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What would you do? (work situation)

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What would you do? (work situation)

Old 02-24-05, 11:08 PM
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What would you do? (work situation)

I am a department director in a hospital and I have a rather awkward situation that's both kind of funny and strange.

There is a housekeeper that empties trash in our department and does the cleaning. She is about 55 and pretty crude talking. I've heard her talking about sex and man hunting very openly and she's very loud. She hasn't worked here very long and I don't know her well at all.

She is always telling me how good I look and how she's going to bring me a picture of herself to hang in my office. She also comments on what she sees in my trash can as she empties it. It's kind of weird but relatively harmless.

I was standing out in the lab and talking with several members of my staff when she came in my assistant's office to get her trash. I asked her if she could please sweep my carpet when she got the chance because it was really getting bad and hadn't been done in quite a while. She said sure and I thanked her. I turned away and went to say something to someone else and suddenly she said very loudly 'anything for you honey'. She then grabbed both sides of my face with her hands and kind of shook my head back and forth. She then planted a very wet kiss on my cheek. My staff all looked on in shock and I walked away without giving any real reaction. I actually went and got a damp paper towel and wiped my face it was so bad.

I found this to be rather disturbing and quite honestly disgusting. She is actually a pretty nice person in general and seems well liked. I don't want to get her in trouble and I know if I even mention it to her boss that she'll get in major trouble. I don't want that to happen but I also don't want another occurence like that one.

I'm leaning towards not doing anything unless she does something again. I feel pretty uncomfortable around her and figure I'll deal with it directly with her if anything happens again, although I'm not sure what to say exactly.

What would you do?
Old 02-24-05, 11:12 PM
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Hmmm, get someone to start a rumor with one of her co-workers about how much you hated it. If she hears about it, she might be more wary of doing something like that. If she confronts you on it, you can deny you said anything to anyone (Since you'd NEVER do something like that) but now that she mentioned it, it wasn't really appropriate.
Old 02-24-05, 11:22 PM
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Originally Posted by BizRodian
Hmmm, get someone to start a rumor with one of her co-workers about how much you hated it. If she hears about it, she might be more wary of doing something like that. If she confronts you on it, you can deny you said anything to anyone (Since you'd NEVER do something like that) but now that she mentioned it, it wasn't really appropriate.
Not a bad plan but I'm pretty certain that if one of her co-workers knew about it that they'd mention it to her supervisor. Her supervisor would then either rip her or take it to their director.
Old 02-24-05, 11:25 PM
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I say sleep with her and then give her a cashmere sweater, with a small red dot
Old 02-24-05, 11:35 PM
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This is why it's best to hire non-English speaking office garbage people, the language barrier makes for a comfortable buffer.
Old 02-25-05, 12:06 AM
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Look at it this way....at least she didn't try to slip you the tongue.

-pedagogue
Old 02-25-05, 12:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Gallant Pig
This is why it's best to hire non-English speaking office garbage people, the language barrier makes for a comfortable buffer.
I'm thinking it would take a wall to provide a comfortable buffer with this one.

As for the tongue slipping....I think she did try but her aim was off.
Old 02-25-05, 12:24 AM
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Maybe its a motherly love? I'd say see what happens one more time.......unless you feel really voilated?
Old 02-25-05, 12:41 AM
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call her in for sexual harrasment
Old 02-25-05, 12:48 AM
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Tell her the next time that happens, butts will be peed in.
Old 02-25-05, 12:54 AM
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The first thing you should probably do is document what happened in case you end up having to report her. Then you should have a little talk with her about how that was inappropriate. By NOT saying anything about it, you almost give her permission to do it again...or step it up.

So unless you want her tongue in your ear and your crotch in her hand...give her a lil talk...
Old 02-25-05, 01:23 AM
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Originally Posted by solipsta
The first thing you should probably do is document what happened in case you end up having to report her. Then you should have a little talk with her about how that was inappropriate. By NOT saying anything about it, you almost give her permission to do it again...or step it up.

So unless you want her tongue in your ear and your crotch in her hand...give her a lil talk...
The thing is as I think about it more is that if I do document it and deal with it myself that would be a varience from policy. Technically what I should do is report it to her director since I am a director. The other proper alternative would be to report it to the CEO which is who I answer to. It could be considered a consequence of my not following proper channels if I later used that documentation if it escalates. You are required to report these types of violations and they are then required to act on them. I don't care to be the talk of the hospital that she got suspended or terminated due to advances on me.

I just want to not have to deal with it. It's embarrassing and I have more important things to do with my time and energy. I also don't want to cause the woman to lose the low pay job that she's working just to be able to have health insurance. Today I just left my office when I heard her coming and went out for a smoke. I've also been very distant when I encounter her in the halls. I was hoping she might connect that to the incident and take the hint.

Last edited by nazz; 02-25-05 at 01:26 AM.
Old 02-25-05, 01:27 AM
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....I'm also married by the way which doesn't help matters.
Old 02-25-05, 04:26 AM
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I can see you consider this a serious matter, so please excuse my laughter at your initial post. Man, that's funny.

But in all seriousness, you better have a little informal talk with her. Just say what you posted above, "I know you are a nice person, I don't want to make trouble for you, but you have to stop doing this kind of stuff.' Unless she's wacked out, she should understand and stop.

I had a similar situation awhile back. One of my supervisors seemed to think that she was my nanny or something. She used to creep quietly up behind me and start tickeling my sides. I just waited till we were alone in the office and said 'It's nice that you want to be friendly, we can be friendly and joke. But stop touching me cause I think that's really inappropriate.' She wasn't offened and after that all was well.

Hope things work out.
Old 02-25-05, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Crocker Jarmen
But in all seriousness, you better have a little informal talk with her. Just say what you posted above, "I know you are a nice person, I don't want to make trouble for you, but you have to stop doing this kind of stuff.' Unless she's wacked out, she should understand and stop.
I agree. And also tell her gently that you were embarrassed and felt bad about it afterward - that should hit home and get her to stop. I would document it but also in the documentation say exactly what you said above - you chose the informal route b/c you know this job is critical to her livelihood, she's new and she's still learning how to behave in a prof'l environment, so you wanted to give her an informal warning before adhering to policy. Any reasonable HR person will understand.

And Crocker your story was hilarious!
Old 02-25-05, 08:38 AM
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The worst I've had was one lady brought me a list of 8 track tapes and she wanted me to see if they'd be worth selling on Ebay. She was a character. The cleaning crews are outside resources, so we change services fairly often. I like the crew we have now. They generally don't come into our offices until after we leave so they won't bother us.
Old 02-25-05, 08:42 AM
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Just talk to her and be honest. Tell her it is inappropriate and if it happens again, to you or anyone else, it will be reported.
Old 02-25-05, 08:47 AM
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I like the idea of an informal talk first. My question is what would happen if you let HR know about your informal talk, just to get it documented? A) I think that makes it officiall formal. B) Does that mean that HR HAS to take action then? Any HR people here?

Last edited by VinVega; 02-25-05 at 08:59 AM.
Old 02-25-05, 08:51 AM
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Hit. It.
Old 02-25-05, 09:00 AM
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pics?
Old 02-25-05, 09:25 AM
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I'd have a friendly talk with her, and mention that you're looking out for her and yourself so there won't be trouble down the line, she should understand that, if not, then go to HR because that says she may not be a reasonable cookie to deal with. I also wonder if you could go to HR just to document that you had a casual conversation with her but for them not to intervene unless the situation continued and or escalated.
Old 02-25-05, 09:42 AM
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You should report it to your HR or ER (Employee Relations) staff. You do not want to talk to the cleaning lady about this at all. Everything must come from a third party resource and that's why you have an HR Department. The first inclination is to just handle the matter yourself, but in todays world good intentions is a major cause of lawsuits. Report it to your HR department and they will handle it. And the only reason I know this is because my girlfriend did this work (employee relations) for 7 years and I heard about every case she had.
Old 02-25-05, 10:42 AM
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Ok, I can see why reporting it would be something you want to avoid. But just avoiding it will only make it worse. If she doesn't know that what she did was inappropriate in the first place, she's NOT gonna get the hint that you avoiding her was because of what happened. A quick, informal chat seems to be the way to go. Just do it and get it out of the way.
Old 02-25-05, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by nazz
The thing is as I think about it more is that if I do document it and deal with it myself that would be a varience from policy. Technically what I should do is report it to her director since I am a director. The other proper alternative would be to report it to the CEO which is who I answer to. It could be considered a consequence of my not following proper channels if I later used that documentation if it escalates.
Customs vary slightly between organizations. You should probably report it to her Director. Depending on how well you know that Director, by the way you report it, you may be able to keep it somewhat lower key. "I don't want to make a big deal of this, but you need to know, and she needs to understand it is inappropriate." However, you want to word it.

IMO, you should absolutely not report it to the CEO without trying to work through the other Director first. As colleagues, I think you have an obligation to resolve problems by working together and only elevate conflicts that can't be resolved that way. From a CEO's perspective, inability to handle such a minor issue would reflect poorly on both your abilities. I think also the other Director would be pissed and it would strain any future working relationship.
In case I'm not crystal clear, that would be a piss-poor idea.
Old 02-25-05, 11:48 AM
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Start leaving male pr0n and "used" tissues in your trashcan. she should get the idea.

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