Dear Abby: Pressure on Gay Man to Date Coworker Is Harassment
A closeted gay man being pressured to date a female coworker has a classic sexual harassment case, says syndicated advice columnist Dear Abby.
The man, who says he can’t be out at work, says the colleague has long tried to convince him they “would make a good pair,” and she has gotten the rest of their coworkers involved. “I’m constantly pressured by my supervisor to ‘just go out with her and give her a chance,’” he writes, adding that the situation has made him “dread coming to the office.”
Jeanne Phillips, who writes the Abby column, says the situation is “a classic example of sexual harassment and a hostile work environment” and would be even if he were straight and not wanting to become romantically involved with the colleague for any reason. She advises the writer to document all the incidents, go to his supervisor’s boss if necessary, and consult a lawyer if the situation doesn’t improve.
Phillips has often taken gay-supportive stands in the column, as did her mother, Pauline Phillips, who was Dear Abby for many years.