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I'm 36, married with two kids aged 7 and 8, been with my wife since I was 21.

For the past few weeks, I've been sexually harassed by a co-worker; he's been asking me about things like oral sex, whether I'm obese, my preferred sexual position, color of my underwear etc.

I've reported this to the boss every time; it's already recorded on security camera, since said co-worker does it in the car park (but a private part).

However, this co-worker has a wife and a now 8-year-old son, met them at the Christmas party a year ago.

The boss isn't interested in taking any action, saying he's busy thinking about buying another company. I reported it a year ago when my co-worker first started doing it, he said wait until I had more evidence, so I did

I've worked at this firm since April 2012, and things have been mostly good until this co-worker joined in November 2017; he's done this for a year.

This isn't joshing amongst bros, it's quite sickening.

The boss is doing nothing, my wife's noticing the stress; I told her about this, what should I do?

I don't really want to quit my job (I'm a sysadmin, the only one for my employer), as it'd be hard to find someone in the area (it's a medium-sized town) with my skills and experience; I've been into IT since I was 18.

Need some advice here.

  • 1
    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Jane S Nov 27 '18 at 3:08
  • Just because you are male, doesn't mean it is less serious matter than sexual harassment if you were a female. Escalate to HR, and take legal actions against both the company and that person, if company fails to take strict actions. And don't be afraid to take risk or big decisions. Your company definitely don't care about you. Is this particular job more important to you than your mental sanity and self respect? – VarunAgw Nov 29 '18 at 23:02
21

Talk to your union if you have one, otherwise find an employment lawyer. You say there is evidence so take action now before that evidence gets destroyed. This has been going on far too long.

Buy an empty notebook. Write down in a log all details about the past events that you can remember, case by case with as specific dates and times as possible, including when you told your manager and what was their reponse. In the future log (with timestamps) every time something like this happens, including specific words by the prepetrator and the response from your manager. Your log book can be used as evidence.

I don't really want to quit my job (I'm a sysadmin, the only one for my employer), as it'd be hard to find someone in the area (it's a medium-sized town) with my skills and experience

This kind of loyalty to your employer is not in your best interest. If anything, worry about what jobs you can find, not whether your employer can find a replacement. It is their risk for doing business. You have been upfront about this problem and your employer have told you that your issue is not important for them. They have decided that the IT function is not important enough to spend resources managing. It is not your job to make up for this shortfall by accepting sexual harassment and bullying.

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    In the absolute worst case, perhaps a lawyer could help you get a restraining order; if the act of receiving it does not stop him, then he is open to prosecution is he repeats it. – Mawg Nov 26 '18 at 7:55
7

You say you've reported this to your boss many times, but have you actually spoken to the co-worker about this?

Listen, Bob, I'm really not comfortable with the way you keep asking me about personal and sexual things, like my favourite position or the colour of my underwear. I'd like you to please stop asking about things like this.

You say it's not joshing among bros, I take your word for that. But it may still be some sort of misunderstanding. Maybe Bob just doesn't see this as crossing any lines (hard though it may be to believe, there are some people who just don't get it.)

If that doesn't work, and given your boss's proven apathy, I would tend to agree Emil's answer that it's time to get a lawyer involved. You may want to consider giving your boss a heads-up that you're thinking of taking legal action, just to see if that gets him to finally respond, but I would honestly speak to the lawyer about that idea first, just to see what he says.

5

The usual escalation path is as follows - In the USA, at least. I am assuming you don't have a union. If you do... well... bug your union rep, they know your work better than the internet does.

  1. Talk to the co-worker and ask them to stop. You only need to do this once.
  2. Talk to your boss and give him an opportunity to end the problem. You don't need to gather more evidence or do his investigation for him. The fact that he's busy doesn't matter.
  3. Talk to your work HR department. Likely they know their legal obligations to prevent workplace harassment and are going to be pissed at your boss for sitting on this for a year.
  4. Talk to the EEOC directly. File a claim that you were sexually harassed and nothing was done and they will come knocking. You don't need a lawyer to file a complaint.

If you don't get to step 4, great! It's been resolved! If you do, then you have ample evidence that you've given your work opportunities to resolve this, and they'll be able to drop the hammer.

1

Due to the tone of your question, I assume you don't want to escalate into legal action or threats thereof.

If you only want to take minimal action, you can start with asking for a letter of reference or a locality-dependent equivalent action that tells them you might either be looking for a better job, or expect that the relationship between you and the company might worsen.

Beyond that, if we're talking non-confrontational actions, the next step is to actually look for a better job.

In any case you will want to write things down (date, time, what, and who), and not rely on the company writing down your complaints for you, in case the situation somehow suddenly develops in unexpected and unwanted directions.

-6

It is very VERY hard to prove a sexual harassment case when you are male. More so if the perpetrator is also a male.

You need to talk to your coworker directly, and firmly let him know that you don't like his behavior, and you want it to stop NOW

See if that stops it, as you've already gone to your boss, that is no longer an option unless you take the next steps.

  • Document EVERYTHING, you need to be able to prove a pattern
  • See a lawyer (You will need enough money for a retainer).
  • If you decide to go the legal route, be prepared for a years long process
  • After you've documented everything and built a file, bring a copy to your lawyer and your boss.
  • If nothing is done, be prepared to move on. Have your resume ready, and some applications going out.
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    It is very hard to prove a sexual harassment case no matter what gender you are. – BigMadAndy Nov 26 '18 at 6:01
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    @385703 there is a double standard that few seem willing to acknowledge. – Retired Codger Nov 26 '18 at 15:50
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    @RichardU, Oh yeah, all the scandals of the last years, when it became clear women were harassed in tech companies and not only there, reported it repeatedly and nobody did anything, apart from, in some cases, suggesting them to search for a new job, make it clear men have it so much worse. – BigMadAndy Nov 26 '18 at 16:29
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    @385703 Well, you're demonstrating that you don't think it's a problem at all, which is proving my point now, isn't it? – Retired Codger Nov 26 '18 at 16:38
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    @RichardU That's an unwarranted conclusion. 385703 thinks it's a problem for both men and women. You're the one who seems to think it's only a problem if the victim is male. I think you should delete that comment and possibly apologize. – David Thornley Nov 27 '18 at 16:21

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