Help! My boss is a pest

By: MAURICE MATHEKA

When I got my current job a few months ago, my boss took me out for lunch on my first day at work and told me that I should be his side chick if I wanted the job badly enough.

I was shaken but I let it slide. Since then he touches me inappropriately and drops sexual innuendos in person or on SMS. I have so far managed to fend off his advances, but my current dilemma is that we are going on a work trip to Cape Town together

and he told me that this time round he will have his way with me. As a single mother of a 10-year-old boy without another source of support, I really need this job. It is well-paying and it has enabled me to enroll for my master’s, take a car loan and take

care of my bills comfortably. On the other hand, I do not want to give in to my boss to keep my job. He has threatened not to give me a favourable review on my probation report if I don’t comply.

Our overall boss believes everything my boss says, so I don’t really know who to turn to. What will I do?

READERS’ ADVICE

I am a single mother of a 13-year-old and I went through a similar experience. First of all, your boss’ word is not final.

If you are good at your job and your output is visible to everyone, especially to HR, you have nothing to worry about. Secondly, escalate this to HR, but keep it confidential and do not confide in anyone in the office about this to avoid fuelling unnecessary rumours.

Do not give in to his advances as this will make you lose respect for yourself. You got the job rightfully, don’t ruin it by sleeping with the boss for favours. You might even be surprised to see your boss leaving his job and leaving you working there.

So go to Cape Town. Get rooms on different floors if possible. Only relate with him when you are working. Keep yourself busy until you leave and don’t forget to shop for your son and create memories. It will be well. Idz Wanjiru

The law requires your employer to provide a working environment that is free from sexual harassment, but I suppose being on probation is what is making you worried about how to handle this.

Find out what the company’s policy on sexual harassment is, then write a formal complaint with details and present it to the HR manager or senior management for action. A written statement with evidence of your texts should be enough. Do this before you travel together for your assignment.

Disciplinary proceedings should be instituted against the offender even without disclosing the complainant. Should management fail to take action or if they fire you on grounds of this complaint, then report the matter to the labour office at the Ministry of

Labour which should investigate the matter and enable you to take legal action. Don’t be distressed. You are a qualified professional who can deliver results without having to contend with inappropriate behaviour from your boss. Annie Maina

There is no guarantee that when you give in to your boss’ sexual demands, he won’t get you fired anyway. If you are a member of a labour union, seek the intervention of the officials to fight this battle for you.

If this does not work, you will have to choose between your job and your dignity. All the best! Macharia N Calvin

EXPERT ADVICE

Maurice Matheka, a relationship counsellor answers:

Morally, the answer to your question is straightforward, but in reality it is not that easy. Considering you have evidence, you can report him to his senior or to human resources. But from my experience with clients who decided to report such matters, the complainant does not always receive justice.

Unfortunately, this world is cruel and at certain levels of influence and power, there are invisible dynamics that may not be in your favour. With this in mind, I can neither encourage nor discourage you, I can only guide you.

You have listed what you stand to lose if you don’t play ball. If I were you, I would take this as a challenge. Act a fool while pretending to play along but find ways to withhold your prized asset. You can weather this storm.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION