If you are asked to do an inappropriate task by either your boss or a fellow worker, how do you tell them no?
Office politics exist in most offices and it can be very difficult to find a tactful way to refuse to carry out a task which makes you feel uncomfortable or that is not within your job description.
So how do you say no?
Think before you speak, consider carefully exactly what you need to say in the most polite and tactful way possible. Restate the obvious, for example “You mean you want me to do your personal work?”
Try telling your boss that it makes you feel uncomfortable in this situation so that he or she has the chance to put things right and do the task themselves. You could try to turn it around and imply that they should do the task by perhaps saying “I know your wife would really appreciate the effort if you were to pick out her gift personally”.
As a last resort you may want to try involving others in the situation by speaking to your boss’s superiors, if this is possible.
Always seek professional advice from a solicitor or advisor immediately if the inappropriate task is of a sexual nature. You need to know your rights as an employee which include the right to freedom from discrimination and sexual harassment and the right to speak freely regarding illegal or inappropriate behaviour by your employer.
Sometimes the best option is to consider looking for another position, an employer who puts you in an awkward situation once is more than likely going to do it again at some time in the future as they obviously don’t have any respect for you.