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jealoustome's avatar

Have you ever gone to your HR office to report sexual harassment? If so, how did it turn out for you?

Asked by jealoustome (1514 points ) March 15th, 2010

I’m asking because I reported someone several years ago. A man at my work was intimidating me and wouldn’t leave me alone. I was convinced by another (male) coworker to talk to HR. The HR director basically swept the whole thing under the rug and made me feel as though I had done something wrong.

Last week, a former coworker sent me a newspaper article showing that the man had been arrested for intimidating and threatening to arrest a woman at her home (he’s a police officer.) It made me angry that he was still out there doing the same old thing. Since I’ve read this article, I’ve heard through the grapevine that there are other women who experienced the same sort of harassment and intimidation at his hands.

I’ve seen a lot of statements by men, here on Fluther, that women cry “sexual harassment” too often. I’m sure it happens, but, I can tell you, from experience, that there are plenty of men who get away with mistreating women on a daily basis and that it’s not easy to come forward.

What is your experience with this issue? Have you accused someone or have you been falsely accused? What was the result? I know this is a touchy issue, so let’s play nice.

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13 Answers

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I have always dealt directly with anyone who bothers me like that.I just tell them to leave me alone.If they put their hands on me,they are through.
It’s more satisfying to handle it in that way.

jealoustome's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille What do you do if the person does not respect your request?

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@justine-I have been in situations where someone thought it would be ok to touch me.I hit them.
If they are just the garden variety jackass that uses words,I will embarrass them in front of their peers.No need to get shrill or loud,just tell them what you think of them.
Good luck :)

snowberry's avatar

I start by confronting them face to face. I say, “This activity (name it) is harassment, and I want you to stop doing it.” Put it in a diary, with the date, time, location, and full names of witnesses. If it happens again, go to HR. Tell them. Log who you talked to at HR, the time and thedate in your diary also. If they don’t respond properly, keep documenting, and do let your tormentor know it’s illegal. In some states it’s legal to tape record conversations if only one member of the conversation knows it’s being recorded. Call your local police station to find out the rules on this one. If it’s legal, you can keep a hand held tape recorder in your pocket. When you have enough evidence, talk to an attorney (assuming that HR won’t do anything).

jealoustome's avatar

@snowberry Good advice. To be clear, I’m not dealing with sexual harassment currently. I work from home.:) I was just asking because of the news article I mentioned above.

snowberry's avatar

I’ve had a bit of experience with this sort of thing. If you take careful notes like I said above, you will save yourself a lot of money with the attorney (because he won’t have to subpoena as much stuff), and you’ll have an easier time winning your lawsuit if it becomes one.

escapedone7's avatar

I have a hard time knowing when to tell other people’s stories because by doing so I am invading their privacy a little. I did have a male friend who had to go to HR about sexual harassment by a homosexual male superior. He was afraid since he was a male nobody would believe him. HR investigated and questioned other workers. There were witnesses to back up his claims, and other evidence such as harassing texts on his cell phone. The superior was fired but my friend had to be moved to another work site. Some coworkers liked the person that was fired and took sides, and it caused too much drama to work with the same people. Luckily it was a large company and moving him to another location wasn’t a big deal.

casheroo's avatar

Yep.
I was sexually harassed when I was a waitress at a bar/restaurant. Of course most probably assume I’d take that crap because it’s a restaurant and all, but it got to the point of creeping me out and I had to take action.
My boss wouldn’t count out my money at the end of the night without wanting to kiss my stomach, or have me sit on his lap or rub my back. I’d say no, but he wouldn’t let up so I gave in. He would want to go on dates but he was very inappropriate with other women, and would do things to other waitresses and customers.

So, I complained to another manager, and he apologized profusely and said he’d take care of it. Well, he told the owners, probably assuming they’d be on my side, but they fought it tooth and nail.
Immediately my hours were cut and they informed me that I couldn’t work with the offending manager…but his hours were more important.
That was the final straw.
I went to the EEOC and filed a complaint. There was a lawyer there, and I acquired him as my lawyer. We sued the company and unfortunately I lost.
But, it wasn’t about the money. I wanted this guy to get in trouble for what he was doing. It still bugs me that he thinks he got away with it, but hopefully it humiliated him for his actions.
I’m glad I did it, it was extremely hard to do, I was 18 and probably pretty naive..but not enough to let someone treat me that way.

Nullo's avatar

The one time that it was an issue for me was in my car-washing days. I stabbed the guy in the gut with a vacuum cleaner nozzle, and that was the end of it. I expected to be fired that afternoon, but he never reported me to management.

I suppose that technically it was regular harassment with sexual overtones. In any case, there was no HR department in the small business. The boss would have taken my side in the matter, but running to the manager was not considered the appropriately manly course of action in that person’s culture.

jealoustome's avatar

@escapedone7 Great story. I think that the hardest part is dealing with coworkers who think you have “squealed” just for the attention. I’m glad your friend was able to be moved to a more amiable situation.

@casheroo Go you! You were a brave young one!

filmfann's avatar

I filed a sexual harrassment charge against THE WORLDS WORST BOSS, and my company swept it under the table. He had several others against him, but they felt mine was frivolous. The result of being cleared of mine was that he felt impowered to do more. Eventually, it all came out.

SeventhSense's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille
That’s fine if the person is reasonable. The best course is to extricate yourself as easily as possible without making the situation a danger to yourself or embarrassing an unstable person.
I’m reminded of the actress in NYC who was mugged with her boyfriend at gunpoint. He readily complied and she boldly said, “What are you going to do, you going to shoot us?”...In response he shot her. Apparently he wasn’t having a good day and she played chicken with the wrong guy.
She died and her boyfriend lived. ‹(•¿•)›
On a lighter note I thought that maybe she was high maintenance anyway and the boyfriend was relieved. :)

ubersiren's avatar

Once. To make a long story short, he acted like a psycho which is why I didn’t confront him face to face, and one of the last things he said to me before I complained included graphic descriptions of what he wanted to do to my ass. I found out that I wasn’t the first to complain about him, but he remained there, as supervisor until long after I left.

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