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Gender Discrimination at the Workplace

Savvy Confessions: Co-Worker Accused Me of Flirting My Way to Opportunity

This anonymous posting comes from our Savvy Confessions group:

I work at a small, family-run company and I work really hard. I started out just above entry levels and in the few years I've been with the company have been handed huge responsibility and learned a ton. I get along with most all of my co-workers and we're generally a great, productive team. There's an industry conference coming up and the boss recently asked another co-worker and I to go on behalf of the company. The rest of the team immediately put up their guard and started saying ridiculously rude things and acting short with me. When I went to deliver an item to a woman in marketing she flat out said "where's your boyfriend?" about the boss. I walked away livid. Firstly, I can't believe everyone is being so catty, and secondly, everyone at the company knows how hard I work and typically lauds me for it. How should I react, or what's the right response when a co-worker is clearly jealous of an opportunity and takes it out on you? I don't want to cry to HR, but it's hostile, rude and upsetting.

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lauren lauren 5 years
great tips mscc!
mscc mscc 5 years
I know the "Confessions" post isn't a request for advice, but it sure sounds like it to me, so here's my two cents for the OP or anyone else in a similar predicament: Don't let that comment slide! I feel like co-workers will perceive it's an admission of guilt if you do. You could head straight to HR or handle this one on your own: Go back to that rude co-worker and ask, "What did you mean yesterday when you said, 'Where's your boyfriend?' because I got to my position the same way you did - by working hard. If they make some snide comment about you flirting with the boss, just say, "That's incredibly unprofessional and I wouldn't do it to get ahead.". If they stutter and backtrack, then smile and say, "Good. Just wanted to make sure we were on the same page." If they b*tch out again, definitely don't hesitate to report it to HR!
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