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Workplace sexual harassment

Discussion in 'Discrimination & Sexual Harassment' started by Harassed and afraid, Oct 29, 2016.

  1. Harassed and afraid

    Harassed and afraid Law Topic Starter Guest

    I have been working a state job in WA state for a little over 3 months now. I share an office with a man 30 years older than me who has recently been saying uncomfortable things to me of a sexual nature. He is not my boss and is not threatening me in anyway about losing my job. He has been working there for 10 years and is liked there, and no one would suspect that he is saying these things to me. He has laughed the comments off as if he were just joking but the last few days his 'jokes' have increased to several times daily. I'm not certain how I should handle this at the present moment, as I do not want to get into any he said/she said and be a 'trouble maker' and not have this issue addressed. On a side note, he told me that he hurt his back at home and is now filing a workmans comp claiming he hurt his back on the job, listing me as his witness. I did not witness anything except his confession that he originally hurt his back at home picking up a sock. I'm feeling like he is cornering me and I would like some steps to take so I don't end up the one losing my job.
  2. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    OK, first of all, there is nothing you can do to prevent losing your job over this.

    However, for you to have recourse you MUST file a WRITTEN complaint with the President or CEO of your company quoting each and every offensive statement and the dates and times they were made. Keeping a copy, of course.

    Then, if you get fired you have a good basis for a sexual harassment lawsuit.

    Unfortunately, up to now anything you report is likely to be denied by the other worker and swept under the rug by the bosses.

    For your own protection I suggest you secretly record anything this moron says.

    BEFORE YOU DECIDE TO DO THAT, read WA criminal statute 9.73.030 (1) (b) which makes it a crime to record his statements without his consent unless the exception in paragraph (2) applies.

    RCW 9.73.030: Intercepting, recording, or divulging private communication—Consent required—Exceptions.

    You will have to decide if you want to risk stretching that paragraph to its limit.

    You could, of course, just record the statements so you can accurately quote them and hope the recording never has to see the light of day.

    That's up to you.
  3. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    The FIRST thing you do is politely make him aware of the fact that you do not appreciate the comments and would like to request that he stop.

    If it does not stop, THEN you make a report to HR and/or upper management, whatever is the standard for that employer.

    It certainly can't hurt to keep a record of the comments but AJ is recommending that you go in with an AK-47 when pepper spray would do as well.

    Did I mention that I used to be the one to conduct SH investigations, and teach employers how to recognize SH?
  4. Betty3

    Betty3 Super Moderator

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    Does your employer have a handbook that covers sexual harassment or company policy re sexual harassment? If so, follow the procedure there re filing a complaint.
  5. txls

    txls Well-Known Member

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    Definitely tell him to stop. Make it clear that you are serious and that his idea of joking is not funny to you.
  6. ElleMD

    ElleMD Well-Known Member

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    As one who currently investigates these things, start by asking him nicely to stop making the comments which bother you. If he is the nice guy others claim he is, that is the end of it. Expect him to be a bit surprised if you haven't spoken up for months.

    As for the WC claim, if you do not report it, YOU could face criminal charges and or be fired for not sharing what you know. If he told you, chances are better than certain he has told others. If those others rat him out before you do, it is not good. Trust me, I know of what I speak.

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