I don’t know how to react to what just happened. My [female] boss casually mentioned that I should maybe wear t-shirts under my tops, after I leaned over to grab something. I said that my top didn’t show anything at all from the front, but I would be more careful when bending over. She agreed that it looked fine from the front, but said, “well, if you move your arm like this, I can see the top [of my boob].” She said that “several” people have mentioned this problem to her.
Necessary background: 1) I am in a wheelchair, so I am always shorter than everyone. 2) I sit in my office by myself 98% of the time, and I have only worked here for 6 months. In that time, I’ve probably gone to 20 meetings total, all in a large room of people where I just sat quietly in the back. 3) I’ve worked at this same company for 5 years (just a different office) and never heard this complaint.
I just don’t get how I could have so greatly offended several people enough during those few meetings that they would complain about me.
I basically thanked my boss for making me aware and said that I would evaluate whether I wanted to make any changes, but that I had checked today’s outfit, and I found it appropriate. I said that because of the wheelchair, my body is often deemed open for public scrutiny, so I take bodily autonomy incredibly seriously. She hinted that these people could make a formal complaint to HR; I said that was their right, and I’d be happy to talk to HR. She said, “no, no! Don’t worry, it would never come to that! Everything’s fine, just be happy!”
I’m sad to know I’ve been the butt of gossip, but a big part of me feels like I don’t need to change anything. As a person in a wheelchair, I kind of think it isn’t my job to wear turtlenecks every day so that no one could see down my top. If looking in the mirror, my breasts are covered, then I feel like my little b-cups are probably workplace appropriate.