Business

Your Office Coach: Report suspected harassment to HR right away

Three months ago, I accepted a position with a large multinational company because it looked like a terrific career move. Unfortunately, however, my new boss appears to be interested in something other than my talents. "Scott" has said that he can provide me with excellent opportunities, but he seems to expect something in return. Scott often asks questions about my private life and sends me personal text messages at night. I'm in my early 20s, and this is only my second job. What should I do?

If your boss is offering to trade career advancement for sexual favors, that's a clear-cut case of sexual harassment. But even if the quid pro quo is not that obvious, his intrusive questions and texts are completely inappropriate and should not be tolerated.

In any large corporation, the human resources department will have well-established procedures for handling sexual harassment issues. Unfortunately, such complaints are not unusual, so your story won't be shocking or surprising. Talk to the HR manager.

In the meantime, continue to be polite and professional with Scott, but avoid isolated work areas. Don't respond to any texts or emails which are not job-related. If he inquires about personal matters, change the subject to work.

Sadly, a few predatory managers seem to target young women who are new to the workforce. Running into such a stalker at the beginning of your career can be a disheartening experience. Fortunately, the odds are good that future bosses will only be interested in your abilities.

Marie G. McIntyre, a workplace coach, gives free tips at yourofficecoach.com.

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