Sexual Harassment, the Witch Hunt of Modern Times.
Guilt by Accusation
The Salem Witch Hunts are not a very pretty time to remember in the growth of our United States. It was a period in time when we forgot about legal rights and due process.
It sure is a good thing we don't live back in those times. Now a days we are much more evolved and wiser.
Being part of a civilized modern nation, means we no longer have to worry about such provincial and baseless beliefs threatening us or our way of life.
We are a people that learn from our past, so as to never again make such terrible mistakes.
I for one would be extremely disappointed in our modern society if we ever lowered our selves to the level we were on in the days of the Salem Witch Hunts.
A time when people were found guilty by accusation and suspicion alone.
I am so glad I live in a country where 'they' have to 'prove' someone is guilty, before anything can be done to the accused.
...Well... unless it's Sexual Harassment... because we all know that is different.
Sexual Harassment is a serious problem in these United States of ours.
Sexual Harassment laws were created to stop the 'boys club' mentality of American corporate executives.
It was an attempt by lawmakers to give women a fair chance in the workplace, while preventing them from being forced into sexual situations they did not desire.
The amounts of the financial settlements granted to women by our nation's courts, made this a very serious issue to those men in the 'boys club' as it could so drastically affect the bottom line of their company.
The zero tolerance category it is placed in, assured women that any and all complaints would be taken seriously.
That any offense would be quickly and quietly handled with the utmost respect for the feelings and privacy of the victim.
All possible care was taken to avoid any embarrassment to the victim, including the investigation of the facts.
The modern business definition of Sexual Harassment is anything that makes a woman 'feel' uncomfortable or harassed. Including, but not limited to, acts perpetrated on someone else that the victim is a witness to, even if the person the act was perpetrated on doesn't consider the act sexual harassment.
Anything at all... that means a glance or a snicker... a joke, or a cuss-word, a gesture or a way of standing.
Anything, even if the act, or stance, is perfectly acceptable to the people involved, it could still be an act of sexual harassment to a witness of the involved parties... even if they didn't know someone was watching.
The sexual harassment laws keep rude perverted old men, in positions of authority, from being able to force/coerce innocent, beautiful, young naïve women, into succumbing to the sexual perversions of those male bosses.
At least, that is what they were supposed to do.
Proof is not required on the part of the victim, any accusation will be taken as fact. Guilt is assumed, unless concrete evidence can be provided by the accused proving that the victim was not sexually harassed.
A man does not have to be in a position of authority over the woman either.
Co-workers that have no ability to affect the employment of the female in question, or male employees of a female boss, are held to the same sexual harassment law's standards of conduct. Which is 'Zero Tolerance'.
Which makes sexual harassment laws the 'magic bullet' for getting rid of anyone that you don't like, or can't compete with, so long as they are a man and you're a female.
If to be as good as someone else, you have to make them less...
Then you will never be as good as them.
I was 30 years old when I was offered a job by one of the major American manufacturing companies. I was employed at the time by the Government in corrections.
I was a member of the state-wide swat team. A team I worked very hard to become a part of. I under went extensive testing before being selected for this team. Testing that included, physical fitness, mental stability, intelligence, social interactions, background, decision making and leadership qualities. A team I loved, and would not have resigned from had it not been for the advice of the team (30 dollars an hour takes much better care of your kids, than 12 does). So against my reservations I moved into factory production.
My new job was physical and that was about it. I was and always have been in really good shape so that was not a problem for me in the least. In fact it became apparent very quickly that I was good at what ever position I was assigned to. My first job in this new company was one that most people hated, but I loved it. It was a job that was only slowed down by the operator's physical abilities, which in my case meant not at all.
This position was very hard physically and Osha regulations kept management from being able to make people do more than the daily quota. I could finish the daily quota in just about 4 hours. Since the rest of the jobs on the assembly line were easier than mine, they all kept up just fine. Needless to say I was pretty popular with my new teammates, my presence meant they got to play cards or just hangout for the last 3-4 hours of the shift (I think some of them snuck out and went home).
Prior to this I had never been one to be shunned by the ladies, and because of this job I was soon, pretty well known.
I had been married for 7-8 years when I started working for this company. It was not a good marriage, and the attention of female co-workers was, up to a point, a nice validation for me of my self-worth/self-esteem.
I have always been a man of my word and my word means the world to me. For me, cheating on my wife would be like breathing through my ears, it just would not happen. My faithfulness was taken by some to be a challenge, which it wasn't meant to be. I tried to make that fact very clear.
One woman in particular wouldn't take no for an answer. She continually harassed me, grabbing me, groping me, and doing incredibly inappropriate things.
I told her no almost on a daily basis, to no avail. Being a man, it never occurred to me to seek help or to file a sexual harassment complaint, because guys just don't do things like that. We handle our problems on our own.
Besides in my experience women are usually pretty reasonable, and respectful of the relationships others are in.
Boy was I in for a rude awakening.
...was to think 'this woman' was an honest person. On the day I was accused of sexually harassing her, she came up to me at my work station (on the opposite side and opposite end of the assembly line from her work station). I didn't see her coming and as I was turning to load completed parts into a shipping container she was there and she reached up and put both of her hands on my chest and started feeling around like she owned me.
I was infuriated! I told her to get her hands off of me and that if she ever touched me again I would treat her just like a man. Which I would never have done. Mom taught me to never, under any circumstances, hit a woman in anger. Being the oldest boy with three younger, pain in the butt sisters to look after while growing up, gave me plenty of practice at restraining myself.
The woman looked at me like nothing was wrong, smiled as she looked over her shoulder at me while walking back to her work station. I blew it off and went back to work.
Knowing that 'work place violence' was a zero tolerance policy, and not being a stupid man, usually. I started thinking about the whole encounter. I was not surprised when my boss's boss came to see me a little bit later. He was a Vietnam Vet, with a reputation for bar fights and the beating of hourly people that had angered him, after they were sufficiently drunk.
I wasn't exactly surprised when he hit me in the stomach out of the blue, and I guess I figured I kind of had it coming. He hits like a girl anyway.
Lunchtime came a couple of hours later and I started towards the cafeteria. 'The Woman' saw me as I was walking and called me over. I assumed she wanted to apologize and put the entire incident behind us. I was kind of relieved as I walked towards her. When I got over to her she reached out and tried to grab me. I blocked her hand and stepped sideways. I was raising my hands in a gesture of frustration and started to say What in the heck do I have to do to get it through to you, I am NOT interested...
I never got the chance, she took my right hand and spinning so her back was to me placed my hand under her right arm, clamping down on my wrist. I stood there in shock, waiting for my mind to catch up with what was going on. I tried to get my hand back but she would not let go. She looked over her right shoulder and smirked at me. I said I have another hand. I put my left hand on her right shoulder to pry my right hand out from under her arm. She looked over her shoulder again and saw someone was watching, as I tried to pull my hand free she rocked back and forth like I was shaking her. I got mad again. I said something about I cant seem to find her nipple, while looking down at her kneecaps, it worked she released my hand and turned to hit me. She stopped when she saw that as soon as she released my hand I walked away.
I went to lunch and was just fuming.
When I got back to my workstation, I was still angry but knew that somehow this had to end. I went to the workstation across from 'The Woman's'. She looked up at me and started to back away I held up my hand and smiled to let her know it was alright, in my opinion it was over and we could forget it. She looked mad, and walked away.
A few minutes later my boss came up to me and took me to the office.
To make a long story short over the next two days management did an investigation, I was given my union representation by a 30 year long friend of the woman's father. I was fired for sexual harassment and walked out of the plant.
After being fired, because I was then considered (and treated like) a sexual predator, I was unable to find a job. After losing my house and having to have my dogs 'put to sleep' because we were forced to move into a seedy trailer park that didn't allow pets. I ended up taking a 'volunteer' position at an exotic dance club as a bouncer. They 'hired' me because they were having a difficult time replacing the guy that had been killed in the parking lot of the club by some angry patron. I was working for 'gifts' from the dancers. I was promoted to club manager while working there, and it was one of the funnest jobs I have ever had. Between the gratuitous fighting I got to do, and the scenery, I must admit I had a pretty good time. But I always remained faithful.
Sexual Harassment rounds two and three.
During my time as a bouncer. I earned the trust of the club's owners, they were a married couple. The wife was the better part of this particular team, and I was not surprised several years later when I found out she had left her husband.
Because of her trust in me, and willingness to get at the truth before assuming guilt. I was able to keep my job even after I was accused of sexual harassment by one of the strippers. She was stoned out of her mind one night and we had closed early. Her ride didn't show up and so I told the owners I would stay until her(the strippers) ride got there. We sat in my truck for almost two hours, her passed out in the passenger seat. Her ride never came and I ended up having to drive her to the hotel she was staying at.
The next day the owner (the wife) came to me and asked me what had happened the previous evening. I told her. She said for me to be careful, that the woman I had taken home was dangerous. I was then confronted by the other owner who was just going to fire me but his wife intervened on my behalf and I was allowed to stay.
I blew it off and continued working as before. Right around the time I got my job at the production company back , several months after this incident, I was once again accused of sexual misconduct.
In order to get better 'gifts' from the dancers, I learned to flirt with them and I let them 'tuck' dollars in my pants. Which was both fun and it made me more money. One of the dancers had a bit of a crush on me and she also had a very jealous boyfriend. Knowing that I was leaving soon, she had me come to the dressing room and was giving me my 'gift'. It was just me and her in there, and she didn't just put the money in my pants. As fate would have it just as she slid her hand in my pants another dancer came walking in and busted her.
This other dancer was not a friend of hers and she knew she was going to be in trouble with her boyfriend when (not if) this other dancer told him what she saw his girlfriend doing. Since it no longer mattered to me, I let people think it was my doing and not hers. So she wouldn't get in trouble with her boyfriend. I figured if the guy was half the 'bada$$' people acted like he was he would confront me, we would have a little tousle and that would be that. He would get to save face (I had planned to lose the fight) she would get to stay with him and I'd go back to my nice paying job.
As it turned out the guy was a coward as well as a wife beater. He had his best friend and one more of his friends break into my wife's car and steal her wedding dress. They made calls to my house trying to get my wife to come and 'pay a price' in order to get her wedding dress back. I confronted the guy that made the calls and he up and left town I guess, as I never heard from him again. The guy's best friend turned out to be related to me, an in-law. The cops said there was nothing they could do but they would keep after them. Nothing ever came of it, besides the fallout between my sister and me. She never liked me anyway and so it was no loss at all for me.
Returning to work
It took me about a year of political/legal maneuvering to get my production job back. I forced the local union representation to pass my case to the international union reps. It took the International Rep. 3 days to get me my job back. This after all that time of being told by local union reps that there was no way I would ever be re-employed by this company.
My first day back 'The Woman's' brother threatened my life by pulling a gun on me. I didn't say anything, and I let it drop because if I was him and my sister had said what his sister was saying, I would have to believe my family over a stranger as well.
Needless to say, I was not 'popular' anymore.
In fact for the most part, I was treated like a leper or a rapist. I didn't care. I was there for the money, not to make friends. I had lost all respect for the company and for most of my co-workers anyway.
They weren't content to just let it drop though, they made many attempts to get me to screw up and get fired. I was told by more than one person (strangely they were always women) that they were going to make sure I got fired. They succeeded to a point on several occasions getting me in trouble for things I didn't do.
I stopped talking to anyone at work unless they forced me to. I did my job, watched my back, and made sure I was always in plain sight of management. The years dragged on. Finally I was informed that the plant had been sold and I was going to be transferred to Florida.
It was the BEST news I had had for almost ten years...
My good mood lasted for about a day after I got to the new plant.