Man forced to endure male COO's advances

PETALING JAYA - A better job offer became a nightmare for a web designer after he was molested by his chief operating officer (COO), also a man.

The 28-year-old Kenny* was pushed against a wall, groped and had obscenities whispered in his ear by the boss.

He was excited to start a new career at a local online shopping company but instead attracted undesired attention.

"It started with innocuous but very inappropriate comments about my manhood. I felt uncomfortable but I took it as a joke," he said.

When Kenny did not retaliate, his boss started to ask him out for dates, flirt with him and touch him, which he silently endured for the sake of his job.

Things spun out of control when the boss promoted him as a department head, with his desk moved into the COO's office.

"I told him no. I did not want the promotion.But he threatened to fire my colleague if I refused the offer," he said, and reluctantly accepted the job.

But he drew the line when the COO accosted him after office hours, pushing him against the wall and groping his crotch.

Kenny tried to seek help but most of his colleagues would not believe his story.

But those who did offered only their sympathies, refusing to risk offending their COO.

"I couldn't just leave the company. I had heavy financial commitments," he said.

In desperation, Kenny contacted the Labour Department, only to be told that concrete evidence was needed to file a case against the COO.

Kenny's ordeal lasted six months as by then the boss had grown tired of him.

The COO had turned his attention to a new male employee and Kenny was demoted to his former rank.

"Although I do not wish for anyone else to suffer as I did, I was very relieved that he stopped harassing me," Kenny said.

He has since left the company and is working for a renowned accounting firm.

* Name has been changed to protect his identity.

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