A female employee in a large government department was recounting her experience in a mostly female team with a recently promoted male boss.

The boss was forever making sexually suggestive remarks, and movements of his body when talking with her and other staff. This staff member told him directly, more than once that his behaviour was offensive, but it persisted.

The crunch came when the staff member's daughter visited her at work, and sat waiting while the staff member went to attend to a task elsewhere. The boss came over to speak to the daughter, saying "Oh, just what I need, a nice young girl...." and gave a sleazy laugh. He then asked the staff member's daughter if she would get him a box of tissues, which were stored in the ladies toilets.

The daughter felt very uncomfortable and thought the boss was a total "creep".

Thestaff member then made a complaint to her boss' manager and the Equal Opportunity unit in the department. The boss issued a written apology, and different arrangements were made for the staffmember to have her performance appraisals done by another manager from a different section.

It came to light later that before the boss had even been promoted, he had been disciplined for having a sexual relationship with a departmental client, (who was subcontracted to provide child care). At the time, the boss' role was to monitor the quality of service provided by this person and others doing similar work.

It is hard to believe that in this day and age these sort of practices continue, and that the response of the organisatio can be so pathetic.

The female staff member has since been subjected to a range of discriminatory practices, although the harassment has stopped. She has been denied training opportunities, permision to use her vehicle for work related puroes (other staff have had approval) and denied permissionn to have time off in lieu of attending work related events and activities (other staff have had this approval).

I asked her whyshe did not make another complaint about this sort of treatment. Her response was that the organisation's way of dealing with her first complaint was so inadequate that she was discouraged from doing it again.

Is this sort of problem still wide spread in other areas? What suggestions would you have for this person?


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From Australia, Ballarat
Associate Director Legal
Hr Head With Pmi
Handwriting Analysis, Employee Relations,
Principal Hr Consultant (ohs&w)
Human Resources
Hr Consultant
Kiran Arora
Self Employed


hi numerouno...
the best way to deal with to launch a formal criminal complaint against the offender...companies normally take action against the offender..if they know that victim might lodge a criminal it brings down the goodwill of the company, but there are lot of social issues attached to getting involved in legal battle's...due to that lot of people refrain from it... comin to performance appraisals... company should folllow 360 degree a secret ballet type mode...wherin boss would also be afraid of his appraisal....govt shd make laws..that put fear in the hearts of they say fear is the best tool to curb any kind of violence.... comin to my personal opinion these "PEOPLE SHOULD BE STARNGLED WITH TELEPHONE CABLES IN FULL PUBLIC VIEW...".. iam very sorry to express such strong views...but my blood boils when i hear anythin of this sort happening....

From India, Mumbai
Ajmal Mirza

Hi numerouno,

It is really unfortunate that the company has not reacted to the first complaint and has actually given promotion to the boss who had to be disciplined for such behaviour in past.

It clearly shows that, the senior management is following the stakeholders policy for handling such situations... In which case the weightage given to the Boss is much higher [maybe because of certain reasons] than to the employee.

Suggestion for the employee

1. Increase the Weightage of Self

She needs to show some leadership skills and bring in all the ladies in the office under one umbrella. Put in a show cause notice to the management signed in support by all the other female staff.. That would considerably bring the required pressure on the senior management.

2. Take the printout of the "Sexual Harrasement Policy" of the company or in case the company does not have a written policy, take the copy of the act as drafted for by the Government and give it to the management alongwith the complaint again... This will make it clear to the management that she can take legal action in case the management is not taking sufficient corrective actions..

3. Take a Legal Action

If things don't change, move to some other company and start legal procedings against the Boss as well as the Organisation, so that the boss is punished for his act by the Law and the organisation realises that however important a person might be, they should not try to over-rule the law of the land.

And most important of it all, always give complaint in writing and take acknowledgement of senior managers all the complaints. It might come handy in case of Legal Action.

From India, Ahmadabad
can you help me by giving introduction definition meaning about labour&employee relationsand also for attrition


Whenever I hear or read of something like the harassment/discrimination directed toward any employee by a bully "boss" it makes me so furious that I can hardly see straight. Such conduct, aside from being socially, morally as well as legally reprehensible is pervasive simply because some people in authority and some organizations still believe that they are above the law. They flaunt their positions openly and challenge subordinates to petition for redress with the organization.

"The Staff member has been denied training opportunities, permission to use her vehicle for work related purposes; and denied permission to have time off in lieu of attending work related events and activities (other staff have had this approval). "

"..the organisation's way of dealing with her first complaint was so inadequate that she was discouraged from doing it again."

Clearly, this is a retaliatory reaction to her filing of a complaint, and may be the grounds for more serious charges against both the "boss" and the agency which has, in effect, condoned the practice of harassment and is evidently seeking to intimidate her and other employees "similarly situated" from filing charges or making complaints.

These kinds of practices are pervasive simply because the affected employees are faced with Senior Management complacency that they become frustrated and feel they have no one to turn to for redress. They eventually get disillusioned with the process and just make do. That is what harassers depend upon - that problems will simple vanish without much ado.

In fact, management's complacency is underscored by the promotion of the "boss" after being discipline for a sexual relationship with a department client, obviously a subordinate. (A quid pro quo situation?) What kind of message does that send to the rest of the organization? It's "open season" on subordinates, males as well as females; AND, instead of being punished or terminated you'll be promoted, so GO GET'EM.

I have some suggestions for the female in question and others "similarly situated".

First, document all occurrences/advances/statements/innuendos from the start. Include date, time, place, and witnesses, if any, as well as any conversation you had with friends/co-workers relative to the incident (record name of confidant, date, place, time). Also document your response to the "unwelcome behavior". ("I told him/her, repeatedly and emphatically, that I didn't appreciate his actions/comments/advances and wanted him/her to stop.")

Second, document all efforts to have the matter resolved internally - "boss's" boss, EEO Unit, HR Department. Retain copies of all letters, notes, etc. relative to your efforts, as well as Time, date, Department, and Person's name. (Take a friend/confidant with you to the meetings, as your witness to the proceedings.)

Third, document results of meetings. Short statement as to the general discussion of pervasive and on-going harassment, as well as discriminatory practices ( training opportunities, use her vehicle for work related purposes, being denied time off in lieu of attending work related events and activities (other staff have had this approval) and conclusions reached should suffice. Be sure "they" understand that you have other options to pursue if you don't get satisfaction internally.

Fourth, if no satisfaction from meeting, address a letter of complaint to the head of Human Resources, usually a Vice-president, and Chief Executive Officer. Be sure that the letters have a "Return receipt requested" attachment, or something similar which documents (by signature and date) the fact that the addressee. or a designate, actually received the letter.

Finally, if after a reasonable amount of time has transpired, and no satisfaction has been achieved, obtain legal counsel and explore your options - civil suit for nervous depression brought about due to hostile workplace environment.. Worker Compensation claim, etc.

In addition, contact the media and present the facts. They are always looking for a scandal, especially if it involves the government and an employee - a David v Goliath story always sells papers/ increases TV ratings.

From United States,

Thank you for all these replies. They confirm the kinds of things I advised the person concerned, but there are a few good suggestions I hadn’t thought of.
From Australia, Ballarat

hi all
i believe the person who doesnt say anythin n gets abused for no matter what reason is a fool...coz the more u put up with..the more torcher u get
its said na... "the person lettin the fault happen is at a bigger fault thn the one faulting"
its like the 3rd seat in he train... the more u put up with the 4th person pushing u...the more unconfortable u get :)
im sure the mumbai train commuters agree with me
so..i wld suggest somethin shd be done
paladin and ajmal hav really given some cool methods
hope it worked out fine, numerouno

From India, Mumbai

A short follow up from the original post (so long ago now!). The boss referred to in the first post in this thread was moved out of his job as a disciplinary measure and into a policy job. From there he moved to another job in which he had daily contact with (mostly female) clients of the department.
In the last couple of months it has emerged that he is now being "counselled" for having an affair with one of these women (whose husband recently died).
It is unbelievable that he still has a job!
Career Diagnostics

From Australia, Ballarat

yes it sure is unbelievable.
but thats corporate now, isn't it?

From India, Mumbai

It is surprising that no one in the management of the organisation has taken notice of this! Is the guy related to someone powerful? Praveen
From India
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