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What Should I do?

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What is the name of your state? What is the name of your state? NY

Worked part-time at local government agency for 1 year and was recently dictated a voluntary resignation.

Last February I had made a joke in front of a bunch of people, a coworker came up behind me and hit me in the back arm/elbow, I didn't report it as I had only been there a few months, and had no idea how much I would come across this particular coworker. Decided at the time it was best not to make a mountain out of a mole hill at a relatively new place of employment. The likelihood someone else besides me remembers this occurrence is slim to none and I'm unsure the 1990's looking security camera system they have can keep saved material for more than a few weeks.

I ended up working a lot with this particular coworker which was not apparent at the beginning. They would do unnecessary and harassing things at the job, ex. when handing me job related items, they would hold onto the item, not let go, and obviously if I pulled and they pulled on the same item, we'd have destruction of work property. Another ex. There's a one-lane path to transport work items on a cart, this person would stand up from their chair intentionally blocking the one-lane, and attempt to engage in conversation with me. Another ex. When items are returned, the coworker's responsibility was to place them in a compartment next to their work area (usually 100+ items could fit in there and it takes quite a bit of time to build back up), my responsibility was take the returned items, bring them to the back area and sort them. This sorting would take roughly 10 minutes, by that time the 10 minutes were up, other items may have been returned and instead of placing them in the compartment, the coworker would bring a single item back to me. These type of actions would occur in front of people acting in a supervisor's capacity. At one point a different coworker had said "Geez, [coworker] has it out for you."

This coworker had invited me to a church they had just started attending. I declined. I had verbally told the coworker at this point to keep all conversations work related. This coworker was irritated that I would not go to the church and would no longer give them any unnecessary attention. The coworker came up to me 3 times within the next week or so attempting to start conversations. The first time I stated I'm exiting this conversation. The 2nd time I gave them reasons why I had no desire to converse with them. The 3rd time, I just ignored. This worked for around 2 months. The coworker put in their 2 week notice as they had a different job. There was a conversation between us that was normal. The following week, there was a going away party for this person, based off the previous conversation we had, I went up to them and engaged in friendly conversation, the coworker gave immediate attitude, I was behind them at the time, I put my arm on their shoulder and said "Relax there killer". The coworker took immediate exception to that. I immediately took hands off and walked away. I had later sent a message via social media to the coworker mocking what was previously said to me by them. I came into work and was dictated a voluntary resignation because "I had been told no, and I advanced."

This person was leaving, I imagine some false information was given. My side of the story was not requested. I'm not sure the agency's harassment policies. We did just receive a sexual harassment packet. In that packet, it states that an investigation must be done interviewing both the person making the complaint and the alleged harasser. It also states that if a supervisor observes what may be sexually harassing behavior, they are required to report it (don't know if that applies to non-sexual harassment). It does not state in the packet that this is not a contract.

The person acting in the supervisor's capacity attends the same church that the coworker began attending. This person would say things like "you should go." I'd politely decline. On my last week there, there was a little down time, and this person began sharing jokes, some of which were ethnic. I did not participate. Should I report this?

What should I do?
Is there a one year time frame to report sexual harassment to DHR/EEOC? Should I?
Would religious discrimination/retaliation apply?
Should I report any harassment which was done to me?


I'm a Northern Girl
Sexual harassment laws do not apply to non-sexual harassment, and the majority of what you have posted is not only not illegal harassment, it's the sort of thing that, if reported, makes HR roll their eyes and tell the reporter to pull up their big boy/big girl panties. It is not HR's job to make adults play nicely in the sandbox together.

It is unclear what kind of "joke" you told that evidently triggered this entire mess, or what the timeline is with regards to the church invitations and the so-called "harassment". That timeline makes a great deal of difference to whether you have a strong case for religous discrimination, a weak case, or no case at all. Can you clarify the point at which the first invitation was offered, as opposed to when the childish behavior started?

Telling ethnic jokes is not, in and of itself, illegal anything, so let's get the religious element disposed of first.
Coworker had fumbled their words saying closing announcement over the intercom in February. I mimicked whatever flub was made. Nothing regarding that was continued beyond that evening.

That behavior began in May and stopped beginning of August. Late June/early July for the first invitation for church.

I agree with you regarding HR's role. Making mountains out of mole hills doesn't sound particularly enticing to me, much more important things to do, but if this were to happen again at a different place, what should my route of safety be? I have no control over when someone is leaving a place of employment, or the integrity that they leave with, or how management deals with individuals. Unless you're in this situation, you don't think too much about it. In going back and reading this forum to 2015 so far, it seems workplaces have a lot more power than the normal person realizes. Is that for the best?


I'm a Northern Girl
Given that the behavior began before the invitation to church, it doesn't sound like you have any case for religious discrimination or harassment or retaliation. No one started treating you badly because you didn't accept their church invitation - it was already in place. In fact, it sounds to me as if the church invitation might have been an offer of truce, which you rejected.


Senior Member
IF you were ordered to submit a "voluntary " resignation ....file for UI ..but be most careful of your words and anticipate the need for an appeal.

Sending a social media message to a co worker mocking some prior comments is darn stupid
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