Lady Business: The inappropriate boss

He's always scratching his crotch in front of me. Is it sexual harassment, bad manners or a medical condition?

Topics: Lady Business, Broadsheet, Love and Sex,

Lady Business: The inappropriate boss

I have a problem with my boss. Whenever I go into his office, he’s scratching his crotch. I can’t tell if it’s a health thing, or a boner thing, or just a bad manners thing. It makes me really uncomfortable. Should I say something?

He’s what-ing his what? Are you KIDDING ME? And to think that it was only recently when women weren’t allowed into the workplace. Not that our crotches are any less scratchable (especially four days out of a bikini shave), but at least we are discreet enough to do the majority of our privates-clawing during our after-work hours.

And as for your extremely generous multiple choice attempt at understanding why your boss would ever, EVER, think it would be OK to rummage around his business in a place of business, that’s just a case of inappropriate empathy. There are worse diagnoses! But of the choices you’ve laid out, I’d give a resounding yes to your hunch that his public pubis-tousling is most definitely a “Bad Manners” thing, and whether he’s in need of a dermatologist or he’s just “hard at work,” so to speak, his reasons for relieving himself in front of you are so irrelevant, I actually just got angry typing that right now.

You Might Also Like

This problem — which is, by the way, his problem way more than yours, though it doesn’t seem that way because you’re the one who’s uncomfortable and he’s the one who’s merrily rough-housing his groin — has “HR” written all over it. I would strongly recommend that you visit someone in the Human Resources department and voice your discomfort. They should be the ones to talk to him about it and protect you by keeping you anonymous — which is absolutely reasonable, because he could very well be raking his junk in front of any number of employees — not to deny you of any, um, flattery.

Any company sexual harassment policy should include his behavior as an example of something that is absolutely in no way cool. Whether or not he considers his behavior a subconscious tic, a medical condition or a sexual come-on, however bizarre (remember Clarence Thomas’ winning lines?), touching your crotch in front of your female underling is not something that you can do. So consult those boring packets you were given on your first day, and go have a closed-door convo with the dude or lady who handed them out.

And in the meantime, try to keep any interactions with your boss either on the phone or over IM. At least in the latter case, his hands will be occupied with the keyboard. That poor, gross keyboard.

Julie Klausner is a New York City writer and performer. She is the writer of Salon's Lady Business column and the author of "I Don't Care About Your Band."

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Martyna Blaszczyk/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 1

    Pond de l'Archeveche - hundreds thousands of padlocks locked to a bridge by random couples, as a symbol of their eternal love. After another iconic Pont des Arts bridge was cleared of the padlocks in 2010 (as a safety measure), people started to place their love symbols on this one. Today both of the bridges are full of love locks again.

    Anders Andersson/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 2

    A bird's view of tulip fields near Voorhout in the Netherlands, photographed with a drone in April 2015.

    Aashit Desai/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 3

    Angalamman Festival is celebrated every year in a small town called Kaveripattinam in Tamil Nadu. Devotees, numbering in tens of thousands, converge in this town the day after Maha Shivratri to worship the deity Angalamman, meaning 'The Guardian God'. During the festival some of the worshippers paint their faces that personifies Goddess Kali. Other indulge in the ritual of piercing iron rods throughout their cheeks.

    Allan Gichigi/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 4

    Kit Mikai is a natural rock formation about 40m high found in Western Kenya. She goes up the rocks regularly to meditate. Kit Mikai, Kenya

    Chris Ludlow/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 5

    On a weekend trip to buffalo from Toronto we made a pit stop at Niagara Falls on the Canadian side. I took this shot with my nexus 5 smartphone. I was randomly shooting the falls themselves from different viewpoints when I happened to get a pretty lucky and interesting shot of this lone seagull on patrol over the falls. I didn't even realize I had captured it in the shot until I went back through the photos a few days later

    Jassen T./National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 6

    Incredibly beautiful and extremely remote. Koehn Lake, Mojave Desert, California. Aerial Image.

    Howard Singleton/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 7

    Lucky timing! The oxpecker was originally sitting on hippo's head. I could see the hippo was going into a huge yawn (threat display?) and the oxpecker had to vacate it's perch. When I snapped the pic, the oxpecker appeared on the verge of being inhaled and was perfectly positioned between the massive gaping jaws of the hippo. The oxpecker also appears to be screeching in terror and back-pedaling to avoid being a snack!

    Abrar Mohsin/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 8

    The Yetis of Nepal - The Aghoris as they are called are marked by colorful body paint and clothes

    Madeline Crowley/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 9

    Taken from a zodiac raft on a painfully cold, rainy day

    Ian Bird/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 10

    This wave is situated right near the CBD of Sydney. Some describe it as the most dangerous wave in Australia, due to it breaking on barnacle covered rocks only a few feet deep and only ten metres from the cliff face. If you fall off you could find yourself in a life and death situation. This photo was taken 300 feet directly above the wave from a helicopter, just as the surfer is pulling into the lip of the barrel.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>