/ Sexual harassment of young female at work

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Baron Weasel - on 15:45 Sat

My step daughter, who turned 18 last month works in a local café. She has worked there for about 3 years now alongside other young females of similar ages. 

Earlier today Mrs Weasel gets a message from her daughter to say that for the second time a creepy old man has brought in a love letter which describes how he wants to kiss her, and that she feels very uncomfortable about it, has spoken to her boss and he has allowed her to hide in the kitchen out of sight. Creepy old man has done this to another young woman at this café and to my step daughter asked her not to tell anyone.

This has set my alarm bells ringing and I went straight down to the café to ask the café owner what has happened and his response was that he'd have a word. I told him that I didn't think it was an appropriate response because having written love letters on more than one occasion (despite it being made clear that his advances were not welcome) makes his behaviour predatory and asking them not to say anything is as attempt at grooming them. 

The café owner then tried to trivialise it by saying the old man was just lonely and trying to reach out to the girls and that it was not of a sexual nature. At this point my step daughter and co-worker said it is of a sexual nature because he's describing how he wants to kiss us and we feel really uncomfortable about his presence. 

I at this point said to café owner that I have worked in hospitality and if this had happened in a café or bar that I was working in then I would have politely asked them to leave and not return. Café owner then tells me he will phone the old man as he has his number and he will deal with it. 

I'm not confident he will deal with it (he's confiscated the letters btw!). Mrs Weasel and I are going to go into the café next Saturday morning at the time this old man normally comes in and if he does come in I'll be having strong words and I'll also be having a follow up conversation with the café owner.

Is there anything else I could or should do?

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Trangia on 16:22 Sat
In reply to Baron Weasel:

Probably not sensible to try and confront this weirdo yourselves, because things could get out of hand with accusations and counter accusations. Report it to the police? This IS sexual harassment, and the creepy old man deserves a visit from trained officers concerning his behaviour.  

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Pete Pozman - on 16:31 Sat
In reply to Baron Weasel:

I was a manager once and didn't get how serious it was when a young female colleague complained about a similar ineffectual old bloke making very similar advances. I took weak measures and she very assertively made me understand how serious it was for her. I then banned him from the premises after giving him a talking to. If it was now I would call the police. Tell the manager you want the evidence and you are calling the police. 

Post edited at 16:33
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Pete Pozman - on 16:50 Sat
In reply to Baron Weasel: 

Don't forget this geezer might be making a nuisance of himself all round the town. And bearing in mind that conversation I had all those years ago, he'll be in total denial that he's doing anything wrong. I think the police will appreciate a call from you  

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wercat on 16:53 Sat
In reply to Baron Weasel:

You need to advise the proprietor that he had no business  confiscating what might be required by the police as evidence if things escalate.  Not his property and no right to confiscate.  Unless he is acting as part of a paedo ring of course in which case it's a survival reaction.

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abr1966 - on 16:57 Sat
In reply to Baron Weasel:

I would do just the same as you....although it may not be the best course of action!

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Wanderer100 - on 19:38 Sat
In reply to Baron Weasel:

Rip his head off and piss down the hole in his neck. Sometimes violence is the best option.

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thebigfriendlymoose - on 19:57 Sat
In reply to Wanderer100:

Nuke the entire cafe from orbit, it's the only way to be sure

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Lusk - on 20:45 Sat
In reply to Wanderer100:

> Rip his head off and piss down the hole in his neck. Sometimes violence is the best option.


... or let the Police do it for you!

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Babika - on 20:55 Sat
In reply to Baron Weasel:

It all sounds really horrid but sadly familiar

Support your step daughter - tell her shes being brave and doing the right thing and take it to the police

Post edited at 21:02
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krikoman - on 21:09 Sat
In reply to Baron Weasel:

Definitely, tell the coppers, despite their unbelievable workloads, they are best equipped to deal with the situation.

I think I'd be going down to the cafe when he's in just to get a look at him myself, though to. You don't have to let anyone know why you're there or do anything other than observe.

Good luck.

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Timmd on 22:40 Sat
In reply to wercat:

> You need to advise the proprietor that he had no business  confiscating what might be required by the police as evidence if things escalate.  Not his property and no right to confiscate.  Unless he is acting as part of a paedo ring of course in which case it's a survival reaction.

I'm thinking he's trying to keep things 'in house' to protect the cafe's reputation and is hoping to stop anything too official from happening if he can do.

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JackM92 - on 22:40 Sat
In reply to Pete Pozman:

A woman tried to stick her finger up my bum whilst I was stacking shelves in a North Wales off licence. I spoke to my manager and he told me to ‘deal with her next time she comes in’. 

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Timmd on 22:44 Sat
In reply to Baron Weasel:

Possibly get your wife to discretely film you talking to the old man so that he can't claim you did anything to him?

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captain paranoia - on 23:37 Sat
In reply to Baron Weasel:

Cafe owner having phone number of perpetrator rings alarm bells for me.

ps. I'm not lighting the torches and reaching for the pitchfork just yet, but someone needs to make it very clear to this chap that his behaviour is completely unacceptable. Ideally, someone in an official capacity such as the police, but someone trained to deal with the situation either firmly or sensitively, as required, which will only be apparent when they speak to this chap.

Post edited at 23:51
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profitofdoom on 00:28 Sun
In reply to Baron Weasel:

> Is there anything else I could or should do?

Do not on any account talk with or go near the creepy old man

Do not talk to the cafe owner

Report it to the police and follow through

Good luck

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marsbar - on 09:07 Sun
In reply to Baron Weasel:

I think your step daughter should look for another job if possible.  The manager sounds as bad as the customer.  I agree about the police.   

Post edited at 09:07
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wintertree - on 09:31 Sun
In reply to Baron Weasel:

Read about what legally constitutes harassment in the UK - as I understand it if your daughter tells the creep she finds his behaviour to be harassment then legally any further such behaviour is harassment.

As another poster said, WTF does the owner have the creep’s number?

By ”protecting” the creep by hushing it up and not supporting his employees in the legal route, the manager is not protecting the creep.  He’s allowing his behaviour to go unchallenged and preventing him from interaction with the law that might allow the creep to realise he needs to change.   For every disgraced sex offender I expect there are dozens of such “acts of discretion/kindness” that contributed to the offender’s spiralling behaviour.  You might gently suggest this view to the manager if he is just misguided not in on something bigger.

Post edited at 09:32
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summo on 10:48 Sun
In reply to Baron Weasel:

You have to tell the police he might already be on the sex offenders register. Avoid confronting him though, that's the police's job. 

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Baron Weasel - on 11:17 Sun
In reply to all:

Thanks for all your replies. If it was up to me I would report it to the police, but Mrs weasel doesn't want to go down this route just yet. 

Step daughter did take a photo of the letter before it was confiscated which is good. The café owner is an absolute knob, I first met him several years ago and that was my first impression and I stand by it...

As for our next move, I think Mrs weasel and I will go into the café next Saturday morning, partly as moral support for the teenager. But also to see if creepy old man stays away and to eye ball if he doesn't and then I'll go to the police. 

I'm a pacifist normally, but the protective instinct towards my family does make me want to rip the perverts head off and sh!t down his throat (don't worry, I won't actually do this).

Cheers y'all!

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Ben Sharp - on 11:18 Sun
In reply to Baron Weasel:

> Is there anything else I could or should do?

Have you thought about asking your step daughter how/if she would like you to assist her with the situation and taking your cues on how to help from her?

I agree that  contacting the police sounds like the most sensible solution but it would probably be more helpful if she was consulted over the next steps and assisted in the ways that she feels it is necessary instead of ukc deciding for her. I can imagine that a bunch of older men sorting it out for her between themselves isn't the most empowering response to the situation. I presume she asked you to go straight down to the cafe to speak to the owner, I can imagine some would be absolutely mortified at their step dad doing that somewhere they've worked for 3 years.

Post edited at 11:19
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Baron Weasel - on 11:34 Sun
In reply to Ben Sharp:

Yes she wanted me to come to café and wants me to speak to café owner again. I'll speak to her about the police too. 

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neilh - on 12:23 Sun
In reply to Baron Weasel:

Just remember the cafe owner will not have a clue as to how to handle the situation. Most small businesses would be in the same boat. It will be way outside their normaL experience. 

Unless of course it’s a Starbucks or costa coffee. 

Post edited at 12:24
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Pete Pozman - on 12:50 Sun
In reply to Timmd:

> I'm thinking he's trying to keep things 'in house' to protect the cafe's reputation and is hoping to stop anything too official from happening if he can do.

A bit like the Catholic Church then

... 

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marsbar - on 13:04 Sun
In reply to Pete Pozman:

True, and that didn't go so well....

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EarlyBird - on 13:23 Sun
In reply to wercat:

Have a dislike from me. Not because of your first two sentences, with which I agree, but for your third  which was a bit unnecessary.

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Ron Rees Davies - on 13:37 Sun
In reply to Baron Weasel:

> .......want to rip the perverts head off and sh!t down his throat

Seems a bit harsh when there's a significant chance this is just an old man with dementia issues. Get the authorities involved and they can decide whether help (or punishment) is appropriate. 

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marsbar - on 13:40 Sun
In reply to Ron Rees Davies:

There is that possibility I agree.  Significant not necessarily.  It could well be just a creepy pervert.

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freeflyer - on 15:04 Sun
In reply to Baron Weasel:

> Yes she wanted me to come to café and wants me to speak to café owner again. I'll speak to her about the police too. 

It's good to hear you and your step-daughter are working together on the problem, however be careful that you don't let your protective instincts (very understandable) take over. Instead see if you can make this uncomfortable and embarrassing situation into a more positive process for her, by encouraging her to take control of what should be done.

At eighteen, with three years work experience in the cafe, she should have a reasonable amount of self-confidence in dealing with people, and it would be really good for her if she could take charge of the situation with whatever support she needs from you and her mum, rather than just hoping the whole thing will go away and mum and dad will sort it out, which is likely a bit how she's feeling at the moment.

The correct safeguarding procedure is, as other posters have mentioned, to avoid contact with the man and to involve the authorities; in this case the police is a good starting point.

It's a depressing thought, but it probably won't be the last time this sort of thing happens to her. Help her to get the skills she needs to look after herself.

I hope you manage to get this sorted out with the minimum of fuss and the maximum of effect! She did a good thing taking a photo of the letter.
 

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Timmd on 15:46 Sun
In reply to Pete Pozman:

He's not being above board and what have you...

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marsbar - on 16:12 Sun
In reply to freeflyer:

> At eighteen, with three years work experience in the cafe, she should have a reasonable amount of self-confidence in dealing with people,

Agree

>and it would be really good for her if she could take charge of the situation with whatever support she needs

This isn't a situation she should have to deal with.   

As a step parent of an 18 year old, and many years working with teenagers, I don't think she should have to deal with this kind of man directly.  He is a creep. 

Her boss should have dealt with it.  He didn't.  In a larger company HR would be the next step.  

This isn't available to her.  

I usually advise stepping back and letting teenagers sort their own problems but this situation isn't one of those.  

Post edited at 16:13
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Pete Pozman - on 17:01 Sun

> I usually advise stepping back and letting teenagers sort their own problems but this situation isn't one of those.  

She dealt with it when she asked for support. 

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marsbar - on 17:18 Sun
In reply to Pete Pozman:

Exactly, and this was the sensible thing to do.  Supporting her is the right thing to do.  It's not a trivial matter.

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Timmd on 17:24 Sun
In reply to marsbar:

I briefly wondered about the girl wording a robust letter back to him, along the lines of him receiving a knee to the groin if he tried to touch or kiss her - it occurred to me that the old guy's approach and fantasies hinge around the waitresses being passive receivers, and individuals he can project his day dreams onto. 

It might pop his illusions I thought, but it's probably a bad idea... 

Post edited at 17:28
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marsbar - on 17:28 Sun
In reply to Timmd:

Bad idea in my opinion.  

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Timmd on 17:28 Sun
In reply to marsbar: You're probably right. 

This thread has reminded me that it's not uncommon for females who work in cafes and similar to have male customers who can 'lurk' where they work after taking a shine to them.

A sis in law while a waitress in a cocktail bar in her late 20's or early 30's had an older guy take a shine to her, and buy her presents sometimes. He was once telling her about his kitchen (something he'd done before), and she told him she had no idea why he was telling her about it because she was never going to see it, and he said 'You might do one day' in a hopeful/not quite wanting to be rebuffed way, which she found a bit much (as she put it in her understated way).

Fortunately she's not backwards in saying it like it is, possibly something which can come with age....

Post edited at 17:52
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wercat on 17:37 Sun
In reply to EarlyBird:

I did wonder if it was going a bit far but putting together having contact details for the "gentleman" concerned and going so far as to allege a right and acting on the alleged right to confiscate what is a pretty disturbing item, hiding it from history and possible protection of family rang a possible  alarm bell for me.

I can't help the caution - it saves me from trouble in the mountains and other tricky situations sometimes

Post edited at 17:41
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Trangia on 17:58 Sun
In reply to Baron Weasel:

I go back to what I said originally. Let the police deal with this. 

If this is the first time the police have been involved they will probably visit the creep and interview him under caution. The chances are that that that will frighten the shit out of the creep, and he will keep away and leave the girls alone, but the interview will be on record if there are further complaints from anywhere they will have that on file.

Did the first "love letter" arrive when she was under 18? If so that could make the whole thing more serious.

Why do you and your wife want to go to the cafe next Saturday morning? What do you intend to do? The chances are that if you raise the matter with him, he will deny it. How are you going to handle that? Someone accusing your step daughter of lying to your face? As I said before the whole thing could escalate and get messy, and your instinct to protect her could land you and/or your wife in trouble. 

Think hard about all this and where it could lead, and let the professionals deal with it.

I also think the police should be made aware of how ineffectual the cafe owner is being here, he is not protecting his staff, and brushing an inconvenient truth under the carpet. As others have said there is an analogy here with the Catholic Church, and I would add the way in which the likes of Jimmy Saville have been protected by people not wanting to "rock the boat". 

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Timmd on 18:20 Sun
In reply to Trangia:

I get where people are coming from with the Catholic church analogy, but it is different to the OP. 

If the cafe owner is as much of a knob as he sounds to be it's got to be better to go through police channels and leave it all to them with the picture as evidence.

Post edited at 18:20
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BFG on 18:29 Sun
In reply to Baron Weasel:

At the point where someone else is in fear for their safety you can't justify or exuse his behaviour; however, he could have learning difficulties or the early stages of dementia. Though that's easy for me to say as I'm the other side of a keyboard and have no direct experience. Also, if he did try to take it further he'd be no less dangerous than any other man of his age / build.

It's important to bear it in mind though because it emphasises the need to get objective, trained experts involved as soon as possible. I'd be calling the police.

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Timmd on 19:06 Sun
In reply to BFG: I'm rather tired so this might not read as well as I wish, but it's occurred to me that one benefit of involving the police is that if anything changes regarding the step daughter's employment, it won't be possible for the cafe bloke to use her parents going in as a reason for her to not work there anymore - due to them causing a scene or being somehow inappropriate. With everything being above board, a similarly official approach can be taken if the cafe bloke is funny about her continuing to work there without him having any room to make excuses. 

Post edited at 19:07
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Ridge - on 19:35 Sun
In reply to wercat:

> I did wonder if it was going a bit far but putting together having contact details for the "gentleman" concerned and going so far as to allege a right and acting on the alleged right to confiscate what is a pretty disturbing item, hiding it from history and possible protection of family rang a possible  alarm bell for me.

Must admit I had exactly the same thought.

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Pete Pozman - on 21:44 Sun
In reply to Timmd:

> He's not being above board and what have you...

Huh? 

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Timmd on 22:13 Sun
In reply to Pete Pozman:

The cafe owner I meant, because he confiscated the letter, and possibly seems to want to 'quietly sort it out'.

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Baron Weasel - on 10:09 Mon
In reply to neilh:

> Just remember the cafe owner will not have a clue as to how to handle the situation. Most small businesses would be in the same boat. It will be way outside their normaL experience. 

I should add that the father of the other girl who received a letter previously had been in to speak to café owner.

Mrs weasel doesn't want us to contact police unless something else happens and I will go along with it, although I think there is a strong case for making it a police matter.

As for the café owner, I really don't like the fella or his handling of the situation. If you employ children then you have a responsibility to keep them safe even more than if you are employing adults. Hopefully she finds a new job soon!

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Andy Hardy on 10:43 Mon
In reply to neilh:

> Just remember the cafe owner will not have a clue as to how to handle the situation. Most small businesses would be in the same boat. It will be way outside their normaL experience. 

If it was a pub, the landlord would bar him. That's what the "boss" needs to do here. If he continues to attempt making contact with the staff, then get the police in.

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wintertree - on 10:46 Mon
In reply to Baron Weasel:

> If you employ children then you have a responsibility to keep them safe even more than if you are employing adults.

I missed the part where he employs people under 18 (my comprehension failure).  I think this raises clear cut questions about his safeguarding policies and morally leaves you and your daughter little choice but to speak with the police.

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graeme jackson - on 11:57 Mon
In reply to Baron Weasel:

I'd get your step daughter to talk to the police and nip this guy's behaviour in the bud.  When I lived in north  Leeds in the mid 80's a close friend of ours told us that as a teenager she had worked in a café on street lane. she and the other waitresses regularly had to fend off overtly sexual advances from a 'creepy old man' and the café owner did nothing about their complaints .  That creepy old man was jimmy saville and his behaviour sadly got much worse.

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neilh - on 12:58 Mon
In reply to wintertree:

I doubt a small cafe owner has a safeguarding policy.( let us get real here)

This is a micro business. it will barely be making any money as a cafe. The owners probably have absolutley no idea about what are the correct procedures or even the best way of handling this. It will be way way outside their expereience. they will not have some legal team or hr team to turn to.Doubt they could even scrape the money together to be able to afford such things.

Now if it was a major retailer-- different ball game.

As a parent with two daughters  myself, I would just remove her and get another job elsewhere.Do that first and then if you want go to the police.

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Eric9Points - on 13:10 Mon
In reply to profitofdoom:

> Report it to the police and follow through

> Good luck

I can't see what good soiling his underpants would do.

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CarolineMc - on 13:47 Mon
In reply to Baron Weasel:

I had a similarly awkward / creepy / nasty situation last year, and chose (as Mrs Weasel is doing) not to involve the police officially unless it got worse or didn't stop. The behaviour did eventually stop so no further action was taken. However, a year on, with fresher eyes and not being stuck in the middle of it I truly regret not involving the police at the time. I thought I was doing the right thing, not making a fuss etc etc. but I absolutely should have done. Can I suggest you have this conversation with Mrs Weasel again and make a call to 101 or your local station with a copy of the letter. It doesn't have to lead to the creep being charged (unless it turns out there is more to it), but a quiet word will make it official and stop him (hopefully) from doing it to anyone else. 

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wintertree - on 14:27 Mon
In reply to neilh:

> I doubt a small cafe owner has a safeguarding policy.( let us get real here)

Then they shouldn’t be employing children.  

The owners don’t need a legal team or HR they need google and a dose of common sense.  Again, if they don’t have that they shouldn’t be employing children.

Its that simple really. 

> As a parent with two daughters  myself, I would just remove her and get another job elsewhere.Do that first and then if you want go to the police.

Which is good for your child, but what about the next child to get a job there?  Perhaps their relationship with their parents is not so supportive.

Post edited at 14:29
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Rob Naylor - on 14:57 Mon
In reply to neilh:

> I doubt a small cafe owner has a safeguarding policy.( let us get real here)

> This is a micro business. it will barely be making any money as a cafe. The owners probably have absolutley no idea about what are the correct procedures or even the best way of handling this.

I don't see why this should be true. All my children have worked in cafes and bars at various times, some of them for several years. All started at around 15 and one is still doing it in her mid 20s.

They mostly worked in small cafes and independent bars. Everywhere they worked had numerous procedures that had to be followed, from fridge temperature checks through how long unrefrigerated food could be kept on a counter before it had to be withdrawn from sale to toilet cleaning checklists. These included procedures for handling complaints, dodgy customers and staffing issues.

Some of the requirements were a hassle for business owners, but when my kids were under 18, there were certainly safeguarding policies for staff who were minors. They weren't, by and large, very extensive or particularly comprehensive, but they did exist, and were usually followed, at least if something that shouldn't be ignored came up.

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captain paranoia - on 15:54 Mon
In reply to Baron Weasel:

> Mrs weasel doesn't want us to contact police

Your daughter is 18. She is an adult. You and your wife can advise her, but it is up to your daughter what she chooses to do next. I suggest you strongly advise her to contact the police...

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neilh - on 16:10 Mon
In reply to Rob Naylor:

Well clearly this place does not ( and nor does it surprise me  having been in a lot of different cafes ranging from the dodgy to very upmarket ) and I have every sympathy with both sides.

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oldie - on 16:42 Mon
In reply to neilh:

> As a parent with two daughters  myself, I would just remove her and get another job elsewhere.Do that first and then if you want go to the police. <

I agree with the comments about notifying authorities and poor response and lack of procedure on the owner's part. However she's been there three years and probably quite likes the job, other staff and clientele. If so why should she have to leave because of some sad, old creep? Perhaps exhaust other options first.

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neilh - on 17:22 Mon
In reply to oldie:

As others have said , for all anybody knows the person may have dementia or another illness. So why are you so keen to declare somebody is a sad old freak . You just do not know  

Its like trial by a pitch fork mob .

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Trangia on 17:56 Mon
In reply to neilh:

> As others have said , for all anybody knows the person may have dementia or another illness. So why are you so keen to declare somebody is a sad old freak . You just do not know  

> Its like trial by a pitch fork mob .

No one is trying him, your scenario is all the more reason why this situation should be dealt with by trained police officers.

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wercat on 17:58 Mon
In reply to neilh:

The most suspicious behaviour is the cafe owner "confiscating" the letters.     There could be an innocent explanation but without one being provided I think his behaviour is at best improper and neglectful of a youthful employee.  The only safeguarding going on is rather dubious and is not protective of the young employee or any further young people he may employ.

Post edited at 17:59
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oldie - on 18:21 Mon
In reply to neilh:

> As others have said , for all anybody knows the person may have dementia or another illness. So why are you so keen to declare somebody is a sad old freak . You just do not know  

> Its like trial by a pitch fork mob .

You're right, I'm wrong. That "sad old freak" remark is so far unjustified and unfair. I think if I had said "sad old person" that might have been acceptable.  However I do think the young lady should not have to leave the job, if she likes it, or have to suffer further through no fault of her own. 

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Becky E - on 14:42 Tue
In reply to Baron Weasel:

Your daughter, and the other young woman, really need to inform the police.  Please please please encourage them to do this.

At the very least it will hopefully scare Creepy Man into stopping.  This is very likely a pattern of behaviour, and their reports may allow the cops to take further action against him.

Keeping quiet / not making a fuss just leaves Creepy Man free to carry on being creepy and harassing young women.

As someone else has said, it also puts Daughter in a stronger position if the cafe owner takes objection to her objections (if you get my drift).

You & Mrs Weasel visiting the cafe doesn't sound like a great idea, to be honest.  If you see something happen, and you go into "protective Dad" mode then you just risk making things worse without resolving the underlying problem (which is that there's a creepy making advances at young women).

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