“Can you process this C84, Babe?” He’s not your romantic interest. He’s your boss, requesting that you process a form that pays for temporary total disability at the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. Is it wrong for your boss to call you ‘babe,’ ‘dear,’ or ‘honey?’ Yes. Answering to this term is one of many office sex games you should not play.
In fact, speak up. Diplomatically and firmly tell your boss that you prefer only answering to your given name and not ‘babe’. Now, this might ripple the waters. But if your boss is constantly referring to you in terms of endearment, the waters are already foaming because your boss just claimed ownership of you. Or, at least, he is trying to do so.
Your boss’s persistence in using terms of endearment forebodes a storm of sexual harassment, hostile work environment and continuous retaliation. Fearful of doing something about it? Don’t be afraid of exposing your boss. Your situation is already precarious.
If you give in, your boss owns you and will continue to use you. If you reject him, he’ll try owning you and using you. So exposure is the only way to solve the problem. This means a trip to Human Resources or your local Fair Employment Practices Agency like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC.
Approaching the EEOC can be a daunting process. A certain amount of guilt about turning in your boss could torpedo your resolve. Now you’ve become distrustful of the system and fearful of the future. Now you are stymied. You back out of reporting your boss to the EEOC and hope that the working relationship between you and your boss improves.
What if it doesn’t? What if your boss brushes past you, and, in the process, molests you? By the time you process the fear, anger takes over. If the anger is uncontrollable, that signifies trouble because you’re not seeking justice. In fact, you’re now seeking revenge.
Deal with your thirst for revenge by seeking counseling. A pastor or psychologist can redirect your purpose and can give you focus. Either way, you’ll fortify yourself against the oncoming battle. Did you think your boss wouldn’t retaliate after you contacted the EEOC or even Human Resources? In most cases, there’s always a counter-attack from your boss. You just got to be ready for it.
Have you got a story about sexual harassment or bullying? Talk to someone. Or it will eat up your life.