A sex-crazed office manager asked a terrified female employee what she thought she could do better at work — and then suggested: “You could sleep with me, for a start.”
Another pervy boss told a woman to “grow up” before repeatedly instructing her to go upstairs with him and he would “get a condom.”
The shocking tales of workplace harassment, from a study of 2,000 UK women by international employment law firm McAllister Olivarius, echo the findings of a recent poll by the TUC.
One in three British women have been subjected to harassment or discrimination by bosses, according to the research.
The poll reveals many have had their work and achievements ‘hijacked’ by male colleagues or have suffered demeaning language or verbal abuse.
And shockingly, the research by the law firm reveals that many British women have been sexually assaulted by colleagues or superiors.
Incidents of workplace groping were commonplace. One reported a colleague had “touched her bare thigh” at the top of her leg after putting his hand up her skirt.
Another said: “A fellow store worker used to ‘accidentally’ bump into or ‘fall into’ or get too close to me and touch my chest or bum … In fact I was told I was reading too much into it.
“He used to touch my legs to see if I shaved or not and ask me about my sexual preferences when no one else was around.”
And another revealed: “I was slapped on the bottom by an older male employee and called ‘a naughty girl.’”
One respondent replied: “A manager slapped a staff member on the arse, When she complained he said ‘what’s your problem? It’s not like I raped you.’ ”
Another claimed: “I was having an appraisal and my manager asked ‘what I could do better within my job,’ he said ‘well you could sleep with me for a start.’ ”
And one woman revealed: “I had bought some underwear in my lunch break and my boss insisted on opening the carrier bag and waving the bras round showing everyone in the office.”
The survey conducted by OnePoll for McAllister Olivarius, which specialises in employment and harassment cases, also revealed the shocking depths that some co-workers will stoop to in their discrimination.
Senior Partner, Dr Ann Olivarius, said: “It’s horrifying that this behaviour is still so widespread.
“Yet we see exactly these problems again and again as we advise women who come to us with problems at work, both in the US and UK. Harassment affects women at every level of business, including the boardroom.
“Few women who are sexually harassed report it. They fear they will damage their career prospects, lose their jobs or simply not be believed or taken seriously.
“It can feel incredibly daunting to speak up, and often as if you are the only one with the problem, but the reality is that thousands of women are being affected.
“In fact, the law provides remedies, which can give women a way to fight back and win. Discrimination is illegal. Good companies want to eliminate it – and those that don’t can be persuaded to by legal action.
“The only way to solve this is to shine a light on it, make others aware of it. Don’t suffer in silence.”
TOP 10 MOST FREQUENT DISCRIMINATION AND HARASSMENT INCIDENTS IN THE WORKPLACE FOR WOMEN
- Talked over or had their opinion dismissed in meetings
- Received unwelcome comments on appearance or clothes
- Called “woman,” “clever girl” or other dismissive terms
- Asked to make tea or run errands more than male colleagues
- Felt unable to complain about being treated unprofessionally for fear of being accused of being oversensitive
- Referred to as ‘bossy’ due to instructing another member of staff
- Judged on for their sexual attractiveness
- Having credit for their work taken by male colleagues
- Assumed to be the assistant/PA or lower ranking member of staff
- Experienced unwanted touching, brushing or stroking from other colleagues