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Sexual Harassment "Hostile Environment"

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I live in Central Oregon. I work for a well-known Sales/Customer Service Corp.

The work place environment is pretty relaxed, however, last Friday, early afternoon, I made a comment to another co-worker that "I'm really sucking on this campaign today!" He replied, "Me too!" A different co-worker, who sits in between us, leaned over to me and said" Wanna show me how you suck?" I said, "Excuse me, what did you say?!" He repeated, "Wanna show me how you suck?" His demeanor was expressionless and quite serious. I was shocked and disgusted then outraged because our relationship previous to this was just a working relationship and cordial at best.

It was all I could do to refrain from knocking him out of his chair! I stood up, went and told my immediate Supervisor who then informed the Human Relations Manager and our General Supervisor (Boss). I felt very uncomfortable sitting near him when I returned from my supervisors office. It was impossible for me to keep my mind on my job so I went to call my husband and reluctantly, I might add, because I didn't know how he would react. My husband was pissed. He asked to speak to the general supervisor and later told me that he informed my boss we would be contacting an attorney if this person wasn't removed from my working area. 2 hours after the phone conversation he was sent home on a temp. suspension is what I was informed. When I spoke w/my husband he told me to leave work if this person wasn't removed. I finished the day out and gave my boss a written account of the remarks that day (Fri) and remarks made to me on three different occasions on the previous day that were also sexual in their nature. I received in writing from two other co-workers statements that the same person had made sexual comments and inuendos towards them as well. They saw I was quite upset and just assumed it was for this reason. I gave my boss my statement but kept the other two until I spoke with someone more knowledgeable than myself on how I should proceed. It's monday, and I'm going to work but will leave if this person is there. I'm not a prude. In fact my husband and I are from Alaska and I can handle workplace humor. But, really, this guy gives me the creeps! How should I proceed? Is this "hostile environment" sexual harassment? Thanks for your time.

[Edited by gwsmartin on 05-07-2001 at 02:25 PM]



Before I begin, I am a girl and I have experienced such workplace wrongdoing. I don't think your initial reaction was prudish, but there is a fine line between behaving in a manner where superiors understand, acknowledge and agree with your concern and then when they think you are overreacting simply for $$$. So, you know you are in the right, they punished him for now and you have statements from others. Sit, be quiet and act like a married woman. Be calm. The more you babble about it at work, the worse your situation will be. TRUST ME. So....if it happens again, be calm, show them how upset you are, act business like to an extent and hire an attorney. Also, be glad your husband is supportive. Many wouldn't be -- a sad state of affairs in this world.


I am a law school graduate. What I offer is mere information, not to be construed as forming an attorney client relationship.

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