Monday, August 23, 2010

Dear Shopping Savage...

Dear Shopping Savage,

While my assistant is on maternity leave, a temp was assigned to me. I've noticed that her style of dress is a bit unprofessional. She wears low cut tops, short skirts and high heels. She's giving all of the guys something to talk about...and the women too. As her direct supervisor - and might I add a happily married man with three great kids - should I say something to her about her clothing, have her reassigned or just wait until my assistant returns and enjoy the view...from a safe distance?


Provocative Temp Worker Dilemma


P.T.W. D.,

I would avoid saying something to her directly. You don't want her to misconstrue your good intentions as a personal assault, or worse: an advance. (Being called into 'HR' for a refresher course on "sexual harassment in the work place", for example, is not the way you want to spend a Monday afternoon.)

The best approach would be to have a female colleague that you trust, and one that has also taken note of your temp's potential wardrobe malfeasance, speak to her one-on-one. Encourage her to invite your temp out for lunch (mainly to get away from prying eyes and ears) and let her in on the office chatter.

If the next day there isn't an immediate improvement in her wardrobe then it may be time to step in. Call her into your office and use your judgement as to whether this should be an open-door discussion. Lead with a brief performance review but address her choice of office attire by asking her how her lunch-date went with your co-worker. That should be enough of a reminder for her to get the hint.

If all else fails, have 'HR' step in to put her back through "office dress code" training. None of these suggestions will make you popular with your male colleagues, but tell them to look at it as one less distraction at work...and if they're married like yourself, an anniversary gift.

Need sartorial advice? Email me:

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