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Employer threatening me for being "rude to a customer" OUTSIDE work?! watch

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    I'm a student but live in a nearby small town and commute to uni as it's cheaper. I also work part-time in a national supermarket chain in the small town so am well known to the regulars.

    Anyway I was in the town library the other day (because the weather's been so snowy and it would have taken ages to commute to the uni one) when this older guy (with his kid!) started behaving in a way that made me feel really uncomfortable, looking me up and down, staring for AGES etc. He was barely even playing with his kid but every time I got up to go to the toilet or get a coffee for instance he'd stare at my legs (I was wearing a slightly short skirt but no excuse). He also kept moving when I did and stared for hours. I moved a few times but eventually snapped and told him to stop. He frowned at me and said "Watch your manners" but stopped doing it and left shortly afterwards.

    Next time I go into work my manager asks to speak to me, turns out this guy also shops where I work (I can't remember him and he's not a "regular") and turns out he came in and complained that I was very rude to him outside work. My manager tells me this is not how a representative of the company should behave and basically tries to tell me off even though I explained what was happening. My managers argument was that as a small store we need to stay competitive and as part of the local community our employees must be polite to people who are customers even outside work.

    WTF?! Is this even legal? It's not like I was doing something like posting racist stuff online or got into a fist fight or did drugs (or said or did anything RELATED to the company). Absolutely furious RN.
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    (Original post by Millihelen)
    I'm a student but live in a nearby small town and commute to uni as it's cheaper. I also work part-time in a national supermarket chain in the small town so am well known to the regulars.

    Anyway I was in the town library the other day (because the weather's been so snowy and it would have taken ages to commute to the uni one) when this older guy (with his kid!) started behaving in a way that made me feel really uncomfortable, looking me up and down, staring for AGES etc. He was barely even playing with his kid but every time I got up to go to the toilet or get a coffee for instance he'd stare at my legs (I was wearing a slightly short skirt but no excuse). He also kept moving when I did and stared for hours. I moved a few times but eventually snapped and told him to stop. He frowned at me and said "Watch your manners" but stopped doing it and left shortly afterwards.

    Next time I go into work my manager asks to speak to me, turns out this guy also shops where I work (I can't remember him and he's not a "regular") and turns out he came in and complained that I was very rude to him outside work. My manager tells me this is not how a representative of the company should behave and basically tries to tell me off even though I explained what was happening. My managers argument was that as a small store we need to stay competitive and as part of the local community our employees must be polite to people who are customers even outside work.

    WTF?! Is this even legal? It's not like I was doing something like posting racist stuff online or got into a fist fight or did drugs (or said or did anything RELATED to the company). Absolutely furious RN.
    You’ve done nothing wrong. You’ve stood up for yourself but now you’re in the wrong. Doesn’t make sense but just try and avoid him again. It’s somewhat clear he tried to provoke a reaction from you. The only thing I can say is try and keep professional as an employee outside of work.
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    What an awful old guy! It's a little funny though, He must have been so embarrassed and humiliated that you caught onto his behaviour, serves him right, the nasty perv! But even more worrying than that, your manager's behavior is incredibly, ridiculously inappropriate.

    In a way its a good thing that you work in a supermarket chain as there is (theoretically) always support from above. Have you got any HR people who can help like a dignity at work adviser? I work for the switchboard covering 60 UK M&S stores and you would not believe how often we get employee calls (usually from young people) to speak to HRSS because they've been treated badly. Its more common than you'd think and its appalling. You don't have to take it further as I know it may cause trouble (though you completely have every right to and I encourage it if you're feeling brave!) but it may just help to speak to someone about your concerns.

    Please keep us posted. <3
 
 
 
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