I am a woman who has been working on a team of men for a number of years now. Up until recently I have been treated very well and with respect. I love my job and get on well with my boss and colleagues.
A few weeks ago, my boss hired a friend of his to join our team. He is, admittedly, very good at his job and my boss thinks very highly of him.
Initially we got along well, but after he found out I was single, he started making unwanted advances towards me. It was just talking in the beginning. Asking questions about me personally. I originally just thought he was being friendly, but grew uncomfortable when he started moving into my personal space. I thought it was just in my head until he started touching my arm and shoulder. I politely moved out of the way.
I got up the courage to talk to my boss about it. We have a good relationship and I thought since they knew each other that could help. My boss just brushed it off and said he was just a flirt and that I had nothing to worry about. He seemed completely unconcerned about my discomfort.
So now it has escalated to the point where he is making serious advances on me. I have repeatedly turned down his invites to coffee/lunch/dinner and am now actively avoiding him as much as possible. He has become increasingly arrogant and bold in his statements. My colleagues know, but they don't know how bad it has become. As far as I can tell, they think he's just a flirt.
I am not very experienced in dealing with men like this. I have a quiet personality and generally avoid confrontation. I realize that other women probably would have slapped him by now or something. But that's something I wouldn't do.
I now am at a loss. I am seriously considering looking for another job. Apart from this, I love my job and find it rewarding. I don't want to leave. I also don't want to give up because of him.
How do I make him stop this? Or convince my boss that this is serious?
The company is a small start-up in California. My boss is the CEO.
As an example, I used to get to work early and often was one of the first ones there. He boxed me in in the kitchen and said I deserved to be "punished" for a bug found in my code the day before. He then claimed I'd "enjoy being spanked". I was speechless, no man has spoken to me like that before, with such presumption.
I thought I was quite clearly declining his invitations, but these comments are making me question if I was clear enough. I initially said "No, thanks", and later "I'm not interested" when he persisted. He seems to be completely unfazed by my rejection and claims that "I want him and just don't know it yet". This morning he touched my face and I pushed his hand out the way and said "don't touch me!". He seemed surprised but it didn't seem to bother him too much. I am trying to be more assertive and more clear that I'm not interested. I am, frankly, terrified of this man.
When I spoke to my boss the first time, things weren't that bad but now I'm going to make a serious case and be more detailed in my examples of his behaviour (as suggested). I am at the point where I don't care what happens with the job, I just want this over. It is stressing me out and making it hard to get myself to work every day.
Thanks for the answers, they have been so helpful. I thought I didn't have a chance and now I feel more hopeful.
So I spoke to my boss this afternoon and gave him a list of what happened and when and I think he was pretty shocked. He said he'd investigate. I also think he saw I was upset about the whole thing because he also said I could work from home the rest of the week.
It's a relief already that he knows, and took it seriously.
It all worked out in the end. I still have my job, my coworker no longer has his. It came out that this wasn't the first time this has happened; he's had a history of behaving this way at previous companies. My boss knew about his history and hired him as a favour because he was having difficulty getting a job elsewhere.
I'm still feeling very unsure about the whole thing. The fact that my boss knew about his history and let this happen is very bothersome to me. I am looking for a new job now, even though this has worked out in my favour. I don't respect my boss and his character anymore.
Thanks so much to everyone for their advice and encouragement! I am certainly a lot happier now and relieved this is over.
It's been a couple of years later now and I basically ended up leaving the company and getting another job. I'm now at a much better company on a new team of amazing respectful people and it is so nice to have this all behind me.