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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Sexual Harrassment Issue

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Author Topic: Sexual Harrassment Issue
oOo Lea oOo
Activist
Member # 26647

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The incident occurred in Virginia, but I live in West Virginia.

What action could I take with this:

I was working as an office assistant for a
government agency (it's local government - County). I had been employed there for around 2 years 3 months. The District Manager at my small, sub-department office had made remarks to me about taking nude pictures, asking me personal questions about my sex life, among other things. At first I thought this was his weird way of making jokes so I shrugged it off , even though they really creeped me out and made me extremely uncomfortable. Over a year later, I was asked to take a disposable camera to get it developed for my department to see what was on it. The manager thought it may have had pictures of some road issues that happened in our district. I took it to get it developed and looked through them before I purchased them to make sure they had turned out well (typical for anyone who is developing film). I found two pictures of my behind while I was bent over. I called the HR director and asked to schedule a meeting.

I spoke with her in mid-August around 8 am and told her of the way he talked to me, showed her the pictures, and told her of the way he treated several of the male employees, making remarks on their sexual orientation, body issues, and calling them ignorant names. She gave me three days administrative leave so he could be investigated. That following Monday, I was to have a meeting with her again, but also with my department head and my district manager (the one I am writing about now). They went over key points in my discussion with her and tried to determine what could be done. He was supposed to take a sexual harassment course, go on probation or be thoroughly evaluated over some time ( i think it was a year) and I was supposed to be moved to a different office in less than 3 months.

Nothing ever happened. I no longer had to deal with the sexual remarks, but I had a very stressful time at the office after this. It lead pretty much everyone to believe that I was making it up. I searched for other jobs, took time off to go on interviews, the works. I had annual and sick leave accrued so I had the time to cover for my days I asked for off to do this, or days I came in an hour late or left an hour or two early.

Even after approving those days, he documented every day that I took off, called in an hour late, or asked to leave an hour or two early, and when I showed up at work on July 1, he was waiting in my office and told me to pack my things, and escorted me out the door. I was told I was being terminated for failure to come to work. I knew this was bogus but I didn't do anything because nothing happened before.

Now, 8 months later, I hear that he was escorted off of the premises this morning by two police officers and the department head (the same one who sat in on our meeting and basically lead everyone to believe that I made this ordeal up). It was also mentioned that my aunt, who works in the office as well, notify me and have me get a lawyer and contact the county. I"m not sure who told her this, but the county has tried to contact me but my cell phone number was canceled and I have recently just gotten a new one, and I had moved since then, so my home number was different as well.

I also know that two male employees finally stepped up after he was escorted out of the building and told the department head that what happened in the office with me was true.

What should I do before I contact Frederick County. Should I consult with my lawyer first? or see what they have to say? I dont want to do anything that will hurt me in the long run or ruin whatever case I may have?

I am very disappointed, angry, but also highly amused that this happened because I knew it would and no one listened.

I'm very happy at the place I work now. I only make 7:35 an hour, and compared to the 11.60 I made before - It is a struggle, but I start as a CNA in June when my training is complete and I'll make 1.50 more an hour.. its only 15 minutes from my home compared to an hour, but it was a wonderful job. It was governmental, health insurance was paid for (which was nice since I now pay $66 bi-weekly for myself only) and the advancement opportunities are almost endless.

I'm so completely confused. I sat in an environment that was completely uncomfortable for me. I had a bad experience with this type of thing before, and I'm a rape victim, so I often didn't even want to go to work, and on occassions when I knew I'd be alone with him, I did call in sick.

My aunt said that some of the heads are talking about investigating my performance and seeing if I was wrongfully terminated (which I was) and she said that I may be offered my job back. I'm not sure that I'd take it, even though it was wonderful, but .. I'm not sure..

Do any of you know anything about sexual harrassment issues happening in the work environment? Have any of you read anything anywhere about a similar incident, heard anything? Are any of you by chance studying law? Any help would be appreciated.

I thought this would be a good place to come for help since discussion on sexual harrassment and things to come up here, and some of you are pretty well educated on this subject.

Thanks in advance guys! Hopefully you can give me some info that I would be able to use or atleast make me sleep comfortably and get through work tomorrow. I work early shift so I'm going to be on pins and needles until I get off at 2pm. I will either have to call my lawyer or call the HR department for this County.

Any suggestions on who to contact first?

--------------------
And I say thank you for the scars
And the guilt and the pain
Every tear I've never cried
Has sealed your fate.
Did you take me for a fool
or were you just too blind to see
that every effort made has failed
and there is no destroying me?
Atreyu

Posts: 366 | From: West Virginia | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
orca
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 33665

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I'd say call your lawyer first so she/he can document all of it just in case. I'm sorry you had to go through such crap, but I hope it can be resolved finally. It's always nice to see the universe sorting things out. [Smile]

--------------------
Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.--Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Posts: 2726 | From: North America | Registered: Apr 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
oOo Lea oOo
Activist
Member # 26647

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I contacted a lawyer and he is going to do a review to see if I have a case. He told me absolutely not to call them, as they can somehow hold it against me . Let them contact me and if or when they do, don't make any comments . . Just state that I need to speak with my attorney. Bogus stuff.

I really can't believe I put up with it for 2 and 1/2 years. I'm so glad he got busted. (And my aunt said he's now on the state website of sex offenders)

Atleast Justice is served for one of these sick people out there.

--------------------
And I say thank you for the scars
And the guilt and the pain
Every tear I've never cried
Has sealed your fate.
Did you take me for a fool
or were you just too blind to see
that every effort made has failed
and there is no destroying me?
Atreyu

Posts: 366 | From: West Virginia | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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