You are at the office and you see your boss (a man) compliment an attractive female employee on her appearance.

Vous êtes au bureau et vous voyez votre patron (un homme) complimenter une jolie employée sur son apparence.

Depending on how well they know each other, it could be just fine.

Do nothing, probably

Do nothing. He's allowed to say what he wants as long as it's not harassment.

don't care

I am not worried because i have already complimented her on her appearance, and certainly in a more charming way than my boss. I've still got the edge.

I let him be.

i might get a bit irritated and think he's very silly and superficial

I wonder if anything is going on between the two of them.

i would be annoyed, and would talk to my coworkers about what i should do. i would also ask the woman if it made her uncomfortable.

I wouldn't give it a second thought, though I might smile.

I wouldn't say anything, but I will try to look out for future flirts. If they continue I might speak to somebody.

I wouldn't say anything.

If I were on a personal level with my boss I would scold him for doing that.

keep an eye out, let her deal with it, offer help

Nothing. (Unless it's sexual harassment.)

roll my eyes and sigh

Since it was not an attack, I don't say anything, it could be ok. If it was offensive in principle, I would say protest.

That is none of my business.

There's nothing wrong with complimenting someone when he or she looks good.

wait for it to happen again and talk to the female employee about it.

You try to get with her before he has the chance.

"Bonne chance!!!"

C'est toujours agréable tant que ça ne va pas plus loin...

Il a raison, je pense pareil.

Je donnerai mon avis s'il me le demande, si non, j'interviens pas

Je ferais pareil.

je la félicite et l'informe qu'elle va bientôt passer sous le bureau du patron et avoir une promotion

Je n'en pense pas moins...

Je ne fais rien

Je pense : "Quel crétin...ah les hommes, tous les mêmes!"

je pense qu'elle va avoir une augmentation

Je peux penser la même chose que lui, mais sans le dire, et son compliment ne me choque pas.

Je regarde aussi l'employée pour voir s'il a bon goût.

Je rigole car je pourrais faire la même chose surtout aux filles.

Le patron drague, j'observe et apprends un peu plus sur lui

si ça se produit trop souvent, j'irai parler à cette fille pour lui dire de faire attention.

si c'est sans arrière pensée c'est plutôt bien, sinon je me propose comme aide pour la dame si il lui cause des soucis.

Tout dépend la façon dont c'est fait, il ne s'agit pas forcément de harcèlement.


I noticed that most Americans find a boss complimenting an employee on appearances is improper. Some suggested an inappropriate relationship was occuring between the two. Either way, most would talk to co-workers about how to handle the situation. The French, however, seemed to not think much about it. Some said they would do the same thing. In the situation with the bank teller addressing a client informally, the French find a personal interaction to be inappropriate, yet not nearly as much in this situation. Why such different responses? Do you feel personal relationships with co-workers much more important or appropriate than with clients?

I found the differences in these responses very interesting. The Americans for the most part chose to ignore the situation. However, the majority of you seemed to not only approve, but also encourage the behavior. How is the employer-employee relationship defined in France? What are some of the societal bounds people follow? Is it commonplace for employers to whistle at their employees? It seems strange to me. Is dating one’s co-workers very acceptable in France? What are the unspoken rules of office politics?

Il y a souvent un peu de drague, que ce soit entre collègues ou dans une relation de clientèle, si les personnages s'y prêtent (au moins un des deux...). Eh oui si vous être célibataires, n'auriez vous pas envie, messieurs, d'attraper la secrétaire de votre dentiste belle comme le jour? Et vous, mesdemoiselles, ne rêvassiez-vous pas que votre beau banquier ne vous emmenasse dîner?...

Il faut noter que dans notre classe…il y a 4 filles, ce qui explique « l’encouragement »…et donc la différence de point de vue par rapport à l’employé de la banque…
Je ne pense donc pas que ça décrive la relation patron/employé. Celle-ci dépend de la culture d’entreprise. En général dans les petites structures on tutoie et dans les grandes on vouvoie. Le comportement va avec, ce n’est pas forcément mal placé de faire un compliment. Tout dépend de la relation de base, de la façon de le dire et surtout ce qui est dit exactement. La politique d’entreprise dépend tout simplement de l’entreprise, et donc si on entend une chose comme ça, dans un contexte précis, on peut évaluer ce « compliment » (d’une simple gentillesse au harcèlement). Ce qui est évident, c’est que le compliment physique nécessite une certaine entente préalable, parce que sinon on se dit : « tous des pervers !!! » et on a raison…sniff. Quoiqu’il en soit, que penseriez vous si le patron était une femme et l’employé un homme ? Imaginez que vous entendez une femme faire ce compliment à un de ses collègues, que penseriez vous ? Quel type de relation entretenez avec vos collègues ? Votre patron ? Le respect de la hiérarchie est-il très important aux Etats-Unis ?

pour commenter la réponse de Floriane, même s'il n'y a que 4 filles, je ne vois pas 4 réponses qui aillent contre l'opinion publique...peut être que la gente féminine apprécie finalement? ;-) Je pense qu'il vaut mieux être flatté de la sorte que le contraire. Lorsqu'on une filles est jolie, elle le sait et peut parfois l'utiliser, alors il faut aussi en accepter les "maigres" conséquences =)

This past summer I did an internship at a fairly large company and all the interns had to attend training sessions. One of them was on eitquette and proper behaviour at the work place. Generally, it was acceptable to give a compliment but only with regards to work, not appearence. Although someone's comment may seem innocent, other people can take it quite differently, which may lead to serious consequences, which is why we generally refrain from commenting on people's appearences. The company also discouraged relationships with other employees because it detracts from a professional environment. I think the main reason why we don't commend such behavior is becuase we are intstructed not to and also we must maintain a professional appearence. Are there any special workplace etiquettes in France?

To me there seems to be three types of responses coming from the Americans: "this is a joke ahha," "i would of course try to help out," or "I am just going to ignore this." On the French side, however, there seems to be a complete lack of seriousness and sympathy. I guess I may be able to attribute this to the fact that there aren't many girls on the French side. Still, I would doubt that such a majority would respond so non seriously when sexual harassment has been a very big deal, at least in the US. What do you, the French students, think? Is sexual harassment uncommon in France or does it exist but it hasn't been identified as a serious problem in France?

To me I agree with the French people more so than with the Americans. In France, or in any part of the world, as Vincent puts it, if a girl is pretty, she knows it. Girls are like that, and so are sometimes guys. I truly do not see what the problem is when an employer compliments a pretty female. If she does not want to be so, then she has the power to reject his wooing gestures. As for other people butting in other people's business, such as this one, they either have too much time on their hand or are complaining that they have worked at the company for too long, if you know what I mean. They are probably someone ugly who do not get complimented, or wants to feel importat by speaking out. However, like Florian said, it depends much so on the type of company also. And yes, I do agree that there are some unspoken rules of office politics as well. My only question is for the girls only. Do you feel flattered when people compliment your appearance, or offended, be it in the office or anywhere?

One cannot help feeling flattered when receiving a complement, but at the same time, I would much rather receive a complement from my superior about the good work that I accomplished. Compliments concerning looks are fine to a certain extent, but it also leaves a girl wondering as to whether she is taken seriously as an employee or just a pretty person to look at. Any complaints made, however, should be made by the complement's recipient, not an outside party.

To Floraine, you posed a very valid and significant question when you asked if it would have been different if the boss were a woman and the employee a man. I definitely think that yes, the responses would have been very different. I think that in American society, if it were the man complimenting the woman, he is seen as a predator, but if it were a woman complimenting a man, the compliment is seen as more of an act between friends. It is unfair that people are held to a double standard, but that is the way our society is. What about in France?