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Do The Laws Realy Protect You From Workplace Harrasment
Workplace Harassment Still Exists
A Good Man A Great Opportunity
Before I get started I want to share a little bit of the backstory. This story of harassment involves a good man who has had the rug pulled out from under him time and time again.
It all began when the economy began to crash in 2005. I know the official crash took place in 2008 but some of the larger companies began to prepare long before this.
This man worked for one of the larger and more respected companies for over seventeen years and to his shock found himself looking for employment in his forties, He was a very talented man who was crafted and skilled in many trades. Unfortunately, they were all the trades that began to suffer, leaving him working for fly by night companies and repeatedly getting laid off due to lack of work. He never gave up and just kept applying for another good job. To his dismay, it was virtually impossible to find that stay for the rest of your life job that he used to have.
Finally, he decided to shift gears and found a decent job in a new direction. That was the beginning of his journey back to a secure future for him and his family.
He was able to stay long enough to gain the experience and skills he needed to pursue this avenue to its fullest capacity and he continued to search for security.
Then it happened a phone call that would set his mind at ease once and for all. He was hired for a position with a company that had all the benefits that he was looking for. The job offered decent wages and the opportunity for growth in the company. It nearly brought the man to tears. He finally felt like he and his family would once again have the security that he had lost.
Once again he would be sadly mistaken and this time it would throw him for a complete mind blowing loop.
Security Stripped by Harrasment
The hiring process took over a month and the man floated on air. He and his wife began to plan their future. They were so grateful to once again be able to feel security instead of always wondering what would happen next.
What happened next was something that neither of them could fathom.
The man started work and would be blown off his feat by the behavior of his immediate supervisors behavior on the first day. Within hours of starting his supervisor made several comments such as "which one of the ladies in the office to you want" "Take your pick you can do them" . This was coming from a married man to another married man.
The man tried hard not to take it seriously being that he did not know this other man and wasn't sure if it was some kind of test or joke. This behavior continued and the man felt extremely uncomfortable. With in a day or so the supervisor would make comments to him regarding a valentine party for the employees and their spouses. He stated to the new guy "yea you can bring your wife and we will do a little wife swap."
With each and every remark the new guy was getting more and more furious and yet he was terrified to loose this job. He believed that if he said anything he would loose his job.His supervisor would constantly comment to him that he had been at this job ten years and that everything their was his. He made remarks like "your not even through your ninety days" ha ha.
By the second week of work the new guy was so frustrated and upset that it began to affect his personal life. He was always in a bad mood and nervous to tell anyone what was happening.His supervisor would refuse to give him any training and would simply take the man around making him clean up after him throwing garbage at his feet and saying "pick that up that's your job." His comments began to get more and more crude referring to the new guys chew in his mouth as "you got your cum in my mouth," or while the man was bent over he would tell him "stay there that's a good position for you." The supervisor would also make comments of the female customers such as "look at that ass, or she's got a nice set of tits."
The new guy finally went home and discussed his situation with his wife, leaving her in total discuss. They spoke about their options and they decided that he could not work like this that something had to be done. They agreed that the first thing that needed to be done is to directly speak to supervisor and ask him to stop and explain that it was not wanted behavior and that the new guy did not feel comfortable or think it was funny.
The next day the new guy did exactly that and to some relief it worked, for a couple of hours. Later the same day the supervisor shifted gears and began to comment "hey since you have a job now and your not poor you can buy yourself a hamburger now.' while laughing.
At one point they where having a somewhat civil conversation and the new guy asked "Why did you hire me?" The supervisor answered "because you didn't have a job." So the new guy asked "what about the other guys who applied, did they all have jobs?"
The supervisor began telling him why the others didn't get hired. He said "well one guy was black and I don't hire black people, and the other guy had more experience than me," I thought that would just cause problems for me", and the last guy had tattoos and I don't hire people with tattoos." The new guy(who had tattoos on both arms but was wearing a long sleeve shirt the day of the interview) asked him "so you wouldn't have hired me if you had seen my tattoos?" The supervisor did not respond.
By the fourth week of work things had just completely gotten out of control. The comments and bad behavior continued and the new guy was so sick and scared of loosing his job that he literally did not want to go to work. At this point there was a company party that would be put on for the customers and unknown to the new guy it was a mandatory party for the customers to get to know the staff.
On the morning before the party(which was scheduled for a weekend not a regular working day) the manager commented to the whole staff see you all tomorrow and left early. Later that day at fifteen minutes to quieting time the new guy, the supervisor and one other co-workers where in the office preparing to clock out and a new person joined in on the harassment. Completely out of nowhere the supervisor and the co-worker been a conversation regarding what was on the menu. The co-worker went to the fridge and pulled out a package of foot long hot dogs while the supervisor commented "nope that's not my size,ha ha" and the co-worker responded "well most men aren't, then the co-worker turned back to the fridge and grabed a regular pack of hot dogs as the supervisor stated "yea that,s more my size and the co-worker responded "yea most men are". The new guy just stood their in shock thinking if a customer hears this and I am standing here I am going to get in trouble.
As he clocked out both the supervisor and co-worker told him he did not have to come to the party because all he would be doing is standing around and greeting people anyways. He told them he didn't mind and that the manager had said for him to come. They both where like "no just go and have a good weekend."
When the man went home and told his wife about this one last straw they both decided that he needed to make a formal complaint and turn it in to the manager. The man had been documenting everything on paper ever since he started and him and his wife believed that if he didn't do anything he was going to get fired because they felt that this supervisor was purposely pushing the man to do something wrong or to loose his temper. They also felt that now their was another person involved and that it would only be a matter of time before something bad happened.
This is where the story get sad and I get mad enough to right this article about it.
Who Do the Laws Protect
The following Monday the new guy arrives at work with all his documentation and sits down with his manager. After going over the issues that I previously mentioned and a lot more that I didn't the manager seems genuinely concerned. She tells the new guy that she will get back to him in a couple of days. The man goes about his business and feels that he will have some kind of resolution to this problem.
The following day the manager asks him how he is doing and he tells her fine. He notices that she seems a little preoccupied and he figures that is normal considering the severity of the situation. Later that afternoon he sees the lady from the corporate office which is out of state and he knows that something is going to be done.
He is a little nervous because he has never had to deal with anything like this in his whole career. That afternoon he is called into the office and goes through the whole thing with both the manager and the corporate lady. They both seem very sympathetic and understanding. They also call in the supervisor alone and talk with him. The new guy feels a little more relief thinking this will all be over soon.
The following day they call the new guy into the office and ask him what he wants them to do. This kinda throws the man for a curve because he just figured that it was their job to decide based on the information not his. He tells them I just want to go to work and do my job without feeling like I am going to loose it every day. I want him to stop all the unwanted comments and behavior.
Then the supervisor and corporate lady make an offer to transfer him to another facility.He declines explaining that he does not feel like he should have to leave his job due to someone else.s behavior and that he thought it would be a conflict of interest because the supervisor's wife manages the other facility. They both said they understood and let him go back to work.
As the week went by he noticed that the supervisor's attitude was much better, he was polite and all the comments stopped. The new guy assumed that the supervisor had been written up and there would be no more problems. Nothing more was mentioned of it.
The corporate lady left and the week ended without any more instances but before leaving they all had a staff meeting on workplace harassment and they all signed papers stating that they had received the training. The following Monday when the new guy showed up to work he was in a good mood and was finally sure that this was over, but to his surprise the ladies in the office, the manager and the other co-worker would not speak to him. He noticed that they where abrupt when they spoke to him.
Later in the week the supervisor took a day off and things went well. During this day there was a conversation between the new guy and the cleaning vendors. The cleaners where called to do some cleaning but did not feel they should have to clean in the middle of maintenance being done. The new guy simply said that he was not the person to speak to but he agreed with them that they should not be called until all the maintenance was done. Then to the new guys surprise, the vendors boss called and spoke to the new guy; he just assumed that he should answer their questions honestly being that he was the only person there to answer them. He told the boss that they did a good job as far as he could tell and that in his opinion they shouldn't have been called in until all the maintenance had been finished.
That following Monday the supervisor sat in the office all morning and when he finally came out he began to belittle the new guy saying in a very mean and unprofessional manor that he had no right to ever speak to any of the vendors and that they had sent e mails to the office stating what they had spoke about. When the new guy called corporate to explain the situation and how awful the supervisor made him feel considering nobody had given him any clue that he wasn't able to speak to the vendors, corporate took the supervisors side and would not listen to what the man had said.
Later that day the manager called the new guy into the office and asked him to sign a paper stating that they had done their investigation and the accusations where unfounded. The paper also stated that he refused to take the offer to transfer and he would be comfortable remaining where he was.
The new guy felt offended and hurt as well as angry and worried. He decided not to sign the paper and went home early. After speaking with and attorney about his options he realized that he was not protected at all by the laws. The attorney flat out told him that it was his word against the supervisors and that it would only be a matter of time before they fired him. The attorney said that he could purse a case against him but it would cost him out of pocket and that he had no proof.
The new guy discussed it with his wife and they decided that it was unfair but that there was no way they could afford to sue and that there was no way the man could continue to work under these conditions. The new guy went out and got a job the next day making significantly less with no benefits
Sometimes the money is not worth the loss of dignity and the feeling of walking on eggshells.
It is a crying shame that we have all these rights and laws but the only people they protect is the employer and that a company can come to a conclusion based on who they like better.