my boss talks about religion every day — Ask a Manager

It’s a special “where are you now?” season at Ask a Manager and I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past. 

There will be more posts than usual this week, so keep checking back throughout the day.

Remember the letter-writer whose boss talked about religion every day? Here’s the update.

I wrote in a couple of years ago regarding my boss who wouldn’t stop bringing up religion to me and wouldn’t stop touching me. I love hearing everyone’s updates this time of year, so I thought I’d add my own.

After I wrote in, things with my boss got worse, she continued to touch me and make religious and sexual comments (not in the same comments, so I guess that’s good?), and then told me it was just my opinion when I told her it was all inappropriate (thank you again, Alison and commentariat, your advice and belief that this was actually happening and not okay helped me speak up).

I hoped this would be the end of all this since I’d confronted her and she said she’d stop, but I made the decision to report her to HR about this after she said she’d need to tell our team (who I’d never met in person) that I hated to be touched when they’re all like her and love hugs and are very “tactile” and touch freely. She also started to cancel meetings and leave me out of important emails, as well as be rude to me, so I wanted documentation in case she continued to retaliate.

HR stated the investigation was inconclusive since we were working away from everyone else and there were no witnesses. I was also told I needed to learn to “lean in” to my discomfort by the HR rep after she met with my boss, and that it’s okay for people to want to know me better and I shouldn’t be so closed off.

I stayed on the job for another nine months, during which I was “subtly” retaliated against: talked down to, left out of email chains pertinent to my work, directions on work changed and me told I was mistaken on expectations after completing it, having to answer her Slack and email messages within 10/15 minutes no matter what, etc. Nothing that felt actionable. This eventually culminated in me being put on a PIP when my boss claimed to HR that I lied to her about a communication. I was not asked about this or talked to, they took her story at face value immediately.

The PIP was finally it for me, I didn’t care about the job hopping anymore, I just needed out and to not feel so insane. I was having multiple panic attacks a day, couldn’t sleep, and this was messing with my personal life and relationships. I applied to multiple jobs and quickly heard back from a company I’d wanted to work for since 2018. The job was in an area I was much better suited for and the benefits were amazing.

I interviewed and within two weeks I’d been offered that position for the same amount of money I was making at my previous job. I put in a week’s notice and never looked back.

I’ve been at the new job for well over a year now and I am beyond content. My team is amazing and my boss is beyond supportive. He has ensured that I am given all the tools I need to succeed and has helped me regain my confidence. I have received glowing praise at every opportunity and had the opportunity to lead a project that positively impacted our entire department. I also received a raise pretty soon in, and am on track to receive another one very soon. On the personal front, things are also better than ever, as I’m getting married next year!

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