ONE seventh of an iceberg protrudes above the water; six sevenths lurks beneath.

As I write this, a ‘sexberg’ that seems to have broken off from a Hollywood iceflow is floating uncontrollably around Westminster. It has so far claimed four parliamentary lives and by the time you read this will undoubtedly have claimed more. The lurking six sevenths lies in wait for a barely floating government as each Tory body threatens a wafer-thin majority.

Of course, no one should feel threatened or uncomfortable at work. Every organisation should have in place robust processes and procedures to make sure either that vulnerable people are protected and support systems are in place.

But sometimes things are not as clear as they seem.

Dress for instance. My team organises a charity ball and I simply put on my DJ. But my female staff put on ball gowns and get glammed up for the evening – they need to mingle with the guests, it’s part of the job. After the effort that they put in, I’d like to make a point of saying how good they look, but I can’t.

If I’m having a one-to-one conversation with a female member of staff, even if it’s confidential, I can no longer shut my office door. It might make them feel uncomfortable.

The other night was the culmination of two years of hard planning for Kerry. Against all the odds and amidst considerable discouragement she had organised what turned out to be a hugely successful evening event. Days and hours of preparation, the calling in of favours, an early start, last-minute hiccups overcome and painstaking details attended to. The event exceeded expectation; was a fabulous success and earned accolades from everyone in attendance. At the end, Kerry looked shattered. ‘You either need a taxi home, or some food,’ I said. ‘I’m starving,’ she replied. ‘Shall we grab something to eat, then?’ I asked. Within half-an-hour we were seated at a table in the dining area of a one of the smarter nearby pubs. It seemed the right thing to do.

But was it? How would other staff regard it? Could my motives be misconstrued?

I paid for dinner as Kerry was a junior member of staff and was on a tight budget, but, since I work for a charity there’s no way I would claim two staff dinners on my expenses. However if I didn’t, would my buying her dinner raise questions about my motives? Had I put Kerry and myself in a vulnerable position? I find myself on the horns of a dilemma.

Navigating sexual politics in the work place feels like steering a ship through icy waters. The Titanic was sunk below the water line by the part of an iceberg that no-one saw until it was too late.