What can I do about sexual advances from bosses?

Friday November 15 2019


By Caroline Mboijana

Some male company bosses ask for sex in exchange for job offers, promotions, salary raise. How can women fight this? Jovia

Dear Jovia,
While the immediate response is to report an advancement, we need to recognise that raising a complaint can be very difficult and rarely straight forward. Care must be taken on how it is reported and you should ask the following questions: i) does your workplace have a policy in place with regards to sexual harassment?; iii) is there a clear process that guides how complaints are reported?; iv) does the policy allow you report an incident anonymously?; v) is there clear criteria that states what actions constitute sexual harassment?; vi) does your complaint fall any of the stated categories?; iv) do you have evidence of the incident to support your compliant?

If the answer is yes to all or the majority of the above, especially evidence to support your complaint, as the case is likely to boil down to a “she said he said” scenario and more importantly, you feel you can confidentially participate in the investigation process, are reasonably prepared for the psychological impact the procedure is bound to have on you, both the questioning of the incident while having your character come under scrutiny, then have the matter reported either anonymously or to the HR manager, with confidence that the system in place can be trusted.

If on the other hand you have the evidence, but you do not feel confident that you can participate in or trust the investigation process, then maybe you need to think of an alterative solution such as i) remaining in the job while avoiding being in a situation where you and your boss are the only two people in a room; ii) have the courage to push back and say no without raising an official complaint; iii) discreetly put out feelers for an alternative position in the company if this is available; or iv) look for new employment elsewhere.

Caroline Mboijana
Managing Director
The Leadership Team (U)