Sexual harrassment or just an old creep?

  1. Ok yall so I need some insight. I've been working at my current job for almost 2 years. There is an older guy that works here, a pharmacist, in his 60s that has often chatted with me and I literally never thought anything of it. He's a very interesting individual. Used to work for the DEA part of FBI and raided drug neighborhoods and things of that sort. He was always friendly and spoke and I was friendly and spoke.

    So now all of a sudden, it's dawned on me like, goodness he's down here a lot lately. Well he's coming down to my unit (ER) 4, 5, 6 times in a 12 hr shift and comes over and wants to talk. He's said "Hi beautiful" to me twice and once came up behind me a whispered really close to my face in what I consider a creepy way. He'll come down before his shift is over to say bye and talks to me like I'm his wife. It's embarrassing! My coworkers are like "Boy he's really on to you" and laugh. They'll even tell me if they see him so I can go hide somewhere. He looks for me they say, if he can't find me. I'm getting really tired of it and quite honestly I want him to go AWAY. I'm married in my 30s and am not interested dude. I am even giving him a straight face and he still isn't getting it. He said "You don't seem like yourself today. You're not as happy." Not only is it just getting old, I have work to do. what do yall think? I am overreacting??
  2. Visit CBlover profile page

    About CBlover, BSN, RN

    Joined: May '15; Posts: 515; Likes: 1,718

    82 Comments

  3. by   Sour Lemon
    From your own account, you've enjoyed interacting with him until recently. If he's not getting your hints, you may just need to be a little more direct.
    I wouldn't assume he's a creep or sexually harassing you unless you tell him your thoughts and his behavior continues.
  4. by   cleback
    The whispering is kind of crossing a line. Did he stop when you pulled away? Hopefully he got the hint.

    As for the chit chat, it depends. Some of my coworkers are chatty cathys and pop in multiple times a shift to check in. So it's not really creepy behavior but ifor it's bothering you, just smile and say you have to get back to work. Doing that enough should decrease the frequency.

    And for the greeting, you just got to set the tone. One of the older docs used to say "hello sweetheart". He was in his 50s and I was in my 20s. I don't think he was trying to imply by it but it was still inappropriate. I replied by saying "hello champ" and he backed off. Otherwise, if you want to be more direct, just say "thanks but I prefer to be called..."
  5. by   llg
    I think you just gave him the wrong impression -- and now you have to make sure there is no misunderstanding between you.
  6. by   Davey Do
    Well, I don't think his behavior is necessarily sexual harassment, CBlover, but as Sour Lemon said, "unless you tell him your thoughts (and feelings of being uncomfortable around him) and his behavior continues". Then I'd suggest you take it to the next level.
  7. by   psu_213
    Obviously I'm not there, and I did not see/hear exactly what he did/said. However, based on your description, it does not sound like sexual harassment.

    As for creepy--he may honestly believe that he is not doing anything wrong, but I think creepiness is in the eye of the beholder. If you find it creepy, then I would say it is creepy.

    My advice, be non-emotional and straight forward with him. He says, "Hi beautiful," then flat out tell him "I don't like to be called that. Please call me by [NAME]." If comes close and whispers to you, pull away and say "please do not stand that close to me." You can say it makes you uncomfortable if you want, but you don't owe him any explanation for not wanting his attention. If you tell him, and if behavior continues that makes you feel uncomfortable, then escalate it to you manager. No one deserves to feel uncomfortable in this manner at work.
  8. by   Been there,done that
    Kinda hard to tell if he just wants to talk ... or wants more. There is no way I would hide from him.
    Use the "I can't talk right now, I have work to do" excuse... until he gets the picture.
  9. by   Daisy4RN
    It sounds like you just need to set some professional boundries with him. It doesn't sound like sexual harassment, at least not at this point. I would just start playing things down, say things like...I am so busy now (and then walk away)... wow, you are in the ER again...mention you are married (my husband and I are having a date tonight etc), and hopefully he will get the message, if not you may have to be more direct (I am married and not interested in a relationship etc). Hopefully after that he will get the message. Getting HR involved would be my last resort but I would use it if necessary. Good luck, this can be difficult in a work environment!
  10. by   iluvivt
    He is enjoying your company and companionship and be may be looking for more and for sure more of the same. You are going to have to take him aside and tell him as not only will it solve your problem it is a kind thing to do.Here is what I would say, I value our work FRIENDSHIP but it can't interfere with my abilty to get my work done so going forward I need you to call and see if I am available for a break as opposed to coming to the department and I may or may not be depending upon the workload.You need to stress the word friendship as you are declaring that is all you want and you are also asking him to stop coming to the department looking for you.Notice, that you are not assuming or even asking if he as a sexual interest in you because that may not be the case.He must honor your request or he can't even be a work friend.
  11. by   CharleeFoxtrot
    Quote from Been there,done that
    Kinda hard to tell if he just wants to talk ... or wants more. There is no way I would hide from him.
    Use the "I can't talk right now, I have work to do" excuse... until he gets the picture.
    Nods. Or when says "Hello beautiful" I'd reply with something referencing my spouse as in "Oh thank you but even when MY LOVING LAWFULLY WEDDED HUSBAND says that I get a little uncomfy." and then go on with "Can't believe we've been married this long, how times flies when you're happy."(BIG SMILE) "Gotta go work now, enjoy your day!"(spin around and exit).
  12. by   hherrn
    Quote from Daisy4RN
    It sounds like you just need to set some professional boundries with him. It doesn't sound like sexual harassment, at least not at this point. I would just start playing things down, say things like...I am so busy now (and then walk away)... wow, you are in the ER again...mention you are married (my husband and I are having a date tonight etc), and hopefully he will get the message, if not you may have to be more direct (I am married and not interested in a relationship etc). Hopefully after that he will get the message. Getting HR involved would be my last resort but I would use it if necessary. Good luck, this can be difficult in a work environment!
    I was thinking on those lines- frequent mention of your husband.

    I work in an ER with an atmosphere many might call inappropriate. A lot of joking, sexual innuendo, etc. I am sure some folks would be horrified at some of the joking that happens.
    FWIW, I have never seen anybody harassed, or made to feel uncomfortable it is just the culture of a unit that deals with some high stress situations, and is staffed by good people.
    I am sometimes the only guy on a shift with 6 nurses, a tech, 2 docs and a midlevel. I frequently talk about my wife. Any coworker who knows me at all, knows that I am completely in love with her, and am not interested in anybody else.
  13. by   Rocknurse
    Any behavior that makes you feel uncomfortable at work can actually be classed as sexual harassment, believe it or not. Back when I was with my ex-wife, she would casually mention me at work (she is an RT. I'm a woman and we were a lesbian couple). One of her coworkers complained about her because they were anti-gay and didn't want to hear my ex-wife mention me, even when she was just innocently talking about how we were gardening or something equally innocuous. Her manager actually wrote her up for sexual harassment based on that. She never mentioned sex or anything improper. It was just the fact she was with a woman and it made her coworker uncomfortable. Sad but true.
  14. by   Orion81RN
    I was reading a thread recently on FB where so many people thought it was perfectly appropriate to flirt in the work place. Both men and women. But it really puts us in a very awkward position when the feelings are not mutual. I mean look at the extent that this is making you uncomfortable. You have to come to a discussion board for advice on it. Why don't people just understand that this is not ok.

    It's easier outside of work to turn someone down. But at work...it just gets more uncomfortable. And it's not right.

    Slight flirting in some work place environments...fine, IF clearly reciprocated. Otherwise....just..no.

close