As a male manager, can I refuse to meet with women unless chaperoned?


If a governor resigns over a “he said, she said” dispute about where his hand was when she asked for a photo, or because he asked about their personal lives, or hugged them for a second too long at an event, is there any hope for being a male manager? I feel all it takes is for one woman to make a claim and then I am tarnished forever and risk losing my job. Can I make it clear that I will refuse to meet with any woman at work one-on-one, privately?

The truth is, I hear this privately from a lot of male managers. Highly regarded and respected leaders who have never had anyone complain about them have expressed concern about meeting with female colleagues behind closed doors a result of everything that has been reported in the media these past few years. I think that fear is unwarranted. In all of my years in HR I have never experienced a case of women conspiring to make multiple false claims about a male manager. If you have any concerns about a particular colleague, male or female, and you need to have a difficult conversation with them, you may feel more comfortable having someone else in the room. That is prudent and fine. But to say you won’t meet with any women privately is insulting and unprofessional.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo resigned amid a sexual harassment scandal.
REUTERS/Caitlin Ochs

My employer is nuts. We are customer-facing, so they are mandating that we don’t wear masks because they think it makes for a bad customer experience and implies we haven’t been vaccinated. I think this is unsafe. Can they enforce this? Can I refuse?

I would have to agree with you — your employer is nuts. For right now, they also have the law on their side, although that could change if we see a return to mask mandates. Your safety and health are far more important than the “customer experience.” Plus, if anything, in the current environment masks would give any rational person more comfort, not less. Ask what your employer will do if you refuse. Will they make an accommodation, or terminate you? I can tell you I wouldn’t want to be an employer that had to defend a lawsuit because they wouldn’t let their employee wear a mask. Just sayin’.

Gregory Giangrande has over 25 years of experience as a chief human resources executive and is dedicated to helping New Yorkers get back to work. E-mail your questions to [email protected] Follow Greg on Twitter: @greggiangrande and at

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