View Full Version : Sexual Harassment on the job?
I had the unfortunate problem of being harassed, physically assaulted (when I wouldn't give into his requests and demands) and threatened, constant phone calls...and the list goes on, by my superior about 10 years ago.
It got so bad that by the time I retained a lawyer I was advised to get an RO against him. On one occasion he grabbed my chest and I swung out at his arm, demanding verbally that he stop and never do that again (this was witnessed by 3 other people and on the assault occasion as I walked in for my shift he came out of nowhere, I never saw him coming or didn't think I was getting attacked and he grabbed my wrist and threw me against a wall which was right behind me, I broke free and swung with everything I had, a closed right fist, which he saw coming and fell backward to the floor trying to avoid a punch in the mouth. I was trying to defend myself. He was screaming obscenities as he grabbed me. I was so shaken I left and went home. He called me right away on the phone and accused me of assaulting him. What nerve. There were no witnesses to this attack.
He would make remarks to me and others, that women had NO PLACE in this type or any employment. That women should only cook and service men. He threatened many times over to have me removed from my position.
I took this continuous treatment and behavior for a year, until I was so scared to walk in the door that I was left no choice but to retain a lawyer. I wanted him GONE, OUT, FIRED, anything to get rid of him. I was not seeking money but seeking to get rid of him.
I also knew damn well there must of been other women he had done this to. During the investigation and deposition we found out there were others.
My lawyer had papers filed and served. They didn't fire him right away for fear of taking fault, they moved him, but I knew that people like him, will sooner or later get theirs. It took about 4 months and he assaulted someone else with witnesses present... They tossed him then.
We never went to court but because many others were aware of his previous behavior and did nothing about it, my attorney and I went into arbitration and I did receive money.
Without looking it up on my paper work as I remember some of the charges against him were:
promoting an egregious work environment
not to hijack the thread or nothing....
i was accused of sexual harrassment about 4 years ago. thankfully my boss chose to take my side and had the companys lawyer handle the mediation.
my accusor was trying to avoid her imminent termination because she was rather incompetant at her job. didnt help that we did engage in flirting, nor that i turned down her advances. didnt make things easier that other coworkers were going to testify falsely in my accusors favor.
but the entire situation has made me re-evaluate how i treat my co-workers. its difficult for me to allow myself to become friends with the people i work with. now i have a distrust of women.
in the end, after the mediation, my accusors lawyer asked if we would settle. i guess after they heard my side and learned that i had witnesses to back up my version of events, they didnt want to go to court over it.
When 2 consenting adults, in your case, you and her, enter into something (relationship) that is one thing... she unfortunately just tried to use that to her advantage, which by the way... being involved was not your crime and it does not play any part in guilt... but it is when a woman says 'NO' and the man continues, that it becomes a problem. I learned allot from my case. More than I ever dreamed about sexual harassment, more that I wanted to know.
We are not all like that.
Did you go through deposition? Wooo, what an embarrassment that can be even when your innocent and try to be truthful. They dig into things, ask very personal questions from way in your past which seem totally irrelevant to me.
I am glad you situation turned out well.
My lawyer (a woman) had a nurse client who worked for a doctor. My lawyer told me of the case, less the names. This was prominent Boston Doctor. They were involved for 2 years...in love. She ended it but he would not let go. He made her life miserable at work and harassed her constantly to the point she retained my lawyer.
In the end the nurse got a very large settlement in arbitration due to the fact there was much documenting and evidence against the doctor/x-boyfriend his insurance company wanted to settle not go before a jury. Personally for me I wanted a jury and did not want to settle in my situation. I was READY for those 12 people to hear how I was terrorized. My lawyer convinced me to settle. But my MAIN objective was accomplished, in the end HE WAS HISTORY. I wonder what he told his wife?
My attorney said, the relationship made NO difference. The nurse wanted out, got out and doctor boy would not let it go.
Also my lawyer says a big no no is a superior getting involved with a subordinate.
one of the things that made my situation different was that i did say all the things my accusor said, and i owned up to all of them. but she denied her part in any of it. a couple of things she said were:
'we'll have to stay late here at work sometime and get naked'.
'i should come over to your house wearing nothing but a towel'.
'i'd like to sit under your desk all day and.....' okay i wont finish that statement, but you get the idea.
this was the first time i had ever known a woman that was sexually aggressive. so i was kind of overwhelmed, not used to being on the other side of the playing field i guess. what was redeeming was watching her boyfriends reaction in the mediation to my version of the story. you could see in his face that he realized his girlfriend was lying.
accounts like yours chicklet, some mistakenly think it is rare and happens in small no-name types of business. but it still goes on and many people still think that there is no recourse, or that their complaints will fall on deaf ears.
henry rollins discussed the subject of mens treatment of women in one of his spoken word performances. he described the behavior of construction workers that heckle women walking by. the higher up the workers are, the more brazen they become. he suggested that women carry .357 magnums with them and blast the first guy that talks to them like they are a piece of meat.
sadly, that is what it takes for many men to respect a woman. their lives have to be threatened.
Chicklet, I am so sorry that you went through what you did. Yuck! One thing I recently learned is that companies now can be held liable for "negligent hiring" and "negligent retention".
Negligent hiring: If a company fails to do a reasonably thorough background check and your co-worker assaults you, kills you, etc. your company can be held liable for "negligent hiring" because essentially they failed to do due diligence to be sure they weren't hiring a criminal.
Negligent Retention: A company refusing to terminate someone who has a history, even though they are aware of it. For example, if your company lets the guy keep his job even though they are aware that he had a history of sexual harrassment, they can be sued by you for negligent retention. They retained him rather than dismissing him, and it resulted in causing harm to you.
I'm not a lawyer, but this info comes from a private investigator that I know to be credible.
concerning 'negligent hiring', is the company liable if the employee in question had no criminal record?
are all industries susceptible to such lawsuits?
example... my boss is not well liked by any of his employees (including me). he does things that peeve everyone off and cause everyone to do more work to fix. my supervisor has come very close to (in his own words) kicking his butt for the boss blaming him for mistakes the boss himself made.
my supervisor has no history of violence, and holds insurance licenses that can only be held by law abiding people. the same background check is run to get these insurance licenses as are done when obtaining a CCW permit. if someday my supervisor 'loses it' and kicks my bosses tuckas, is there grounds for a lawsuit? considering the boss hired this guy and knows him to be a law abiding person wtih no criminal history?
I think that might fall under continued employment (keeping this person) when general knowledge by management is, this personal is a bad seed.
See in my case, I did not go to upper management and complain for fear that I would lose my job plus I hoped it would stop. When that did not become a reality I hired my lawyer to prevent myself from being fired and to get rid of him. I was unaware they had a file on him a mile long of complaints like bullying, write ups on his behavior and hear say about what he did to others.
good for you chicklet for going through with action against your harasser, rather than just running away/quitting. It sounds like it was quite a frightening experience.
I have worked in male dominated fields my whole life, and have been harassed, but not to the extent where I had to get lawyer/court intervention. I still work with men all day everyday, and I have worked with other women who have been harassed, and have quit their job because they didn't want to deal with the problem.
Head up, good job. Susan.
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