DEAR MIKE: I think I made a major mistake at my place of employment and I’m dealing with consequences that are making me extremely angry.
I worked for this manufacturing company for about 10 years as an assembler. The job wasn’t bad but it was very boring, so over the past four years, I tried to find another position in the company.
I went back to school to get a degree, figuring it would help me advance but that didn’t seem to work. About a year ago, in a conversation with one of the vice presidents, I mentioned my desire to get another position and how disappointed I was that it hadn’t happened. He was very sympathetic; he told me to keep applying for open positions and he was sure something would come up. Well, not long after that, something came up and I was interviewed and got the job. I love the job, which is in the office.
Not long after I got the position, this particular vice president started to stop by my desk every day to chat. I thought it was just idle conversation at first, but it seems to be turning into a lot more than that. Last week, he approached me and asked me out. I was shocked. First of all, he is married and second, I don’t think it is appropriate. Naturally I refused and he seemed to take it in stride.
Then my supervisor — who is a woman — suddenly started finding fault with my work. I approached her and at first she said, “well, it is just you have started to slack off and I just want to keep you on track.”
When I pushed the issue, she pulled me aside and said, “Hey, honey, you should never have made a deal with that shark of a VP because he owns you now,” and walked away.
I continue to get called on every little thing. The other day, this VP came by my desk and asked me with a smirk on his face how it was going. I think he is making my supervisor harass me because I turned him down for a date. I am getting to the point that I hate going to work and it is affecting my personal life. Do you have any suggestions on what to do? — Susan
DEAR SUSAN: This sounds like harassment, and sexual harassment at that. Sexual harassment is something that the courts don’t look very kindly upon.
The first thing you should do is write down all the events, dates and times as best as you can recall. Second, keep a daily journal of what is happening to you. Then, approach your supervisor along with a union rep, or if there is no union, a fellow employee you can trust and tell her exactly what you believe is going on. Let her know that you are putting her on notice that if things don’t stop you are going to call your attorney.
If things don’t stop or if she just simply dismisses your complaint, contact a good labor lawyer and let the lawyer handle it. Harassment in the workplace especially sexual harassment has been around for years but the good thing these days it is not tolerated. Good luck. — Mike
Michael Hayden is a certified anger management counselor who runs Bay State Anger Management and Counseling in Chelmsford. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 978-606-3955.