Feh !

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

Our office has its annual party between Christmas and New Years. It’s
an attempt by management to avoid having the whole place shut down
for two weeks. It’s unofficially mandatory to attend, so most of the
staff keeps themselves busy with heavy alcohol consumption. One of
my colleagues got drunk and said some very inappropriate things to
me. He is no one I would ever have thought about dating even without
this incident, which included both several attempts at groping and a
vivid description of how I played in his fantasy life. At the time I
walked away (several times but finally successfully), remained for the
corporate announcements but avoided him, and stayed glued to a
buddy for the rest of the evening whom I told about his behavior. It’s
a big company but our jobs do intersect regularly. No one is anyone’s
boss. Do I write it off or should I say or do something?

Feh !

Dear Feh:

You can’t protect yourself from someone else’s fantasy life. But within
a corporate environment you have lots of recourse to protect yourself
from bad language and groping, which translate as sexual harassment.
You should not have to avoid this person. On the contrary, he should
apologize to you and then be very carefully appropriate from this point

You have two choices, both of which lead to the Human Resources
Department door. The first is to go to the offender directly, and tell
him that you were very disappointed and concerned by his behavior.
Doing this first gives him a chance to apologize, say it was a one-time
lapse of judgment, and gives you to reinforce that if it happens again
you will report him to Human Resources.


The alternative is to go to HR
first, and tell them that you are going to do so. The problem is that if it
truly was a one-time event, you may be starting something you will
have to follow up, could impact his career, and get you tagged as a
whiner. In your favor is his reference to fantasies. But ultimately this
will come down to a he-said/she- said scenario. You are completely in
the right and a competent HR person will both tell you what your
options are and protect you. But like any tarbaby, it’s going to stick to
you too. No, life isn’t always fair. I’d ask for a confidential meeting
with HR, explain your preference for proceeding, and see what they
say. Either way you will learn a lot