Vincy Workplace
February 19, 2016
What to do when bosses want sexual favours

A reader asked the question on what she should do about a boss who is requesting sexual favours. What do you do if you are certain that your boss is making a move on you?

1. It should not be interpreted as flattery. When you are new on the job and desperate to make a great impression, some people may interpret any attention as good attention. That is not correct, especially in these instances. {{more}}Even if you do find your boss somewhat attractive, allowing the individual to cross that professional line will only derail your career in the long run.

2. Tell him you’re not interested. For some individuals, this may seem difficult, especially if the boss is using the job as leverage to get you to do what he wants and you desperately need the position. You may feel backed into a corner. Diplomatically let him know you are not interested and you value your position. The consequences of accepting the proposal usually far outweigh the loss of the job.

3. Report him if the problem persists. “No means no.” It does not mean you are playing hard-to-get or may change your mind later. If the boss refuses to cease his actions, get to the right person to report the problem. It could be Human Resources or a company mediator. If the boss is the most senior person and there is no one else above him, then you will need to try and avoid being in places with him alone and again emphasize that you value your position and want to do your best as a professional. If that is not possible, then you may need to make the difficult decision to consider alternate employment.

4. Are you sending mixed messages? Although it is never appropriate to accept the advances of a boss, please ensure you have not behaved in a way that clearly indicates you encourage his inappropriate advances. Accepting his invitations or engaging in very personal conversations, and especially accepting any gifts, are all indications you are a willing party.

5. Are men affected? Before you laugh and say no self-respecting man will turn down advances from his boss, it’s important to be fair. There are very aggressive women who may be in positions of power and target men, especially those who may be married. A true man who values his career, and family, if he has one, should be able to speak up for himself and say no.

6. When to take legal action. This type of behaviour qualifies as sexual harassment, and legal action should be considered. Consult an attorney and decide. Unfortunately, not many people often choose this route, as the publicity and scrutiny that follow is usually too much pressure.

It’s important to take a stand. Find people who will support you in this journey, as it can be difficult; but it’s not impossible.

People who behave in this manner have other issues that spill over into the workplace and they use these situations to exert power and control over their targets. Speak up and let these predatory bosses know their behaviour is not acceptable.

Karen Hinds is “The Workplace Success Expert.” For a FREE SPECIAL REPORT on Avoiding Career Killers in the Workplace, send an email to [email protected]

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