boss

celia

I started a new job at Jimmy John’s. It was going alright, but as it often happens I noticed some things that I wasnt sure were strange or not. The manager of the store was very nice, but sort of slow, and turns out he couldn’t read well. I always worked alone with an older man who trained me, and he would make the manager laugh. It seemed that he was the manager instead of him. I was almost always completely alone with him. He started to call me “baby.” I could feel him staring at my ass when I bent down, and was afraid to do so. There was a backdoor to where I would take smoke breaks. One time I went back, and his truck was parked with the car door trapped right next to the door to the smoke area. He was sitting in his car, his body every close to the door I had just opened. He invites me in, and talked about taking a ride sometime. He pointed to me where he kept the booze. I quit after a week, and told the manager over the phone, and he was surprised and very sorry. I started to realize that my trainer most likely had complete control over the store, as the manager was slow and wouldnt be able to read the employee conduct guidelines. He could tell him anything he wanted. The next week when I picked up my last check, terrified, I noticed that there was a new young, pretty teenage girl being taught by him-alone. The cycle continues. If I hadn’t already been sexually harassed at the two other jobs that I’d had previously, I wouldnt have been as quick to quit. Self doubt and fear kept me at the other jobs, and the harrassment had continued to get worse. I dont know what would have happened if it had been my first experience.

Marisa

I had just finished law school, and was working without pay for an assistant public defender. This man’s boss ordered me into his office for “work”, then locked me in, flung me to the wall, groped and kissed me without provocation. I kneed him hard in the crotch, and he collapsed, so I unlocked the foor and escaped. But it changed my life: I went back to university, and worked very little as a lawyer after that event. (24 years later, he forced another young client into sex, and his licence was revoked for three months.) The worst part for me was that two of my male attorney friends advised me not to make a fuss, because my attacker could legally destroy me. I suffered from feelings of terror and helplessness. Both my male friends apologized, 20 years later, for their failure to support me.

Tania

Working in an IT department in Financial Institution: 1. Hey guys look at Tania’s photo on her batch:Isn’t it a slut photo? 2. I bet you like to tie up guys 3. You better come and work in my office , it’s warmer here 4. Last Friday my boss “accidentally” hit my knee with his own cause I contradicted his argument And for the fact that I do not flirt with men and that I am assertive , I got a reputation of being cold and difficult to work with…

sara

At the age of 16, i was the only woman employed in a family business who wasn’t related to the owner. After about 6 months and a promotion, i was finally being seen for my skills and i had proven myself (i was an assistant advertiser and advisor for website creation). There was one particular day in the office when the owner and another male co-worker came in later because they had been working form home. I was slightly bent over the desk writing things down whilst on the phone. The two of them stopped dean in their tracks and one whistled at me. The owner then said ‘thats the real reason I hired her’. I was mortified, knowing that the only reason I (who was 16!!!) was hired was because I looked ‘pretty’. Other things happened too that made me uncomfortable: 1. I had to clear all of the computers search histories and all cached data to speed them up, I found that the owner had been watching porn whilst i was in the office sat in the desk opposite him. 2. Another male coworker left so I cleared his desk only to find a thick stack of the suns page 3’s (around 4 months worth) under the desk pad. 3. the owner once had an affair, and showed me a photo of the woman, she was naked, and his current wife was in the adjacent room. He said he paid this woman for sex whilst she was at university and worked at me. The only good thing that came out of that job was the support i got from the other women in the office, whilst the owner did recognise me for my talents, i was more of a ‘pretty play thing’ in the office.

Natalie

When I was 19-20 years old I started my first secretary job at a law firm in Sydney. I worked for a team of people including a man who was 40, married with two young children. He would repeatedly stare at me inappropriately, make excuses to look at my computer screen and hover so he could look down my shirt, and asked me to coffee when he found out I was single after a break up, despite never showing any interest in my life before that point. He was well known in my office as the office creep, and I knew of several girls my age where he had asked them to lunch despite having no work-related purpose. This experience made me more cautious around male bosses and distrusting, and even 8 years later has stayed with me. Today, I sent him the Harvey Weinsten NY Times expose and suggested he learn from this and that he knows exactly what I am talking about. Men who use their power of position and age to influence more vulnerable individuals (particularly girls/women) are the lowest of the low.

DirectorOfMarketing

Me: Director of Marketing Him: Middle Manager via email Him: Did you get that email for my project sent out? Me: I have barely had your project request for 24 hours. So no. Him: Hey sassy pants be nice. (smiley face) I was just following up. We love you! I know your busy, I was just checking in. Didn’t mean to put pressure on.

Anonymous3

My boss is a decent family man with a wife and 2 daughters. He admires and supports their ambitions. Despite that, he still slips up e.g. 1) Following some proactive work from me which kept him/us from falling into a hole, he sent an email to me ‘You’re a darling. Am I allowed to say that?’. He’s not mother tongue English but clearly knew it wasn’t appropriate, otherwise why the second sentence? A simple ‘thank you’ would have worked fine. 2) Co-teaching colleagues, he says something along the lines of ‘and this is where you are my glamourous assistant’. My response ‘urrr, no’.

Taking a Stand

I’m currently working in a Wellbeing charity for a few months now and initially things were great in the organisation. However, after my female manager went on annual leave the CEO of the charity started to touch me inappropriately (such as stroking and rubbing my lower back, hands on my shoulders, squeezing) bullying and intimidation and invasion of my personal space as well. I later found out that his ‘touching’ was an ‘open’ secret in the organisation and he did it to many women. I felt disgusted that this CEO in his very late 50s, a married man was doing this to young women and vulnerable volunteers in this wellbeing charity. It was unwanted touching and I voiced my disgust and said ‘No’ and physically flinched from his unwanted gestures. I was quite shocked and did not report it initially as I thought it would stop once my manager was back. It did not unfortunately. I’ve had to take out a grievance as a last resort and although it is stressful and has caused me much stress and anxiety I strongly feel it was and is the right thing to do. Do not let anyone in a position of power do this to you, it’s unacceptable and illegal (please research Laws in your country and seek advice from employment help lines, I have found ACAS in the UK very supportive). I do not know the outcome of this grievance as the Board of Trustees Chair has yet to make a decision, I suspect much like the Jimmy Savile incidents in the UK they will be keen to sweep it under the rug. However, whatever happens I know I took a stand and said ‘NO’ and I hope and trust other people will also begin to say ‘NO’ to sexual harassment in the workplace.

Louise

My boss, old enough to be my father tried it on with me- He’d comment in front of my male-strong team on my ‘weight loss’ and ‘how it made me beautiful and attractive’, he even said that I ‘had a good bum’. But he was old enough to be my dad, and I wasn’t interested. So his harassment turned nasty and personal- he obliterated my character within my young career and lost me a new position that was going to lead to a doctorate, all because he lied about ‘my character’. When I reported it to HR, they moved me from my team and put me in a lower paid position working unsociable hours- my former ‘team mates’ didn’t bother to stand up for me. After a Psychological referral, a suicide attempt and loss of over 5 stone due to lack of eating I attempted to take legal action- to no avail. Now i’m working a job paying minimum wage and have to start from scratch regarding my career. Turns out that a First Class Honours degree from one of the best unis is nothing in comparison to a sexism and vile male boss. He kept his job, sanity and dignity whilst he stripped me of mine for good fun.