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SassymagCoverI hate writing about violence against women and sexual harassment. I would rather write about my cats. But when people in power do shady things, it reminds me of aspects of my own life.

Let me share a piece of my story with you.

I didn’t realize the first time I was sexually harassed. I was young. I was busy managing my mediocre career. My mom was sick. My siblings were young. I had an on-again-off-again boyfriend and very low self-esteem.

I didn’t realize that I was involved in an unhealthy relationship with my boss until it was too late.

(This sounds like a bad Sassy article! It happened to me!)

I thought my boss was being nice to me. I thought he wanted to know more about me. When he constantly asked about my (non-existent sex) life, it seemed normal. I thought his version of small-talk was fun. That’s how I talked to my friends. And I didn’t believe that my boss really enjoyed talking to me about sex because I was porky and felt unlovable.

(This is cringeworthy for me to write.)

I worked in human resources — and I didn’t recognize an abuse of power when it happened to me — because I felt fat and worthless.

(Only pretty girls get sexually harassed, I thought.)

When it became clear to me that I was only getting favorable treatment because I talked about sex — and I was punished when I didn’t talk about sex — I didn’t sue anyone. I found a new job. I told my CEO what was happening. I quit that job and moved on.

This is a true story.

So if you are harassed or threatened at work, there is one solution.

It’s time to find a new job.

Think like a consumer. Think like a capitalist. Don’t have patience. Quit that broke-ass company and go work where you will be safe, loved and appreciated for the excellent business professional you are.

When you leave, make sure you clearly articulate the infinite reasons why you can no longer continue your employment. Name names when (and only when) it suits you to do it. But quit that job as fast as you can.

One more thing: if you need help finding a job, there are talented HR and recruiting bloggers out there who are looking for great people. Google us. Reach out to us. We know you are telling the truth. We know what it’s like when deviant behavior runs amuck. We believe in accountability. This is part of the reason why we do what we do.

Find us. We can help you.

9 Responses to Sexual Harassment
  1. martin snyder

    I love a loose, casual environment where people are free to be themselves. Yet I won’t tolerate the slightest bit of sexual harassment, which extends beyond mere unwanted pursuit of booty.

    I don’t put up with sexist labels or sexist stereotypes. Gender is not biologically determined IMHO, so I don’t appreciate discussions about people’s appearances unless they are present and asking for it. Fat shaming and slut shaming are tools of social control up with which I will not put….

    People who do it find themselves gone from our company; one of the few firing offenses around here.

    • ruettimann

      I agree with you on all of this including gender, btw.

  2. Jeremy Walker

    Very well written.
    There is no reason for anyone to accept such behavior from anyone, regardless of their position in a company.

    “We believe in accountability. This is part of the reason why we do what we do.”
    Yes we do. Yes it is.

  3. Mark williams

    It’s ages since I read your stuff Laurie, not sure what happened there but this piece reminded me of what I have been missing.
    Great article – simple, truthful and impactful. Keep up the good work.
    Mark 🙂

  4. Stephanie Robbins

    The only problem with this solution is the next employee will be harassed as well.

    • ruettimann

      I think the burden is always on the victim. Things could change depending on how you leave, who you tell, who also leaves, etc.

      There’s also the risk that you tell and nothing changes. And you’re fucked and other employees get harassed.

  5. Charlotte

    Laurie, finding another job isn’t as easy as it sounds.

    I have been harassed. I loved my job (and loved the company), but looked for another while I endured the propositions, touching, ick. I pushed up the issue to HR, then when they didn’t do anything, to management. HR was a bunch of dicks. It was my fault.

    I stuck it out until I couldn’t take it anymore. I was a single mom and NEEDED that job – or any job. I quit.

    Then I filed a lawsuit. It took a year, I couldn’t find work, and during that time I was constantly fearful that when I applied for a job, they’d find out I was in the midst of a lawsuit. It is public record, after all.

    It was the worst year of my life – even worse than enduring that shit from my boss. I almost lost my house, couldn’t afford the basics. I didn’t qualify for unemployment.

    But after a year of legal wrangling, and one hour after my eight-hour (thoroughly humiliating) deposition (harassment doesn’t stop at the job), I was offered a settlement. The company changed its ways. They engaged real EEOC policy. They trained management and started promoting women and (Oh my God!) gays. The settlement agreement included strict policy and training.

    It was the 80s. I paid the price. But I couldn’t have lived with myself if I hadn’t gone all the way and sued them. They had no intention to change until they had to.

    So, yeah, find another job. But keep in mind what Stephanie says – “the next employee will be harassed as well.” And another thing, if that SOB is harassing you, he/she is also doing it to others. A lot of liability for a company.

    The sad part is that this crap is alive and well – and thriving – everywhere.

    It doesn’t stop unless you speak up.