chances to put his hand on mine when he's taking a piece of paper from me. He also has run his fingers through my hair, saying that I had something in my hair and he was trying to get it out for me. The way he touches me totally creeps me out! But I haven't even told my boyfriend because I'm scared he'll go crazy and come to my office. I'm afraid if I tell another manager that I'll end up getting fired. I've heard rumors that another girl in the office left because of him. I'm starting to get stomach cramps when I go to work because I'm so uptight about having to be around him all the time. What can I do? I need this job! - Maria, 27
Dr. Susan: Let's give your boss the benefit of the doubt and say he thinks you like his attentions. The best thing to do, then, is to let him know he's making you uncomfortable. You could first try mentioning your boyfriend, step back quickly whenever he gets too close, remove your hand immediately if he touches it. And write down all the inappropriate things he does (with dates), just in case you ever do end up in court over this. Discuss the situation with other women in the office to see if they've experienced this. If he keeps at it, let him know that he needs to stop or you'll report him. That sometimes works. If not, consider what business experts suggest here: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/seven-ways-deal-sexual-harassment-workplace-18095.html
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.