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I don't think i can be around this co-worker anymore.

Nurses   (4,725 Views 45 Comments)
by fulitarn fulitarn (Member)

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AmyJo2018 has 1 years experience.

753 Visitors; 31 Posts

An uninvited back-rub in a secluded closet? Whether you said anything to him at the time or not is irrelevant. Management/HR should definitely be involved.

You did the right thing. Again, after being hauled into the office and (hopefully) reprimanded, the same individual leans into your personal space? Let's see it from a reasonable person's perspective. If I had given someone an extended, intimate touch in a secluded area and ended up in the office, I would steer clear of that person. Of course, I wouldn't have taken that liberty in the first place knowing full well the inference that would be conferred. This guy should not even be working there. I would bet that this is not his first rodeo.

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464 Visitors; 63 Posts

You should not be the one to police his behavior and neither should your manager. If he, as a fully fledged adult, is not capable of interacting with women in ways that cannot be misconstrued as threatening, suggestive, inappropriate or harassing, then he's a liability to the integrity of the facility and HR needs to step in and alleviate the problem.

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5,614 Visitors; 719 Posts

There is nothing wrong with saying you are uncomfortable and the behavior needs to stop.

"I was very uncomfortable, and wanted to run. Several days later and I'm still having issues with it. I almost had a panic attack in the med room (another small, locked, enclosed space). I honestly don't know if I can continue working with him. I don't know what to do at this point. Please give me some advice."

Edited by Workitinurfava

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Creamsoda works as a RN ICU.

11,948 Visitors; 717 Posts

You should go directly to human resources. Sounds like hes been "counseled" about it before but clearly has not stopped. Bypass your manager and go to HR. I saw one commenter berate you for being so passive and to speak up in the moment. Everyone has a different response to harrasment. Dont feel bad because you couldnt speak up in the moment. Your response is fear and to freeze and that is normal especialy based on your past. Go straight to HR, this guy needs to go. He did this on purpose. He found you in a private/ closed space and did what he did on purpose. NORMAL people dont do that! Especially when hes been spoken to before.

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3 Visitors; 1 Post

You are an advocate for your patients. You need to be an advocate for yourself!

Whether he's creepy, clueless, or trying for considerate, he needs to know that you don't like what he's doing.... he'll never quit if you don't tell him to quit.

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amzyRN works as a RN-Emergency Services.

16,634 Visitors; 1,141 Posts

I would ask him not to talk to you anymore if it makes you uncomfortable, tell him you will report him for sexual harassment next time. Part of this is your disability though, making you extra sensitive, not a fault but causing you extra anxiety and discomfort. He shouldn't have touched you and it was correct to speak with your supervisor if you felt uncomfortable speaking with him directly. If you feel uncomfortable speaking with him again, speak to your supervisor so that he is only interacting with you in the performance of your duties and that the next step is to take it to HR.

However, I think you should also consider working with a therapist to develop more effective ways to assert yourself, to work beyond the trauma and build yourself up not as a victim but a survivor. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to tell this guy that what he did was inappropriate and that you wanted him to stop and to leave you alone? I would work toward that goal.

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GaryRay has 10 years experience and works as a Radiology.

3 Articles; 4,391 Visitors; 191 Posts

I'll start by saying that I have a of assault, anxiety and PTSD. Work had always been a safe place for me, until now.

I was in the supply room at work one day, looking for something. This room is a locked closet at the end of a long hallway, where nobody goes unless they are going to the supply room. As I was in there, a male coworker came in and saw me. I gave a cursory hello, and went back to looking. He then said "you look like you're waiting for one of my famous back rubs," and started rubbing my shoulders uninvited.

I froze until he stopped, then grabbed a random item and left. I was terrified and very upset. I spoke to my manager and he has been counseled about it, (he says it was a misunderstanding). But I was assigned patients in the same room as him the other day for the first time since it happened. The first part of the shift I was very busy and could not think about anything else, but then things slowed down and he tried to talk to me, making light conversation. He walked up behind me a few times to ask questions. He came and looked over my shoulder at my computer screen.

I was very uncomfortable, and wanted to run. Several days later and I'm still having issues with it. I almost had a panic attack in the med room

1) Your personal history has nothing to do with this. YOU are not the problem. Anyone would have been uncomfortable in this scenario other than an intimate partner of his. You are his co-worker. This is not appropriate behavior.

2) What you described could be word-for-word a script required of staff to watch in new employee orientation.

3) Shame on your boss for even telling him you made the complaint. "it was a misunderstanding" leads me to believe they actually told him you were uncomfortable in the supply room. That is extremely inappropriate leadership behavior.

4) You should feel safe at work. When you tell your boss someone is violating that safety, they have an obligation to protect you and make you feel safe. Being able to set boundaries is a great skill, but we don't all have it. Any working professional (especially one required to have yearly sexual harassment and mandatory reporting education) should know flirting and giving an uninvited backrub in a secluded private locked room is a boundary. You don't have to feel down because you didn't say it out loud.

You went up the chain of command and nothing was done. It is perfectly reasonable to go over your boss's head and make a formal report. I would write down specific dates and events before you do it, so you have your head on straight and don't feel like you are on the spot when you are telling them your concerns.

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464 Visitors; 63 Posts

You went up the chain of command and nothing was done. It is perfectly reasonable to go over your boss's head and make a formal report. I would write down specific dates and events before you do it, so you have your head on straight and don't feel like you are on the spot when you are telling them your concerns.

Exactly.

And if your manager buckles on you, tell him/her you were saving their butt too because if this guy pulls something like that on a patient and it comes out that the manager did nothing about a previous incident, that manager's gonna get canned.

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Ruby Vee has 40 years experience as a BSN.

11 Followers; 64 Articles; 169,021 Visitors; 13,798 Posts

My advice is to stop being so passive! Why did you "freeze" instead of saying, "Get your hands the **** off me?!" At the computer, you say you wanted to run, but you didn't. You sat there. Why? You're giving him all the power. He can feel it and he relishes it. STOP DOING THAT. When he came up to you again after being counseled, you should have firmly said, "Get away from me right now," and then moved to where other people were present.

Do not allow this to continue. Go back to HR and tell them he is continuing to get too close to you on purpose and imposing unwanted personal attention on you. But you have got to start sending clear, impossible to confuse messages to this creep and enlist your coworkers as helpers. Ask them to intervene if they see him getting too close or you seem uncomfortable.

Tell HR you can't work shifts with someone who is clearly laying the groundwork for sexual harassment or worse, and has already committed the first act of harassment.

Not everyone is comfortable handling things that way. I hate to engage in victim-blaming.

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Ruby Vee has 40 years experience as a BSN.

11 Followers; 64 Articles; 169,021 Visitors; 13,798 Posts

He was counseled about the first incident and it doesn't sound like he did anything wrong the second. Some people are very touchy without realizing how it could make someone uncomfortable. Since he knows now, he should never lay a hand on you again. Even so, your issues really shouldn't force him to constantly walk on eggshells around you. No problem with being clear that you are uncomfortable with him touching you, but working civilly beside him shouldn't be an issue.

If you're looking for advice: tell him you have some personal issues that cause hypersensitivity in certain situations and you like to maintain your personal space. Also you can apologize for acting weird, if you see fit. I'm sure that would be appreciated.

Since he was counseled after the first episode, he should have known better than to let the second one happen. A man who touches women without permission, especially after the past year of "Me Too" and who then approached the same woman in a manner that made her uncomfortable AFTER the touching incident probably deserves to walk on eggshells. And the woman should NOT have to apologize for being uncomfortable for not wanting to be touched OR for being uncomfortable with said man after the touching episode.

The onus should not be on women to apologize for "making men walk on eggshells"; it should be on men not to touch anyone without permission. And if they HAVE touched someone without permission, the next interaction should be to apologize for their actions. A straight up "I'm sorry I made you uncomfortable; it will not happen again" is called for. And then don't let it happen again.

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Ruby Vee has 40 years experience as a BSN.

11 Followers; 64 Articles; 169,021 Visitors; 13,798 Posts

Unless I'm missing something, he backrubbed you, you went to HR to correct it, then he looked over your shoulder to see a computer screen. Was he touching you or the chair? Was it a work computer or your own? The way you describe the event, I don't think he did anything wrong to just look at a computer screen.

Coming up behind someone to look at their computer screen is rude, intrusive, and could be expected to make someone feel uncomfortable. Looking at the computer screen is rude and intrusive, but how close to the OP did he have to be to look over her shoulder. If someone had come up behind me to give me an uninvited and unwelcome back rub, I sure wouldn't want them coming up behind me for any reason (unless they were pushing me out of the way of a collapsing roof). The fat that he did so -- and hasn't apologized sincerely for the back rub incident -- tells me he just doesn't get it. No woman should have to put up with that sort of $#!t! He did something wrong. He probably knows it. The OP shouldn't have to be the one walking on eggshells -- the male coworker should be the one doing so. He's the one who screwed up in the first place.

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464 Visitors; 63 Posts

Coming up behind someone to look at their computer screen is rude, intrusive, and could be expected to make someone feel uncomfortable. Looking at the computer screen is rude and intrusive, but how close to the OP did he have to be to look over her shoulder. If someone had come up behind me to give me an uninvited and unwelcome back rub, I sure wouldn't want them coming up behind me for any reason (unless they were pushing me out of the way of a collapsing roof). The fat that he did so -- and hasn't apologized sincerely for the back rub incident -- tells me he just doesn't get it. No woman should have to put up with that sort of $#!t! He did something wrong. He probably knows it. The OP shouldn't have to be the one walking on eggshells -- the male coworker should be the one doing so. He's the one who screwed up in the first place.

Truth.

Context matters.

If that guy is NOT walking on eggshells after an incident of unwanted touching, he's either a blazing idiot or he just doesn't give a damn. Either way, he's a liability to the facility.

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