You just arrived at your workplace and the most important thing on your mind is doing a good job. However, you got approached by your creepy boss who places his hand on your shoulder, or around your waist. His physical contact causes you to feel uncomfortable (this is often considered harassment). Any action that makes one uncomfortable, such as flirting and inappropriate touching, are termed as harassment.
Being aware of what is considered harassment allows you the opportunity to prevent, or put a stop to, such an act.
Below are signs that you have a creepy boss.
Asking for Late Night or Private Meetings
If you are always singled out to attend private or late-night meetings, this means that your boss is going beyond the professional limit. If you comply with these requests, even when they make you uncomfortable, you’re only making things worse for yourself. Your boss may even go as far as to ask you out for drinks or dinner privately. Let your boss know firmly that you’d prefer to conduct business during working hours at the office. This way you will not be alone with the boss, or caught in an uncomfortable situation. This also ensures that there are other people around to deter your boss’s attempts.
Receiving Calls or Texts from your Boss for No Reason
It is definitely necessary at times for the boss to be in contact with their staff after hours. However, if you are receiving late night or weekend calls that have nothing to do with your work, this might be inappropriate. Ask yourself if your boss is trying to use that opportunity to flirt with you when off the clock. There is nothing wrong with having a working relationship with your boss, however, some bosses go to far if they cross the line by making an attempt on their staff to gain their affection in an appropriate advance that is not work related.
The best way to handle an after hours advance is to let your boss know politely that you are busy with family time. If you are married, you might make it known by bringing family pictures to the office and wearing your wedding ring. This may help your boss to deter their behavior. Even if you’re not married, you can display a photo of your significant other and it always helps to be clear about your distaste about the requests.
Displaying of Sensual or Playful Body Language
Check the eye contact and body language of your boss. If you catch him casting glances at you which you aren’t uncomfortable with, that could be the sign. Do not reciprocate these behaviors because if you do, you’re letting the boss know that his behavior is OK. Instead, be mindful of your own body language and eye contact so that it is not taken the wrong way.
Spending more Time in Your Office than His Own
If your office looks very relaxed, that doesn’t mean that your boss should be moving to and fro in order for him to flirt with you. He was assigned his own office! By always spending his time with you in your office, he is exerting his authority to move closer to you, which is not appropriate. In the same token, when you visit your boss’s office, keep your interactions business professional by first knocking and then when you enter, keep your conversations short and to the point. Ensure that you are not standing or sitting in a casual way. Exit as soon as you have what you need.
He Gives you Gifts and Asks for Secrets
During the Holiday or Valentine celebration, your boss gives all the staff a motivational gift but yours is special with a flirtatious quote. This is part of the attitude displayed by a creepy boss who shows that he wants to get closer to you. One way to deter your boss is to respectfully decline the gift by saying, “Thank you but I cannot accept this gift”. If your boss asked you to keep it a secret, respond by saying, “I do not feel comfortable with that”. If you hold your ground, your boss will stop giving you special gift, and requests for secrets. He may also respect you more by showing that you have morals and integrity.
Negative Effects of A Creepy Boss
Working under a creepy boss has a lot of negative effects, such as anxiety, embarrassment, headaches, depression and fear. This may lead to poor performance evaluations, change in career goals, absenteeism, or even getting sacked from your job. If you believe that your boss is harassing you, the best thing is to confront him directly. For example, you can approach him and say, “Sir, I don’t feel comfortable with you putting your arm around my waist or on my shoulder.” Don’t appear timid while confronting him. This is going to stop the harassment. However, if this does not work, you may need to report him to your company’s HR department so that further investigation and action can be taken. It is possible that he has done this to other employees, so by speaking up, you could be helping others who have dealt with the same situation.
Disclaimer: Dealing with a creepy boss is stressful. If you are a boss, recognize your work behaviors and take note that your actions could be making others feel uncomfortable. A work environment is not the correct place to make advances.
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