“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Braidwood, IL

#1 Feb 7, 2014
DEAR AMY: I'm not sure how to handle a situation at work.

I'm a young man, and my boss is several decades older. It is a hostile work environment (he has demeaned employees and made sexual comments to women).

Recently, he's been commenting on my looks and clothes, occasionally telling me that I look handsome. I've caught him staring at my butt and also touching himself as he says he needs to use the bathroom.

I feel uncomfortable because this is getting more frequent. I know we're both gay, and he knows that I'm engaged to my boyfriend.

I'm afraid to file a sexual harassment claim, because this behavior hasn't been overt. I don't have any proof, and he's denied other charges brought up by other employees to HR. Plus, if I'm wrong, I don't want to ruin his career because of my misinterpretation.

I like where I work, and my job is secure. Should I start a job search rather than file a complaint? I don't know what to do.-- Unsure but Uncomfortable

DEAR UNSURE: You should start by asking this man to stop. You say, "It makes me uncomfortable when you comment on how I look. Please don't do that."

You should document that you made this request, including the date and time and his reaction. Also document every instance of his making a comment or behaving in a way that makes you uncomfortable, including a description of the behavior, your reaction, the time and date, etc.

Take your complaint to HR. Because others have complained about his behavior, I can imagine two scenarios: Either the department is building a case, or HR will do nothing.

I agree with you that this is not overt, but staring, commenting on someone's looks or gesturing constitutes possible sexual harassment, according to guidelines published at un.org/womenwatch . Also check the eeoc.gov guidelines to see if you want to pursue this beyond your company's HR department.

DEAR AMY: I discovered that my husband of 15 years had been cheating on me and lying about various things for the last five years of our marriage.

We divorced, and it has taken me several months to get over the anger. My ex-husband's parents behaved very badly toward my children during our separation and continue to be distant, uncaring grandparents.

I feel I am finally in a good place and just want to put the past behind me. The problem is my sister-in-law. She and I were never very close; we only saw her once or twice a year.

She seems to want to continue "to be friends," but the relationship seems fake and forced.

I don't believe our friendship was ever strong enough to be sustained, especially feeling the way I do about her brother and her parents. We both have children, but they are not close because of physical and substantial age differences between them.

Should I tell her how I feel or simply let the relationship die out?-- Trying to Move On

DEAR TRYING: So far, your bad experiences with all of your ex-husband's family members have taken them out of your life. If they are unsupportive and badly behaved people, I can understand why you would want to be done with them.

Now you have one person who is behaving decently, who is also the mother of your children's cousins. I suggest you fake it with her, unless she says or does something meriting a negative response from you.

You really and truly move on when you don't feel the need to proactively cut people out of your life simply because they happen to be related to the person who wronged you.

DEAR AMY: I totally disagreed with your response to "Put Out." I would never ask my daughter to take me to the airport two or three times a year.

Parents do things for their children without expecting anything in return. You do it out of the goodness of your heart. Anything in return is a plus.

I think it's selfish of the parents to expect this.-- Linda

DEAR LINDA: You do some things out of the goodness of your heart. Occasional airport runs for the folks, for instance.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Lawrence, MA

#2 Feb 7, 2014
2- Once again Amy's an idiot. If you've never been very close in fifteen years, I see no reason to start now

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#3 Feb 7, 2014
edogxxx wrote:
2- Once again Amy's an idiot. If you've never been very close in fifteen years, I see no reason to start now
Consider the possibility that the SIL also thinks her parents are idiots, her brother is an a*ss and did not want to socialize with HIM but now that he i out of teh picture she wants to get to know the LW.

LW1 can tell the boss loudly to Cut it out but it is very easy for boss to turn teh tables or worse, follow LW into the john, a problem women usually don't have.
I found a really good strategy for discouraging guys like that was to talk A LOT about my husband and use the word "husband" frequently. AS long as the emphasis and message is that LW is i a long term committed relationship, the gay version should work jut as well as the straight. But yeah, I agree, document, document, document.

“On Deck”

Since: Aug 08

French Polynesia

#4 Feb 7, 2014
L3. No way, Jose.
If I have said it once, I have said it one thousand times: I am not driving anyone to the airport ever again.
I will drop them off at the local train station, which is only a hop, skip and a jump away, and from there they are on their own

“A Programmer is not in IT!”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me! Charlie

#5 Feb 7, 2014
I a betting you dont get asked very often either.
loose cannon wrote:
L3. No way, Jose.
If I have said it once, I have said it one thousand times: I am not driving anyone to the airport ever again.
I will drop them off at the local train station, which is only a hop, skip and a jump away, and from there they are on their own

“A Programmer is not in IT!”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me! Charlie

#6 Feb 7, 2014
1 girl stuff, dont care.

2 what PEllen said, she probably knew about the affair too.

3 I think we all agreed that while not a huge deal, there were easier alternatives, like paying/splitting the cab fare.

Toj

“Where is Everyone?”

Since: Jul 12

Location hidden

#7 Feb 7, 2014
L1: I agree with PEllen except the following to the bathroom part. That jerk probably would think he wantsw to have sex with him in there. I'd talk about my boyfriend and how committed we were. Maybe I'd even say that he's a bit jealous and can even once knocked a guy out that got out of line by coming onto me. Eh. Maybe not. But I'd think about doing that.

L2: She might be getting an angle or she might just want her children to know her cousins. Give her a shot.

L3:(ignore) TGIF!

Since: Aug 08

Location hidden

#8 Feb 7, 2014
LW1: As it stands now, it wouldn’t even bother me if a woman or a guy said such things … just smile and take it as a compliment. If it got worse, I'd re-evaluate at that point.

LW2: Doesn’t sound like she wants to proactively cut her out … seems to me she is more or less like what is the point. I wouldn’t fake it. Just let it die out.
Pippa

Hancock, NY

#9 Feb 7, 2014
1: Yes, document the remarks and behavior as Amy said. I don't see anything wrong with telling him that it makes you uncomfortable when he remarks on your looks and so forth. I think it takes a certain knack to do this in a friendly way so that he won't take offense but you can always try. I had not previously heard that you should also document how remarks/behaviors of this kind make you feel but it does make sense. You would have it right there in written form proof of what you felt at the time and you won't have to try to remember if you need that information - say in a legal situation.

2: It sounds as though the sister-in-law is trying to be friends but feels the awkwardness as you do. I agree with PEllen that it could be she doesn't like her brother in parents any more than you do. It could be that her past relationship with you - when you were married to her brother - was affected by her less than loving feelings toward him. It could be that you gained her respect when you dumped him. Give her a chance. She could turn out to be great ally in dealing with your ex and his parents. You may have done your best to delete them from your life but the fact that you have kids means they will at least be on the periphery of your life for years to come.

3: I don't think parents or adult children have "right" to expect a family member to drive them anywhere. I would be upset if someone simply told me I had to do this. It would be an entirely different matter if I'm asked. I can't remember whether the parents in the original letter "asked" or "told" that lw to drive them to/from the airport. I think that makes a world of difference. Beyond that, a couple of trips a year wouldn't make that big of a deal to me even if the trip took a few hours. But what might not bother me so much could be a bigger deal for someone having to juggle several children at the same time. I've decided that I can't judge another person in this situation because I'm not that person and have no idea what else is going on in his/her life.

Since: Jun 09

Saint Petersburg, FL

#10 Feb 7, 2014
It's so funny because my dad almost refuses to let me drive to the airport myself. My last business trip I had to explain that the firm pays for parking, so it's OK. My next personal trip in a few weeks, though, he'll drive me. I guess I should ask him...

But, in reverse, they NEVER let me take THEM to the airport! I don't see why they should pay parking. I guess they worry abotu me missing time at work, but it's not a big deal. I ALWAYS offer!

“The two baby belly, please!”

Since: Sep 09

Evanston IL

#11 Feb 7, 2014
LW1: Bleck. I hate it when I agree with Amy.

Make sure your documentation has some kind of timestamp.

LW2: I would stay in touch for the sake of the cousins' relationship, even if right now it doesn't seem like much. One never knows...

LW3: OK, who didn't take this rehash to the airport? I thought I was clear the first three times!
Blunt Advice

Saddle River, NJ

#12 Feb 7, 2014
1. Use your phone as a recording device. It is not illegal. I know because several years ago I had a harassment problem and did some legal research before hiding a tape recorder on myself.
2. Stay on friendly terms with sil. Do it for the kids sake. Cousins are great.
3. LIMO LIMO LIMO LIMO LIMO LIMO. Can I rehash my opinion any further? save your time with your parents for something enjoyable. But then again, here in Joisey its not a fun drive to the airport and you can't even go inside to see them off.
Kuuipo

Marina, CA

#13 Feb 7, 2014
LW1: You like your workplace, but your boss is an old perv. You say he is several decades older. How close is he to retirement age? This problem could resolve in under a year if the old geezer retires. I'm going to disagree w/Amy because I have never known HR to be of any help whatsoever. Complaining about your manager to HR is rarely a good idea, IMHO. Anyway, because you like your workplace, start looking around for another department to transfer to.

LW2: Team Amy.

LW3: This rehash is moldy.
pde

Bothell, WA

#14 Feb 7, 2014
Blunt Advice wrote:
1. Use your phone as a recording device. It is not illegal. I know because several years ago I had a harassment problem and did some legal research before hiding a tape recorder on myself.
Whether it is legal or not depends on the state you are in, and whether state law or federal law applies in the location you are doing the recording at (look up one party consent versus all party consent). A number of states have all party consent laws. The federal law is one-party consent, but it's one of those laws that only really applies on federal grounds. State laws override if stricter.
liner

Delray Beach, FL

#15 Feb 7, 2014
L1. You had me until the "we're both gay" part.
Blunt Advice

Oakland, NJ

#16 Feb 7, 2014
pde wrote:
<quoted text>
Whether it is legal or not depends on the state you are in, and whether state law or federal law applies in the location you are doing the recording at (look up one party consent versus all party consent). A number of states have all party consent laws. The federal law is one-party consent, but it's one of those laws that only really applies on federal grounds. State laws override if stricter.
In NJ it is legal. After an incident I asked Div of Labor about my rights. This was more of a mean girl cat fight as opposed to sexual harassment but I kept a mini tape recorder in my suit jacket pocket for weeks before resigning. She must have known because she never said another word again. Dang. I really wanted to nail the b otch.
Rational in Chicago

AOL

#17 Feb 7, 2014
L1: Is your boss a Republican? If so, then it is definitely sexual harassment. He is also a pervert and is way past due for his come-uppance. Take him out, show him a good time and vidiotape everything. Then tell him he is to retire immediately and recommend you for his job.
If he is a Democrat then it's certainly just good-natured banter. He is just being friendly, so don't give it a second thought. Take this dear man out and show him a good time. He will remember that when you are due for a promotion.

L2: Sister in law knew what was going on and admires you for your stand. Confide in her with everything you want her brother and parents to know. Then stand by.

L3: Trip to the airport??? WAAAAGH! HOW PUSHY!!!!

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