Thursday, 17 September 2009

He said what???

A colleague in another office emailed me today and mentioned something that me so mad I could not let go what she said. She was very upset. Why? A male had made a totally inappropriate, obscene comment to her in relation to another woman. The comment made her so uncomfortable that she was worried about seeing or speaking to him again. This is a harassment and completely unacceptable.

She told no one but me. Some women never refer acts like this on to management due to fear. I've seen it before. They would rather avoid the person in question or live with the discomfort. That is so wrong. What has it got to do with me hearing it second hand? If something gets said to one woman that makes her uncomfortable or intimidated then that’s one woman too many. I believe women should look after each other in the workplace. Some men are just plain stupid and need to be reminded of their manners and their responsibilities when it comes to others. I don't doubt this man thought he was being funny but as we all know what is funny to you or I may be offensive to another.

I'll admit I sat and seethed at my desk for awhile. Then I emailed a wise, calm friend and said 'stop me from going over the edge if I am overreacting.' She rang me. She was also appalled and no, I wasn't getting worked up for no reason. What did I do? As the first response, I wrote the man in question an email. Yeah, I could have taken it to management in a heart beat but I wanted to give him a chance to understand what he had done. The email explained what I had been told, how I did not ever want to see a female colleague upset or uncomfortable and that his language was extremely inappropriate and that he needs to think about his audience before he speaks. I got no response. I expected none. What can you use as a defence? And yeah, I'll be watching what happens next.

If you are ever in a situation where you are placed in personal discomfort by another and you are scared to speak up - confide in a colleague because I doubt very much they will let in sit. Everyone has the right to a safe workplace free of harassment. Do not let anyone have the power to make you uncomfortable. You are worth so much more than that.
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Anny Cook said...

I sued a co-worker for sexual harassment. No, I wasn't the only victim. But many of the others were afraid. I thought long and hard before I put in the complaint because I was positive that the man would lose his job. But ultimately, it was the other co-workers that pressed the issue. I was in a position to be heard unlike many of them. So I made the complaint. I admit it was scary. And it was uncomfortable working with that man until he was dismissed.

After he was gone, we discovered that he had done the same thing at his previous jobs and NO ONE had mentioned that fact when he moved on. That really upset me. That conspiracy of silence allows such people to continue.

Sandra Cox said...

Good for you, Amarinda.