I work in a small office of professionals – five women and two men. The owner of the company is a male and has started watching porn on his computer at work.
This has made for very awkward moments among the women as we’ve walked in on him viewing porn, which causes him to become flustered and shut it down.
We’re all afraid to approach this subject with him, as he is the boss. But in the meantime it’s becoming very tense at work, especially since he likes to portray himself to clients as a "good Christian.”
Frankly, the sites he’s going on are disgusting and even more so considering that we do have young women in our office and most of us have daughters who sometimes come into the office.
We need some guidance on how to handle this situation.
There’s power in numbers. He can’t afford to fire the majority of his staff, or to risk his reputation by having five of you complain to a labour relations board and/or quit.
Write a carefully worded letter about the tension in the office, which you women feel. If one of you has a friend who’s a lawyer, or you can afford legal counsel, have the letter checked against any actionable wording, in case the letter accidentally got into others’ hands.
You’d all five need to sign this letter. Once you’re ready to present it, ask the male employee to consider signing too as he might feel the same way.
Mention your group’s discomfort and how it’s affecting the working atmosphere. Include the possibility of young daughters seeing this pornography and being even more disturbed by it.
Find a way, with legal advice, to mention how you all feel upset about the disconnect between the company’s public image and that which comes across in the office among people who have to work together.
If the atmosphere worsens and there’s no change, you may have to consider a more serious route, such as a labour relations board.
My elderly in-laws live in a condo apartment and are increasingly filling their home with knick-knacks and small furniture retrieved from the garbage room of their building.
This doesn't bother me except now they are bringing us their "finds" for our home, which we really do not need/want.
I’ve tried to politely decline, with no success, and this means I have to get these things back to the garbage where they belong.
My husband is very entrenched in his role as the perfect son and needing their approval, so he refuses to ask them to stop doing this. Do you have any other suggestions for me to try?
Keep getting rid of the stuff, or you’ll soon resent your husband more than his parents. Besides, you have more serious stuff for him to be concerned about as a truly good son.
His parents could be on the borderline of becoming hoarders. They could eventually fill their place with enough junk that other condo neighbours will start to complain about them. Their increasing retrieval of these “finds” could be indicating increasing insecurity…. about money, even about dying.
Their son should inquire more about their physical and mental health – e.g. Make sure they see their doctor, and talk about their increasing interest in “stuff” with professionals.
Just accepting unwanted and unneeded things to crowd your own home only shows an inability on his part to face issues, not kindness.
FEEDBACK Final comment on the woman who fears her husband’s ex is trying to re-connect (June 6):
Reader – “The connection between her husband and the mother of his daughter could turn on this wife.
“My husband of ten years refused to speak with his ex-wife, mother of his son, even though his son came to our home every weekend. I was in charge of pickup and return.
“I encouraged my husband to connect with his ex, as his son was turning 12 and we had just had our first child, and were expecting our second. I felt his son would benefit from his parents’ communicating.
“They did get together and two weeks later he confessed his continued love for her. He left me for her but it only lasted a year.
“He hasn’t talked to me or his children since but blamed me for making him connect with her. Sometimes the unexpected does happen.”
Tip of the day:
There’s more power towards a solution when workplace problems are presented as a group.