Saturday 18 November 2017

Ask Brian: My married boss kissed me on a night out and is making sexual advances in the office

Brian O'Reilly

Brian O'Reilly

Our no-nonsense agony uncle gets straight to the point of your most pressing issues.

Dear Brian,

I'm hoping you can help me.

I finished college last year and have spent the past couple of months interning for a reputable company (I don't want to say the field I work in for anonymity's sake).

My line manager has been really helpful since I joined and I was hopeful the internship would lead to a job.

But several weeks ago after a staff night out, he kissed me. He's married with two young children and 14 years my senior. His wife is expecting their third child.

I was surprised and when I pushed him away he told me to "lighten up" and "stop acting so frigid". I didn't know what to do so I let him kiss me before making an excuse and jumping in a cab and heading home.

Ever since things in work have been weird - I don't want to give him the cold shoulder and risk missing out on a good job but he's started saying very inappropriate and sexual things to me under his breath when we're in the office.

I'm worried that if we're alone together he'll try to kiss me again. I'm also worried that if I don't go all the way he'll bad mouth me to other staff members.

He's been in the company for years - and they're more likely to believe a reliable worker/ married dad of two than a dime-a-dozen intern. What should I do?

 

Brian replies:

 

Hi Anon,

This seems to be a very toxic situation and I don't feel any job is worth it.

The situation you described when he kissed you on the night out is verging on sexual assault - he continued to pressure you to kiss him until you gave in, despite not being comfortable with it.

Once you pushed him away he should have backed off, you clearly weren't into it.

It says a lot about his moral fibre that he would so flagrantly violate his marriage vows in plain view of others. The fact he has two children with a third on the way makes it even more reprehensible.

You shouldn't have to feel awkward in your place of work because of his actions. And he most certainly should not be making sexual comments towards you.

You say you're afraid to be alone with him in case he tries it on says it all. You shouldn't be on tenterhooks somewhere you spend a considerable portion of your time.

However we don't live in a world of shoulds and coulds, you have to confront the situation that faces you.

I agree with you that there is a risk in reporting it, it will come down to he says/she says - and you say he is well respected in the company.

However even if disciplinary action is not taken against him it would fire a warning shot that you don't find his behaviour acceptable. If he has any sense after the complaint he would back off. And if the company has any sense they won't allow a complaint like this to impact your progression.

Don't put up with his sleazy behaviour one day longer, it's not appropriate and he shouldn't think your silence is a sign of condoning it.

If none of this works don't stay. No workplace is worth it and if they don't deal with it effectively they're not worth working for either.

You're just out of college, the world is your oyster.

 

 

Do you have a problem you'd like some advice on? Email askbrian@independent.ie  to submit in confidence.

Online Editors

Promoted Links

Style Newsletter

Stay on top of the latest fashion, beauty and celeb gossip in our Style newsletter.

Promoted Links

Editors Choice

Also in this section