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Weird situation with an employee


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Old 25th August 2016, 1:41 PM   #1
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Weird situation with an employee

I work for my dad's company. I took over for his partner. A few months ago, and employee I've known my entire life got wasted a company party. She followed me out onto a balcony when I went to smoke and told me if I wasn't her boss she would "give me the best blow job ever." I chalked it up to being too drunk and let it go. I did tell my dad and he found it hilarious.

Since she addresses me by my last name and barely talks to me. She won't even make eye contact. She was given an award recently and I had to give it to her. I'm sure for my dad and the other partner's amusement. She was embarrassed when she came up to get it, making us both look awkward.

I feel bad this has happened. She was really one of my only allies there because everyone thinks I got my job handed to me. I will admit she is an attractive woman. If she was someone I'd met on the street, I wouldn't necessarily turn her down. Which is a little weird to admit because she's probably 20 years older than me.

She's a great employee, probably the best one there, she's very nice, she's very accepting, and I just feel so bad.

Is there anything I can do?
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Old 25th August 2016, 2:06 PM   #2
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Yikes. I'm not sure there's anything you can do besides trying to act casual and normal around her... and maybe YOU need to be taking the initiative with that. I mean, don't be in her face, but try to approach her for some chit-chat now and then.

I'm sure one of the reasons she's so ashamed is she suspected you'd tell your dad (which you did). That's two degrees of embarrassing, and it's a loss of dignity.

One thing I'm a little curious about, though: Is it possible the awkwardness is just in your head and she might not even remember the incident? Because I have to imagine she was beyond wasted to say something that outrageous to her boss's son 20 years her junior.

On the other hand, if she was just a little "looser" than normal that night, and that was just a bolder expression of her normal self...then I can't imagine she would feel the terrible shame and awkwardness you're describing now. So something doesn't quite add up.
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Old 25th August 2016, 2:19 PM   #3
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You're right I didn't think of that. It's just that since that night she's changed toward me. So, naturally, I came to the conclusion that was it. When she followed me out there she was stumbling pretty bad.

When I told my dad it was more to get his advice. Not to cause trouble for her, and I knew it wouldn't anyway. He just laughed it off. I know other people have thought i flirt with her, i don't, but I am nicer to her because she's nicer to me than other people.
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Old 25th August 2016, 3:24 PM   #4
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Okay, let's go ahead and assume she was drunk enough to lose control of her behavior, but still cogent enough to remember the incident later.

If she's a reasonable woman, she knows what she did was unprofessional. Hell, if the genders were reversed, it would be borderline sexual harassment.

It sounds like she knows you & your dad well enough to know you guys wouldn't take it that way, but she's either imagining a) that your dad's not pleased, or b) what actually happened, that your dad got a good laugh out of it. And honestly, I'm not sure what's better. The latter is a little humiliating.

She is right to keep her head low right now and let this pass over. Any other reaction on her part would be weird. Making fun of herself, like, "I'm a lush and sometimes I get pervy with young guys," would just diminish her dignity more. And she'd be stepping toward actual harassment zone if she continued with sexual comments.

Just give her some space... in a friendly way. Hopefully everyone will just get over it once some time passes.
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Old 26th August 2016, 9:52 AM   #5
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Yeah, I'm sure if the tables were turned I'd have been fired, or if she had done it to someone else he'd have taken action. Because it's me I don't think he cares.

I've tried to just give her space and not interact with her too much. I just wish things would go back to how they were. I considered her my friend.
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Old 26th August 2016, 5:43 PM   #6
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I kinda feel like your underlying tone here is that you were intrigued/flattered by her drunken comment, that you theoretically WOULD be down to sleep with her, and you're bummed she's shut down her attention toward you.

That's a whole 'nother can of worms!

It's in everyone's best interest here to keep things professional. I promise! Especially since this is a family-run enterprise with your dad.

I'm sure in a few weeks everyone will have forgotten about her little drunken mistake, and she'll start acting normally toward you eventually.
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Old 26th August 2016, 10:10 PM   #7
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This whole thing happened the end of November. I've tried to just give her space and not force myself on her. I know she's being professional, and maybe a part of this is for the first time I have to be professional with people I've known my whole life.

When I commented on her attractiveness it was just to say that I do think she's a beautiful woman, but I'm the boss. When she said that to me I just tried to say that a relationship can't happen because I'm her boss.

I saw her today and smiled and waved. She just looked down and didn't acknowledge it. I mean, I'm friendly with some of them, but I don't wave, I might nod, but I just try to do what my dad does and not greet anyone. He might nod st someone too, but he never says hi or smiles, so I try my best to do that. I don't with her.
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Old 26th August 2016, 11:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Standard-Fare View Post
She is right to keep her head low right now and let this pass over.
Oh my goodness what an unfortunate choice of words! But I agree with the "give her some space" approach. Don't go out of your way to be friendly with her or chat her up. Ease off on the "friendship" aspect you used to have with her; it's not the right time to rekindle that. DO always be polite and respectful to her. Keep it professional at all times. Focus on the work.

Actually the greatest gift you could probably give her is to show her somehow that she is a trusted and respected employee of your organization. (**Period.**) Like, giving her more responsibility, or allowing her more "free rein" to pursue a work objective that she's been keen on doing, or giving her a work task that requires confidentiality and wouldn't be given to just anyone to do. Nothing major (like, don't give her a big promotion all of the sudden) - just a day-to-day thing.

She likely feels completely humiliated by her own behavior and is trying her best to "live it down" - and that means no more friendly banter with you. She's trying desperately to save face. I kinda feel for her. We've all been there - done something stupid and felt so embarrassed/ashamed about it afterwards. Putting myself in her shoes - I would want the exact treatment I described above. I predict things will thaw out and get back to "normal" with her after awhile... as long as she feels safe that her Drunk Incident won't come back to haunt her.
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Old 31st August 2016, 12:54 PM   #9
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As far as I know she's as high up as she can get. She has tons of freedom to run what she does within reason, and has people working under her. My dad treats her differently in that if she walks in while he's on the phone he lets her do what she needs. Anyone else is told to leave.

She was showing me a report Monday and as she and I were going through it she accidentally brushed my hand. Then she started getting jittery and apologized. I told her it was fine, it was an accident. She just needed to breathe.

I respect her, I trust her knowledge, I enjoy her... I wish she'd let this go.

I think the problem might be my dad told the other partner. Maybe it was over heard or he somehow let it slip to her he knew. He certainly has to me... I know I shouldn't have said anything, but I was just looking for his advice on how to handle it. Not to hurt her...
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Old 31st August 2016, 2:55 PM   #10
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You need to tell you dad to stop telling people. Tell him that even though nothing happened and she was probably only joking, others may think there is something going on and that you feel that would undermine you.

I'm sure she's mortified at herself. Honestly, it would be better to be able to joke with her about it, but since everyone is telling people, it's going to be bad for both of you, so get that stopped with everyone who knows. Minimize it. Tell them, oh, we were talking about someone else and something else, and she just said that kind of jokingly. She's too good to let her slip away. So repair the damage, even though she started it. She will know others know because they'll be looking at her funny.
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Old 31st August 2016, 6:19 PM   #11
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I agree with the above. Telling your dad was a mistake and you need to explain to him that he is making things more difficult by telling others.

Personally, when I had male friends/co-workers make drunken passes or comments to me, I would never say anything and would pretended like nothing happened the next day. It would usually be forgotten pretty quickly.
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