Dear Aunty B,
We have a 52-year-old male in the office who is a great performer and behaves himself all year. But at Christmas time he spends at least two weeks continually drunk. He comes back from a Christmas lunch at 5pm, swaggers into the office and tries to hug the women.
Usually he is harmless but one of our marketing staff who likes to wear disturbingly provocative tops has just complained to her manager that he groped her.
Usually the office women see him as a harmless old fool. But this year he has gone too far. The problem is he is also highly strung and I am concerned he will storm out if I confront him.
Should I just let the problem slide, hope he sobers up and she forgets about it?
It’s Christmas. You’re exhausted and for God’s sake, don’t you deserve a break too instead of having to deal with STAFF?
If only that was the case. But Hopeful, deal with it you must. First let’s clear up some of your muddled willyouallgoawayandgivemeabreak thinking.
Your use of the language “disturbingly provocative tops” is… disturbing. She is wearing a top and he is a groper. Full stop.
You also observe that the women see him as a harmless old fool. Rubbish. They regard him as a groping fool. You set the culture. And you are letting it happen!
Check out her story and if it stands up, call her into your office. Tell her the company’s position. Remind her that everyone has signed the policy on sexual discrimination. Tell her the groper’s behaviour is totally unacceptable and give her two options. He gets sacked or you talk to him, tell him of the complaint and give him a written warning.
Hopefully she will choose the latter, feel she is being listened to, feel action has been taken and that’s the end of it.
Hopefully Groper will wake up in the morning, cringe (not just at his hangover), listen to and heed your warning and never grope again.
Hopefully you get a nice Christmas with the best present ever – happy staff!
Can’t say I’m not hopeful.
Yours, Aunty B