Dear Annie: I am a happily married straight male and am having a problem with a co-worker.
Gil is a self-proclaimed bisexual. Even though he is fully aware of my orientation, he constantly makes lewd comments to me.
He also invites me to his home for dinner on a regular basis — without my wife, of course. Gil is senior to me at work. Because of his stature, I am hesitant to report his behavior. How can I resolve this? — Need Guidance
Dear Need Guidance: Gil is guilty of sexual harassment. Tell him you find his comments unprofessional and inappropriate and you want him to stop.
If he keeps it up, speak to his boss or someone in human resources. He is leaving the company open to a lawsuit.
Dear Annie: My husband is approaching 60, and I’ve long been frustrated with our poor communication.
Counseling has been useless since his participation was minimal. I suspect he has Asperger syndrome. I’ve done some reading online, and Ron exhibits nearly all the traits of this disorder.
I struggle with depression myself, and the prospect of dealing with this situation for the rest of my life fills me with sadness. Leaving is not financially possible. I’ve read about treatment options, but I doubt Ron would be willing to make the effort.
I don’t have the kind of friends I can talk to about this. I feel so alone. Where do I go from here? —Hopeless
Dear Hopeless: You might benefit from contacting an online support group for spouses dealing with this disorder.
Online chat groups will allow you to “listen in” without participating until you are ready. Try MAAP Services, Inc. (maapservices.org), P.O. Box 524, Crown Point, IN 46307, the Autism Society (autism-society.org) or the online Asperger’s forum at autism.about.com.
Dear Annie: Perhaps you will let me talk to Unappreciated, who works for a small family-owned company. Employee morale has decreased because of the perception that the owners are not sacrificing the way the employees are.
I, too, have a small family-owned business. Our sales are down, and we currently have a freeze on salary and benefit improvements.
Occasionally, I hear a comment about the fact that my husband and I live in a fine house, drive nice cars and take vacations. Here are the differences: Our morale is high. Our employees know sales figures and profit margins.
They know that two of our employees actually make more than we do, and that the only people who have taken a pay cut are my husband and I.
They’ve seen that the recession has not had a positive effect on our marriage or our health. They’ve seen us work many weekends. They know we are not too proud to clean the toilets or do any other job.
Unappreciated’s employers may be making many sacrifices she is unaware of because the bosses have mistakenly chosen to keep things to themselves rather than consider their employees to be partners in their own success.
I suggest she spend this time taking classes or learning new skills.
It’s a good time to hunker down and find ways to create value for the company.
Your suggestion that she express herself to her employer makes her look like a whiner. I had better not hear this type of thing from my staff. This has been hard on everyone. — Been There, Too
Dear Been There: You had us on your side until the last few sentences. We’re glad you’ve found a way to make employees feel valued.
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