Navigating workplace relationships is difficult enough under normal circumstances. But when your boss starts hitting on you, things can get real weird, real fast.
A Redditor found himself in this situation when his boss put the moves on him during a business trip. Unsure about how he handled it, he went to the AITA (Am I The A**hole) subReddit for some perspective and input.
The Original Poster (OP), who goes by snackmaster2000 on the site, asked:
“AITA for going to HR?”
“my boss (46F[emale]) asked me (36m[ale]) to join her for a meeting In a city three hours away. I had done one of these trips with her before, however it was on my schedule week prior.”
“In this case I was given less than one days notice and was a little annoyed since I had not planned on this, and I’d be missing a day of work. However since she’s my boss, I didn’t really look at it as an option and I joined her on the trip.”
“As we were chatting on the drive down, she mentioned that she will have to manage a different team at some point because she has a conflict of interest with our team. I wasn’t sure what it meant but I didn’t ask and we moved on.”
“The meeting went fine, however on the drive home she said ‘remember when I said I had a conflict of interest in managing this team? I’m not sure if it’s just the lock down making me crazy, but since we’ve been working together I’ve started to feel a really strong connection towards you and very strong attraction, And I wonder if you are feeling it too or if it’s just me?'”
“I nervously laughed and told her that’s flattering but I have a girlfriend (she’s also married) and she then told me ‘thanks for giving me the answers I needed’. We sat in extremely awkward silence for a while, and she said y’ou know what, forget I said anything, erase it from your memory’.”
“I told her ‘I’m not gonna lie, this is very uncomfortable, and we still have to sit in this car for an hour’ She said she could cancel our one on one meetings moving forward if that would make me more comfortable, and asked me what we should do. I told her ‘do what you need to do, but I’m not a part of this conversation.'”
“She ask me again please not to tell anyone we work with, and said if I decide to go to HR to let her know so she can be ready. I said I didn’t want to do that because I don’t want drama at work. We sat in very awkward silence for an hour, until we finally got back to her place and I got my car and drove home.”
“I wasn’t sure how to move forward, how I was going to face her the following week and pretend nothing happened? I got lots of advice over the weekend, consensus was go to HR on Monday. Monday morning, before I even spoke to HR, she sent a message to our team saying ‘something came up, and I will need to take a week off to adres personal matters’.”
“She’s never done this, I assumed it was about me. At that point I went to HR and told everything that happened.”
“My boss was placed on leave for 3 weeks while I was transitioned to a new team.”
“Am I the a**hole here? I feel like I turned in a friend because we had a really great working relationship prior to this.”
“EDIT: when she was contacted by HR she denied everything I told them.”
Other Redditors were then asked to judge who was in the wrong in this situation based on the following categories:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
And as you’d probably guess, virtually no one was on the side of OP’s boss.
“NTA – your boss has zero right to hit on you, and she will be 100% clear on that point now that she’s on another team. You did exactly the right thing.” —inzillah
“She also hit on OP in a situation with zero exits, in which she was in full control (literally behind the wheel). Another person might have felt compelled to ‘agree’ to a relationship out of fear for their safety and then “changed their mind” later, which then sets them up to be accused of ‘sending mixed signals’.” —saucynoodlelover
“NTA. She took you out, alone, in a car hours away from where you live. Then, in the confines of said car, she confesses her feelings for you. While you’re relying on her for a ride home. Where you’re basically at her mercy. Like idk why she would think that it was an okay time to do that.” —jumpyropes
“What she did and said was inappropriate, and you did the right thing to go to HR. Everyone knows if you swap the sexes here, a male boss telling a younger female subordinate that he finds her attractive and a strong connection is definitely committing sexual harassment, especially in a confined environment like a car. There shouldn’t be double standards where it’s OK for a woman to do it but not for a man – it’s wrong either way.”
“Your working relationship prior to it is irrelevant because as you said, this encounter was awkward and uncomfortable and you never know if your relationship will truly go back to normal. You shouldn’t have to worry about that every time you go to work, have a performance review, or hope for a promotion.” —Weaverfan420
“That’s called sexual harassment, and should be reported. She didn’t come out and say “sleep with me or else you’re fired,” but it could so easily have been interpreted that way. It put you in a very vulnerable position.” —Osolemia
Hopefully OP has a better experience with his next boss.