“My New Male Boss Called Me and Other Women in the Office ‘Hens’!”

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    August 16, 2023 at 4:49 pm #1124882

    From a LW:

    “I requested to step down at work nine months ago for my own mental health. My boss hired a man to replace me without involving me in the process (her reasoning was I shouldn’t be able to pick my own boss). I was cool with that because I was just happy to step down and didn’t care who replaced me. Well, fast forward four months with an awkward male boss that something seemed off about. To the point I figured he was insecure and trying to push me out.

    Well, last week Friday he made a passing comment to two men in our office referring to me and other women in the office as “hens.” Needless to say, those of us who heard this (the two men included) were appalled. I went to HR. I was told they are handling it and not to discuss with anyone.

    I do know the other three people who directly heard the statement first hand were also interviewed. I spoke w them, and the two men are appalled and the other woman, like me, doesn’t wanna be around him anymore. We feel uncomfortable in the office. Today I put that in writing to HR noting that he asked me to do his administrative work which is way below me – I did it because he’s my boss technically. But I felt wrong knowing he thinks of me as a hen.

    It’s now day 3 of waiting.

    I sent HR an email indicating I’m no longer comfortable in the office until I have some direction from them on how to proceed. I don’t feel it’s appropriate to take direction from a supervisor that clearly doesn’t respect me. Am I overreacting?Is this still normal stuff that happens in offices and I’ve been lucky to not experience it?”

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    August 16, 2023 at 5:10 pm #1124887


    August 16, 2023 at 6:44 pm #1124888

    It doesn’t sound like you’re in the US and I only know how things work in the US, but as a people manager who takes annual harassment training and inclusive interactions training, I can tell you that what he did was absolutely an HR issue. It’s harassment to put someone down on the basis of a protected characteristic, and your company should take it seriously and not tolerate it.

    Were any of the bystanders who observed this a people manager? If so, they are actually obligated to report it, so if they didn’t that’s not cool. Even if they’re not people managers, they should have done the right thing and gone to HR.

    Does your company have an HR policy on harassment? Go to the intranet and look it up. Read about how they deal with harassment. I think they are obligated to deal with your complaint and then come back to you and explain the resolution. There’s a period of time where they have to look into it and corroborate with others and determine how widespread it is, so you need to be a little patient. If your complaint is the only one, I think they would talk to him about it and let him know he cannot say things like that. It would likely just be a discussion and reprimand. They would not fire him unless they looked into it and found a pattern of harassment and abuse, or he’d done something so egregious it was a fireable offense on its own.

    So what’s likely to happen is they’ll come back and let you know they talked to him and assure you this won’t happen again. If they don’t, something is wrong with that company. Unfortunately he’s probably not going anywhere though, and you may want to start looking around for other jobs if you can’t stand working for him.

    August 17, 2023 at 5:56 am #1124893

    HR may not come back to you with anything concrete – their role is to protect the company, not you. They may investigate, chastise him and require him to take some training.

    If nothing changes in the next couple of weeks, then you need to start looking for a new job. In the meantime, you can push back on work that is not in your job description. You can raise that with HR to ask why you are being asked to provide administrative support when it is not in your job description. And you can point out that none of the men are being asked to provide administrative support. Document poor behavior and save any emails. HR doesn’t want a lawsuit or negative PR. It’s in their interest to protect the company from this guy.

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