30-Old Co-worker Hits On H.S.-Age

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about old 30 year man soliciting dates of underage employees:

I just turned 18 this year. I am a full time high school student and have a part-time job at a retailer. I am considered the “baby” of the company because I get very excited and I love exuding enthusiasm to customers. I love people; however, my company has recently hired this one male worker who is much older, at least 30 years old, compared to the many high school and college student workers, 16-22. He’s very out of place with his formal dress compared to the typical shirt and jeans the rest of us wear. I’ve been hearing rumors of dishonesty and just a feel of desperation from this worker.

One day when I was working with him, he started complimenting on how “beautiful” I was in a serious tone and even complimented me on my lip-gloss. I was very much uncomfortable and then when he asked me to go to a hockey game with him, I was beyond uncomfortable! I was ready to yell out “PEDOPHILIA!” I haven’t finished high school yet and this guy here has probably finished college! I declined his offer and then I confided in some of the female coworkers this male coworker made me uncomfortable recently.

I learned that the male coworker has repeatedly asking out mainly high school girls out to dates and for personal contact information. I took a stance and told one of my female managers of the situation and she told me that there is nothing they can really do since if it was borderline harassment. She told me to keep declining offers if I get more offers and she will notify the managers and do “something.”

However, just recently, my16 year old coworker came to me and told me that this male coworker is still asking her on outings and for personal contact info. Clearly, either my managers didn’t take any action or this male coworker has some serious desperation issues. I am extremely fed up with this his sad and lowly attempt to get a female companion by targeting high school girls. I don’t know if I should tell my company’s authorities or confront the male coworker about his statutory rape-like behavior or pretend nothing happen. What should I do?

Signed, Very Uncomfortable

Dear Very Uncomfortable:

It is not abnormal for a man aged 30 to seek dates with young women, even those in high school. It is unlawful for any man, over 18, to sexually impose himself on an underage woman. Asking for dates is not “statutory rape-like behavior” and “PEDOPHILIA!” Should you report this co-worker to your manager again? No, if he simply invites you on a date and you decline. Yes, if he talks to you about your beauty and body more than once again and you have asked him not to.

Rumors about dishonesty? Don’t listen to or spread them. They are simply gossip. If you witness stealing, that is when you should carefully document what, when and who, and report it.Maintain enthusiasm for you customers and your own “all business” commitment to your store. Avoid most chatter about non-business topics such as gossip about this man. Should you speak to him about how you perceive him as “ancient” when it comes to trying to date high school age girls? Possibly that might give him a perspective that will help him seek women nearer his age. Always be friendly and cheerful with him as you are with other co-workers, but I do not advice, more than a brief conversation with him on anything but appropriate business. And relax. Be your self. Feel free to check with your parents or someone you respect to get other advice.

You may think of your job as simply a way to make money for college, and that’s ok. But also see this job as a learning experience. Lean all you can about the business and put your self in the shoes of those who manage and are owners. You may not want this kind of job as a career, but don’t rule it out without learning all you can. Think about what our signature WEGO means–working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS.

William Gorden