“I began working for a Financial Firm X in September of 2014. I was working in the sales department at the time. A week into the job, I was in the elevator with several other employees. A fellow sales associate, a well-dressed 58 year old married man, was standing in front of me. This man was the top sales associate and often greeted female employees as “Hey baby.” For no apparent reason this guy leaned back until his upper torso was pressed against my breasts. I recalled being shocked and muttered “what am I a back rest?” He laughed and so did everyone in elevator. I was very embarrassed.
Sexual harassment at work may begin and manifest itself in a variety of ways forms and shapes.” – Jennifer, 32.
“The guy in his late 20s commented on my hairstyle when I first came to the office on Monday morning.
“Y, you look pretty today!”, he said. I thanked him for his comment. I just changed my hairstyle because there would be an important wedding day in November.
Few hours later, he came to my desk and we talked about accounts work. He stood just besides me. Suddenly, he reached his left hand out and squeezed my right breast twice. I was stunned and didn’t know how I should react next.
He commented that it was big and nice. Then he walked away. I didn’t know what to do, but sat there and tried to focus on the screen. My mind was blank for while.” – Amanda, 29.
After being harassed and bullied for almost 6 month Jennifer started experiencing serious heath issues. Her anxiety level went up, she started having problems sleeping. Repetitive headaches, gastrointestinal distress, dermatological reactions, weight fluctuations – Jennifer could not any longer focus on her career goals, she became less active, she did not have enough energy to work on her daughter’s school progress and being active with her younger son.
WHO IS REALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR ANNA’S AND JENNIFER’S (AND THOUSANDS OTHER WOMEN) PAIN?
Direct harasser? Sure.
What about his supervisor who never took the steps he was supposed to take in order to protect them and other employees?
Or maybe its the company leadership that established corporate culture and procedures (or lack of them) that resulted in harm to its employees.
MANY OF US DON’T REALIZE IT.. BUT IT’S NOT JUST THE DIRECT HARASSER WHO IS AT FAULT. THE LEADERSHIP OF THE COMPANY IS ULTIMATELY RESPONSIBLE FOR HOW EMPLOYEES ARE BEING TREATED. It’s called recklessness. Companies are reckless. Top managers close their eyes on what is going on inside the company and, as a result, women get hurt. Women lose their precious time that they could have dedicated to growing and becoming better professional, they lose their earning opportunities, they lose the time and money they could have spent with they children, with their partners and families.
ITS OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE.
In general, many woman are in a less favorable satiation than men are. They don’t have as much time to accelerate professionally as men do. Many of us have the second “job” that we need to think of – its our families and our children: being good mothers, wife’s, supportive partners; dedicating time and energy to these important roles in our life.
By letting sexual harassment at work affect our progress and self-esteem, we waste our time and opportunities.
HERE ARE THE RIGHT STEPS TO TAKE:
- Make sure you put your direct offender on notice that his or her behavior makes you feel uncomfortable. This notice will be also important if you decide to fie a lawsuit.
- If your company has an established procedure or a designated person for making the claim – make sure you follow the procedure and contact the designated person.
- Consult with an attorney. Filing a lawsuit is an ultimate way to keep the wrongdoer responsible and to protect yourself and other employees. Your company may ignore the issue when you go to the HR or your supervisor with your problem, however, they cannot ignore you when they have a complaint served on them. They have an obligation to respond and to investigate the situation, and subsequently to compensate you for the damages and pain.