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Thread: A question

  1. #1
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    A question

    Yesterday my male boss asked me what colour panties I was wearing. I told him, and he laughed. I then continued to do my job. He has seen a picture of me dressed for halloween. Here is the question, did I handle it right and should he have asked me about that in front of another employ?

  2. #2
    Silver Member I Am Paula's Avatar
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    If he knows you wear panties, then he had NO right whatsoever to say that. It was indiscreet, and mean.
    If he does not know you wear panties, he was insulting, and belittling your masculinity, and that is completely unacceptable.
    Either way, he was being a rotten sh*t.

  3. #3
    AKA Lexi sometimes_miss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I Am Paula View Post
    Either way, he was being a rotten sh*t.
    Typical boss. Of course, it all depends oh the context. You should have answered, and then asked, 'What color are yours?'
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  4. #4
    Reality Check Krisi's Avatar
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    Your best answer would have been "None, I'm going commando today."

    Seriously, the question was inappropriate and approaches the definition of sexual harassment.

  5. #5
    Member Yoshisaur's Avatar
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    That's not really something to ask in a working environment, even as a joke it seems like borderline harassment. Personally I would have avoided answering the question and moved on to my work.

  6. #6
    Martini Girl Katey888's Avatar
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    Depends on the context and environment...

    If you work in a professional, office-based environment, it's totally inappropriate and the right answer would have been: "Let's just walk down to Human Resources so they can help me with the answer to that (and put you on a fizzer while they're at it...)"

    If you work in more of a male-dominated, physical environment - perhaps construction or warehousing, for example - it may not have been intended to be any more offensive than asking if you got laid last night...

    So it depends and the response depends on how you fit with the environment too...

    Katey x
    "Put some lipstick on - Perfume your neck and slip your high heels on
    Rinse and curl your hair - Loosen your hips, and get a dress to wear"
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  7. #7
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    Hi Joan, I would keep a record of these kind of remarks Dates and time you never know where this will lead.
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  8. #8
    Daniella Argento Danitgirl1's Avatar
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    For what it is worth, in my opinion, that is full on sexual harassment. It is inappropriate and unprofessional. I cannot see any environment where that would be appropriate. If it made you feel uncomfortable you should find a way of letting him know that. If you fear reprisal try and get it documented. The fact that it was in front of anotehr employee could strengthen your hand if it got nasty, but it is unlikely that that person would back you up. It seems that your boss is a bully and bullies are very good at covering themselves and making sure no one stands up to them...
    Good luck, not a nice situation.
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  9. #9
    Call me Pam pamela7's Avatar
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    (unprintable comments on the locations of some heads) ... it sounds to me to be perfectly friendly as long as its part of the normal banter in the office. I reckon the boss could be on his way to thinking about allowing his own feminine side out.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJFyz73MRcg
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  10. #10
    Diva AbigailJordan's Avatar
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    Yes that is unacceptable in front of other employees regardless of context. The only exception could be if you are completely "out" in your work environment and comfortable banter already exists about it, but even then, it would still be pushing the very limits of dignity at work. Simple way to tell if it's acceptable or not, is whether it would be considered acceptable if asked of a cis woman. I don't think it would. But the ultimate way of knowing is to ask yourself the question did you feel offended, uncomfortable, nervous or embarassed by it? if the answer is yes to any, then it is unacceptable and should be reported.

    Personally I would have been far more likely to answer with "You want to know that you're going to at least have to buy me dinner first", which deflects the attention back on him and his potential attempt at a gay chatup.

    As people say, context means a lot, and if the topic of conversation at the time was about the halloween party when you dressed, then it may from his side have been harmless banter without truly realising how close to a nerve he was. Of course, to make an official complaint will possibly mean confiding in HR about your dressing. A lot depends on how "out" you are and how out you're prepared to be to tackle this.

  11. #11
    Reality Check Krisi's Avatar
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    For those suggesting that this be reported to the Human Resources or HR department, be aware that many jobs don't have anything like that. In a "Mom and Pop" shop, Mom and Pop are the "HR" department. Only large corporations have HR departments (or any departments). Most jobs are in smaller companies and the way you keep your job is to be good at it and "get along" with the boss and co-workers (and customers).

    There's a post in a recent thread about coming out to co-workers where a person came out to a co-worker who told the boss and was eventually accused by the boss of stealing and was fired. It can happen.

  12. #12
    Junior Member Nolacdflorida's Avatar
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    I tend to agree with Pamela. My response would have probably been "Red. What color are yours?"
    "Life is too damn short to get hung up on gender issues" - Me

  13. #13
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    At best it was an incredibly stupid thing for an employer to say. Sexual harassment in any case. If he had said that to my GF or my ex OMG! He and the company would have hell to pay!

  14. #14
    Adyson Saikotsu's Avatar
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    Gah! My post never got up because of network issues.
    Anyway, if you were uncomfortable with the situation, you need to let him know that wasn't okay. Given you are asking us, my impression is that it did bother you. If you just took it as an innocent joke, then your reaction is great.

    A lot of the responders are quick to jump to the conclusion this is sexual harrassment, but that's really up to you to decide. If it made you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, then yes this is harrassment. If you shrug it off, it was a joke. Either way, it was highly inappropriate.

    My advice is communicate that you weren't comfortable, and then if it continues, bring it up with HR, if you have an HR department. If you don't, then maybe this job isn't for you?

  15. #15
    GG ReineD's Avatar
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    This was an attempt to abase you in front of someone else.

    I would have answered in a light tone, "And you want to know this why? lol." If he had answered, I would have responded in a more serious tone, "I fail to see how this relates to my work here".
    Reine

  16. #16
    trans punk Badtranny's Avatar
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    Again with the panties, good lord, you people lead bizarre lives.

    In what world would a supervisor ask ANYONE much less a subordinate about their underwear at all?
    Quote Originally Posted by STACY B
    At least there is social acceptance in being a drunk in our world. Hell I was good at it too.
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  17. #17
    Junior Member Chrissy1966's Avatar
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    Definite sexual harassment. Document everything. Print/Save hard copies of any emails he may also send. If you have the option, forward voicemails to an outside source and save.

    Don't trust your Human Resources Dept either. I've seen soooo many people burned by going to HR. They smile, nod and then find a loophole to push you out of the door and/or sweep it under the rug. Anything to protect management.

    Get all of your ducks in a row before moving forward, if you choose that route.

  18. #18
    Silver Member CynthiaD's Avatar
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    One incident isn't harassment of any kind. Harassment is repeated behavior intended to scare or intimidate (etc.) someone.

    If it's just good-natured ribbing (which is likely) just reply in kind, with something like "pink, of course! I wouldn't be caught dead in any other color!" Or "same color as your garter belt."

  19. #19
    Transgender Person Pat's Avatar
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    Yeah, you should have given a good-natured replay to his good-natured question. Like, "Probably the same color as the head of HR, let's go ask...." That's good-natured, right?

  20. #20
    Exploring NEPA now Cheryl T's Avatar
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    That could be considered harassment in today's workplace.
    He should never have asked that question. Whether or not you choose to answer is your business, but I would have pointed him in the direction of HR and reminded him of it's inappropriateness in the workplace.
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  21. #21
    Senior Member UNDERDRESSER's Avatar
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    It COULD, well be, sexual harassment. Do you feel harassed?

    Really, you're the only one that can answer that. There are many situations where comments of this type could be a form of harassment, subtle, obvious, direct, insidious, maybe not of you, but the form and intent can be actually insulting to others. It's a bit of a minefield.

    My workplace is pretty good, for the most part, but there are parts that me uncomfortable, not for me for most part, but for the girls. I haven't said much, but I've let it be know occasionally that certain comments were over the top. It's a fine line, and the location of that line changes, depending on who is involved, and how they normally behave.

    As a guy who has been wearing skirts full time for the last 3 months, I am actually surprised that there haven't been underwear jokes or questions. Unless the person asking is being a complete jerk, and needs shutting down, I have decided that my response to the question "What are you wearing under there?" will be something on the lines of "Very cute rose pink thong,...with a bit of lace" Depending on the day, it could conceivably be true.
    "Normal is what you get when you average out the weirdness that everybody has." Quote from my SO

    Normal is a setting on a washing machine, or another word for average.

    The fact that I wear a skirt as a male should not be taken as a comment on what you do, or do not wear, or how you wear it.

  22. #22
    Member scarlett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chrissy1966 View Post
    Definite sexual harassment. Document everything. Print/Save hard copies of any emails he may also send. If you have the option, forward voicemails to an outside source and save.

    Don't trust your Human Resources Dept either. I've seen soooo many people burned by going to HR. They smile, nod and then find a loophole to push you out of the door and/or sweep it under the rug. Anything to protect management.

    Get all of your ducks in a row before moving forward, if you choose that route.
    Absolutely right HR gets their paycheck from the top, not you. They are paid to get your confidence, suck you in, and stab you in the back, all the while doing it by the numbers so they don't get penalized.

  23. #23
    Junior Member lily1974's Avatar
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    I have heard of asking someone if their panties were in a bunch but not asking color unless there was another motive. The question you need to ask yourself is if its worth reporting. I have seen people in large companies get fired for dissagreeing with the boss on less of a situation.

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