Sexual harassment at work

Feb 26, 2019

QUESTION I originally planned on writing a few weeks ago but kept delaying somewhat out of embarrassment. Then I figured I would have more clarity after our retreat; although, as it turns out after sitting in silence for the weekend I returned to this Harvey Weinstein madness – so the situation was amplified

Over the past few months I been being sexually harassed by my boss. Unfortunately, our office is small, I work direct and only for him, we do not have an HR department, and the boss above him isn’t much better. Similarly, my receptionist has complained about my boss and was ignored. He brings in a good amount of money – and everyone shrugs off his behavior because “he’s old.”

At first it started with little things like constantly staring at my breasts (which I’m just used to – so I just brushed it off) or telling me how attractive I am when I wear my hair down as opposed to back. Then he started telling me stories about when he “cheated on his wife in the 90s with his secretary who had a gap in her front teeth and would seductively rub her tongue through it” to get him aroused. He has continued to tell me this story on various occasions and he says he’s sure that I’m “doing fine in the sex department” and don’t need any advice from him.

He’s also joked with the building’s receptionist that he was “taking me to a hotel” when we were dressed up for an office party at a rooftop bar – it was his response to the receptionist commenting on how nice I looked in my dress.

At this point I’m pretty grossed out. He knows that he shouldn’t say these things and often prefaces them with “I know I shouldn’t say this but. . .”. 

I’ve reached out to head hunters and have been looking for another job, but right now I feel really uncomfortable, stuck, weak, and sad. I literally had to take a valium to go to work the other day. I have to be to work at 10:30am and will wake up at 6 am and still be late because I spend 3 hours convincing myself that I have to go in. As I approach my office my eyes sometimes well up with tears because I just don’t know what to expect or just sad that I have to spend another day here.

I do my best to avoid him (or at the very least avoid having to be alone with him), but really cannot since I work directly for him.

I just honestly don’t even know what to do. It’s just so amazing how reliant we are on money, because I would not tolerate this nonsense in any other area of my life. I also fear that speaking out will hurt my chances at getting a job elsewhere, which is why I have been trying to stick around while applying/searching, but honestly cannot take much more of this.  

Thanks so much for listening/reading. Please give me whatever advice you can.

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