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Serious problem at work...need to vent a bit

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 
Ok...I'm having a very serious issue at work & it's one that I've never had to deal with before. I had to report someone for sexual harassment today. Unfortunately, I was the one who was harassed. Here's the situation:

I've been working at my store now for almost 9 weeks. Everyone was very friendly & very welcoming to me. I noticed that there are a few guys who like to flirt with me even though I'm their managment & I always act professionally towards everyone. Well, there is this guy who is much older than I am (he's roughly 40) & he works in the Tire Lube Express part of the store. He's always been super friendly, but 2 weeks ago he had made a comment to me. He had openned the door & said "There ya go Beautiful!". Instantly I shot him a funny look since no one has ever called me that at work before & I told my partner afterward how uncomfortable it made me feel. I brushed it off as him being friendly & that maybe he's the kind of guy that calls people "Dear" or "Hon". Since that day, there hasn't been a single day gone by with out him saying "Dear", "Hon", "Sweetie" or "Beautiful" to me instead of calling me by my name. Yesterday, I had to do my training in the Auto Shop where he is the Manager of it. Adam (my partner) was sent with a Tech. & this guy said that he would train me personally. Red flag went up then! I noticed through out the day the sweetheart comments were flying constently & he ended up touching my shoulders, my waist & eventually my knee. I didn't know what to do at that point since I was the only female there & he secluded ourselves away from the group. He even went to the point of saying that we had paperwork to do & sent me to the office so he could show me the right ways of doing the paperwork. Fine...I didn't have a problem with it until he shut the door of the tiny office where it was just the two of us. He then rolled his chair across from mine & positioned himself to where his knees were straddling my knees. That's when he touched my leg & I made up an excuse to get out of there. Instantly I found my partner & told him we were done training. Adam knew something was wrong & so we discussed it. That's when I decided to tell my Sponsor about the situation & she told my CoManager the situation later in the day. So this morning, my CoManager & I discussed everything...and now the guy could get written up or even fired over this. I can't help but feel like firing him is a little extreme, but I do feel that he needs some kind of punishment.

It's just so weird for me to deal with. I just don't feel comfortable with any guys except for my partner & my upper management team at this point. I'm still just as friendly as before, but now it makes me think of my actions. I even asked Adam if he thought I provoked this & he said no. I know I didn't, but I didn't know if I was doing something that maybe a guy could take wrong. It's just so messed up & just hate this feeling! He's a grown man for God's sake...he should know better. I just can't help but feel really weird about it all.

I'm sorry for venting about it all on here. It's just that I can't discuss this with anyone from my area. I told my Mom & of course she freaks out about it. She's all worried about him being a stalker or something...I've already had that problem once before & hope that I NEVER go through that again. She's just worried about me & I can understand that.
Thanks for listening to me let off a little steam & getting it off my chest. I really appreciate it!
post #2 of 41
Shell, you did the right thing by reporting him, because if he got away with that sort of behaviour, god only knows, he might think you liked it or something.

It's 2003, for crying out loud. This guy ought to know better. And you, be careful!!! ((((hugs))))
post #3 of 41
Nearly the same thing happened to me and my friend at my last job.. But we were all on the same level and nearer in age, he thought he was flirting but after voicing our objections, he stopped doing it to me but not to her. She reported it, he got wrote up and a phone call from the home office, and although he didn't get fired it was only because he had been there for years with no problems and he had never done anything agressive or to make her feel scared, so she didn't want him fired. He would stop when she said stop, but then the next day he'd try it again. Well anyhow, it turned out OK and after she reported it he did stop although it was weird to work with him after that.
post #4 of 41
Here in IL.... Males that work with the State must go to a mandatory Sexual Harrasment class so they no better not to harass women. I am sorry that you had to go through this and on your new job. Shell.... I hope things are better for you.... After this guy is discipline like he deserves to be.
post #5 of 41
You did the right thing by bringing attention to it. Many years ago I was on a business trip with my boss and it was not uncommon for co-workers to work after hours in hotel rooms together to wrap up the day. My boss asked me to stop by his room, and when I got there, he stretched out on the bed and said it was time to do my annual review, and by the way, did he ever tell me he really liked redheads? Totally wrong - all hotel room meetings are strictly at the work tables in the room. I excused myself, never reported it and quit a few years later.

I got a call a year after I quit from a lawyer asking if I had anything to include in 2 lawsuits against him for sexual harrassment. Had I stopped him earlier, the 2 other women wouldn't have had problems with him. They were both redheads also.

Don't ever feel bad on what you have done. It is strictly his problem, not yours, and you have probably saved other women from going thru this hardship.

My hat is off to you Shell!!
post #6 of 41
it is such a thin line, I think saying completments and just flirting is one thing, but the touching would make me VERY uncomfortable. I think you did the right thing. You do not want to be uncomfortable at work.
post #7 of 41
Some man like to call woman hun and all those cute names and that can be ok . But the Situation in the office is a big no no . He was trying to take atvatange of the situation . The thing is , if you don't report him now then what would come next ? Think about that for a moment . Yes ? So I think you did the right thing reporting that man . He may not even get fired since he is there for a longer time . But for sure you stoped him for going any further with that . Also in the future he will think twice about how to inter act with a woman .
post #8 of 41
I agree with Purrfectcatlove
Smiling with me /you and acting friendly towards me/you would be harmless, but to go beyond to the physical, without us acknowleding that it's okay with "us", I would definitely say it's sexually harrassment. That guy should have known better Shell, and besides, (at least in my store) all associates had to watch a video about Sexual Harrassment and that video stated clearly that "Wal-Mart won't tolerate sexual harrassment". Don't ever feel like it's you who's to blame, it's him who should have 'had a clue!'
post #9 of 41
Hey Shell, you did the right thing by reporting him right away. Some women just aren't strong enough to report such sleazy behaviour and we all know these jerks will eventually try to get away with worse. I've known many women in my previous career who just couldn't get themselves to do it, so I'm impressed that you decided to stand up against it. I hope he gets fired.
post #10 of 41
What a creep!
post #11 of 41
He's 40 and he DOES know better.

Report him. As others have said, if he does this with you, then he tries it whenever he gets the chance. It takes a stern rebuke for these guys to get the message. He might already have a file. Don't allow yourself to be alone with him.

If you **don't** report it, and it escalates, your credibility could be attacked later on. (i.e., people can say, "if you didn't like it, then why didn't you report it?") Don't hesitate to write things down (time, date, behavior) and share them with a coworker or trusted superior. It may seem paranoid and severe now, but if you ever have a problem later on, you'll thank God you did it.

Now, this kind of behavior is one thing -- if you've been best friends for a year and you have a clear mutual understanding of boundaries.

But if he'd doing it as you describe, then he's purposefully ignored the 26,987 "what's appropriate and what's not appropriate" sexual harrassment lessons we men have been issued since birth. Which is a problem.

No man is walking around in this day and age completely ignorant of the fact that it's inappropriate to make physical advances on a younger female coworker or subordinate.
post #12 of 41
Even the "honey, sweetie, beautiful" remarks are not ok if it makes you feel uncomfortable. And it is not professional. Especially since you are managment. It's a mans way of keeping a woman minimized. This makes me so mad. And the physical definitely is not appropriate. The definition of sexual harrassment is "anything that makes you feel uncomfortable." If someone calls you "sweetie" and you say it's sexual harrassment, it's sexual harrassment.

I went through this about a year ago. The guy was talked to by HR and his manager. They explained to him the definition of sexual harrassment and so on. And it stays in his personal record. If he ever gets one more complaint of sexual harrassment, he's gone. We were eventually able to be friendly again in a professional manner. And had a good working relationship. But it sure was awkward for awhile.
post #13 of 41
Shell, that's a tough one. At what point do you do something about inappropriate comments? This is actually a really important lesson for your training.

I would say that having a man, who is that much older, call you "sweetie" is yuckky, but not necessarily inappropriate, if he is a peer, or it is a social setting. But in this case, from the first day, that was wrong wrong wrong in your work setting. He should have been told at the outset that he cannot talk to women like that.

In a social situation, it would be fine as long as it was appropriate to the friendship. In a work setting, that is never right. Because it demeans the authority of the woman.

Good for you, and you know, I bet this is not the first time someone has complained about this!
post #14 of 41
Originally posted by Shell
He's a grown man for God's sake...he should know better.
Do men with this type of problem ever really grow up? They think with their genitals. . . . . you did the right thing, Shell. He made you very uncomfortable (would have been true for most women, unless they also have issues). . . . He needs to be set straight. . . . is he by chance married?? Sounds like my ex-brother-in law. . . . very touchy feely. . . . many guys in automotive jobs are (my experience from working in that field when I was younger).

This is a good lesson to everyone at your store. . . . as well as for anyone who reads your thread. . . . sexual harrassment is taken very seriously these days. Heck, my son's class had training when they were in 8th grade.
post #15 of 41
I work in Reception in a factory. There are only 3 other females to 40 males. There is always a lot of 'sexual' remarks fly around with them, but the men who do this, i have worked with for 28 years, and with them it's harmless, but, and they know this, that if they 'EVER'laid a finger on me, my hand print would be left on the side of their faces!!.

We always tell any new girls in the office to give as good back, because a few of the guys do it to try and embarrass them, and if the girls go all shy, they do it all the more!. But, if they can't handle it, then thats when myself and my office manager step in to slap the guys down!.

It is wrong that women should be degraded in this manner, i'm one of the stronger, no nonsense type, but there is a lot of women who can't handle it, and these men know exactly what they are doing!.

I wish i lived near you, their just the sort i know how to make look like idiots in front of other colleagues!!!

Good luck anyway, and chin up!!

Susan x
post #16 of 41
I would have broken his hand and then reported him Really you did the right thing Shell! Kudos to you for standing up for what is right
post #17 of 41
Shell, who knows how many women he's done this to that haven't reported it. You did the right thing to protect yourself and other women from this man. Think of men like this as predators. They spot their prey and swoop in and pounce.

I'm with rosiemac on the sexual comments and innuendos. I don't really find those a problem because I CAN give as good as they can, but the sweetheart comments and touching are WAYYYYY out of line.

Only one person has ever called me sweetie or honey at work and got away with it and it was an older woman who thought of herself as my mother. An insurance agent who tried it got an earful and never tried it again.
post #18 of 41
I have worked in manufacturing settings, where I was part of the office staff and had to deal with men on the manufacturing floor. There are guys who think it is cute to flirt and see how far they can take their flirting to the next level. They almost make it into a game, to see who can say something that will beat the next guy.

Shell, if you EVER feel uncomfortable when a male does anything or calls you a name such as 'hun'etc. you should right then tell him that you would appreciate if he would call you by your proper name and that's it. Or, if he places a hand on your waist (or any part of your body), again tell him to please remove his hand before you have to remove it for him. Many guys will get the point and realize they can't 'play' this game. But it is SO important to stop it right when it starts. If you didn't, he would then keep thinking this is an OK way to act, and would continue to do it. He probably has done this before and no one said anything because they didn't want to 'make a fuss'. Women have to get over this, and anytime this sort of action happens, to act on it and not accept to be treated this way.

I'm very glad you reported him, and don't ever feel guilty about this. You may receive some gruff words from him, so please document everything and don't EVER let yourself be alone with him. If he does anything else to you, report him immediately. If he doesn't think he did anything wrong, he shouldn't be working in today's business environment at all and deserves to be fired. Remember, his actions, not yours, will be the cause of him being let go or written up.
post #19 of 41
Of course you did the right thing! If you hadn't reported it now things could've gotten way out of hand. At least now he has been told where his bounderies are with you (not that he should need telling!) and people are aware of the problem. Just think, he's probably done this before, and if you hadn't spoken up, he probably would have done it again. Good on ya!!!
post #20 of 41
Shell, I had a similar problem years ago. While working my way through school I had a job at Bradlees - in case you don't know it was a store similar to Walmart. I was working in Stereos and had to bring stock from the back to the floor. Well, all fine and good until the OPS Manager in one quick action unhooked my bra through my clothes while I was in the warehouse with no one else around. Boy was I in shock, but I was never one shy on word. I basically told him if he should ever try that move again I would make sure he would speak in a higher tone the rest of his life. That solved that problem and I never had to take it any higher!

It's important that Women stand up for themselves - You did the right thing!!!!
post #21 of 41
Thread Starter 
Thank you all so VERY much! I completely dreading going to work today & I don't think I slept very good at all because it was over bearing on my mind. I know I did the right thing, but since I'm so new to this store it's difficult for me. I'm sure I'll hear it from others that think I was wrong in my actions (there's always a few of those kind in any situation) but I feel better as a person knowing that he didn't get away with this. I don't know if he's already got a file with this kind of situation, but now he does & that's the most important thing. I just hope that other women in my store will see what I've done & realize that they don't have to put up with this kind of nonsense. Each & every Associate in my store has had to take some kind of sexual harassment course, so everyone knows that our Company doesn't take this lightly. Unfortunately, it happens all the time with in the Company & not many people stand up when they've been harassed. Plus, it's not just women that are getting harassed these days...it's a two way street.

As for what happened today, I don't know. I seen him this morning & I swear I stopped breathing for a minute. I just happened to be in Layaway writing down my notes & of course, I was alone. I hear someone in the background say "Oh look! It's my favorite Shop Technician!" & it was him. I looked up & made eye contact...and went right back to writing my notes. I said nothing at all. So, I know at that point he hadn't been talked to yet. I didn't see him the rest of the day, so I don't know if Management had a meeting with him or not. Now I'm dreading Monday morning! Since I won't be back to the store this weekend, I will have no idea what happens until I return on Monday. Hopefully, things will be under control & I won't have to deal with his comments any longer. I am prepared to deal with it all now & have a better plan set in my mind. I was totally freaked out the past couple of days & just didn't know what to do. Thank you all for your support! I really appreciate it!
post #22 of 41
I'm sorry your going through this I hope this man gets what he deserves.
post #23 of 41
Shell, I am sorry you are going through this, it really is not nice having people do that to you, I have been there before, it happened to me at college and I reported it and the guy was warned and he left me alone after that.

I wish you all the best of luck.
post #24 of 41
Be careful Shell!! Throw up your dukes next time!!...hehe...just kidding. This guy was way over the line and she probably be fired or transferred to another store so he isn't around you. Make sure a friend walks you to your car at night too! Good luck!
post #25 of 41
Shell, I am sorry you have to be dealing with this. I hope the ackwardness will go by and you will be able to relax soon! Be careful!
post #26 of 41
Hi shell

I'm new to these forums but after coming across your post I couldn't help but reply.

The guy is a creep and possibly dangerous. He will never see his behavior as being bad. I don't want to scare you but you should be aware of your surroundings at all times. Also, in the future, when anybody addresses you in a non-professional manner in a work setting tell them immediately that it makes you uncomfortable and you would prefer that they address you in whatever way you want.

I used to manage a teleservices quality control department and had to pull people off the phones after hearing them either make a major mistake with a customer or if they were rude to the customer. I would take them into an empty office(policy of the company I worked for but not one I was particularly fond of) and always, always, always brought another employee with just so I and the company would be protected from false claims of harassment.

If someone chooses to put theirselves and their company at risk of harassment charges, even false claims, they don't belong there!
post #27 of 41
Good for you for reporting this creep, Shell. Back in my early Wally days as a cashier, one of the managers was harrassing me, even going so far as to put his hand on my thigh under the table at a cashier meeting. I told the store manager about it, and guess what? NOTHING was done! Glad to see that the company has updated their sexual harrassment policy.
post #28 of 41
Thread Starter 
Oh My Gosh Deb! That's awful! I'm sorry that they didn't do anything about it. Maybe it comes down to the different management in the stores. My Co-Manager who is a male felt really bad this happened & was reassuring that this problem would be resolved. I trust him a lot & he's a really great manager, so I know that his word is good. I had to give a written statement & so did my partner Adam since he was there when most of the issues happened.

I've had to learn the hard way that I need to stand up when the problem first arrives. If I would have done that, maybe things would have turned out differently. But knowing how this guy is, it might have fueled his fire even more.

I'll let you guys know what happens when I find out tomorrow if he lost his job or what happened to him.

Thank you all for support during this time. It's been really hard for me & I really appreciate all of your support!
post #29 of 41
Actually, I remember I told the store manager that I had told my husband about the incident and he said, "What did you do THAT for?"

Sometimes I wish I could roll back the clock and sue the hell out of them.
post #30 of 41
Thread Starter 
wow...you should of sued them! I just can't believe that some people think this is ok to do & make out to be that the person was harassed is the one to blame. That's just maddening!
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