Antelope Valley Press

She’s feeling uneasy at work

- Dear Annie Annie Lane

Dear Annie: I am a 26-year-old woman and recently graduated college with my bachelor’s in May. I searched for a long time before finding a job, and I ended up finding a position in a place I never expected to. Skills from my major do come into use regularly but it’s not what I went to college for.

Though I’ve grown to really like what I do and it has been fulfilling up to now, I have a problem. And it isn’t with the job itself.

I’ve found myself the victim of incessant staring, perpetrate­d by a man who started here not long before I did. I got a weird “vibe,” if you will, the day I came in for my interview. And up to now four months hence, it’s been non-stop. It’s escalated to lack of boundaries where he stands way too close passing off paperwork (a regular thing we have to do to get the job done), alongside the unrelentin­g staring. He asked me where my house was about a month ago. I was more annoyed than scared before he said that. Now I find myself checking my surroundin­gs everywhere I go, and I keep “making up” things I’m not sure are real or not, like his car loitering outside my home. He even requested to move department­s and chose to be seated at the desk across from me. I grew so uncomforta­ble, I had to deal with it myself and create a barrier to make him stop.

I don’t know what to do. He hasn’t really done anything that I can legitimate­ly talk to my boss about. But I dread the days when I see him parked in the lot, because I know that when I come inside to work, it’s going to be a long, uncomforta­ble day. What am I supposed to do in this situation? I just keep hoping he’ll quit.

But it doesn’t seem likely. What can I do to protect myself beyond what I’ve already tried? I installed Ring cameras on my front and back doors, but my management office won’t heed my request to fix my broken window latches and it’s been a source of fear. I can’t start a paper trail without telling management about it. Do you have any advice?

— Tired of Being Scared at Work

and at Home Dear Tired of Being Scared: If your gut is trying to tell you something, you should listen. Better safe than sorry.

Since this co-worker hasn’t actually done anything, the action you can take is limited. But the more allies you have, the safer you will feel. Tell friends and co-workers about him. If you have a manager or a human resources department that you trust, you should tell them, too. Don’t stay at the office alone with him. If his behavior escalates, it could constitute harassment, making it a legal issue that your company has a responsibi­lity to address.

You should also stop by your local police department to see if they have any recommenda­tions for how you can better protect yourself, or guidance on what type of red flags you should look out for. They may be able to help you assess whether this man is a legitimate threat.

In terms of your broken window latches, if your management office won’t fix them, it’s probably worth fixing them yourself. You can’t put a price on sleeping soundly at night.

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