Sexual Harassment at the Workplace— One Experience With No Answers Only Questions

By Judy Locchi Jacobs

When we hear stories about sexual harassment in the workplace what is the first thing that comes to mind?

It was a woman accusing a man? Did she ask for it? Was she attractive, wearing sexy clothes, maybe too nice?

Isn’t it amazing how women will turn on women for even the slightest spark of jealousy which can turn out to become a hateful group of “mean girls”, but not the kind in the made-for-teens film. Yes there are beautiful girls and guys who can also be mean — that’s not this story.

No, the real mean girls are not only mean but most likely suffer from a beat down since childhood, leading to a lifetime of insecurities of being ridiculed due to their appearance. So watch out you attractive women out there- you might be next on their hit list. Especially if there’s a man-whore prowling the office to stir things up.

Sexual predators themselves can create this war in offices — of course there are a variety of scenarios but in my experience it’s always the men who sexually harass that are the biggest problems.

They actually enjoy seeing their victim demoralized in the office among the women who don’t get the same attention. In my case, I never went looking for it- to make matters worse, the guy IS married.

The sad part is, many attractive women are among some of the brightest and hardest workers and they can be seen as desk ornaments —only.

The women who bully and try to take these women down are among the laziest and most hateful. Maybe that’s why the men in the office want nothing to do with them at all— if only they knew.

Now, there’s definitely those who got through life on looks alone- come on we know you’re out there— remember high school? Where are they today? They always got a pass at school and in almost everywhere in life.

Sexual predators at the workplace—who women and men have praised and help architect these twisted perverse egos to the point of no return— they are the damaged goods, not their victims who are mostly successful and respected at their workplace. That’s what makes them a target.

My harasser—A member of the opposite sex, in a supervisory position, one who (at least on the surface), everyone admires. He’s viewed as the hero, the fixer who gets things done. Some of the not so popular and unattractive women who cater to him act like his guard dogs if any other woman asks to speak with their boss— you wonder why so protective?

It all can seem so innocent at first— “can I call you on your cell phone? Let’s have coffee, lunch”. This is done with lots of workers and most are innocent— not in this case. I honestly never knew, this guy was hitting on women at the workplace but it was never spoken of, because coworkers secretly feared him, I later found out, and I know why.

Having mutual friends— one you always respected…. what could possibly go wrong?
Everything.

I wonder how many other women have been met by bullying women in an office setting. Are they there to protect the sexual predator if things go sideways — yup. Hey if they aren’t good enough to sleep with I guess being a guard dog is better than nothing.

One bully can be managed, how about two? Maybe. Three? Four? Five? Six — you get the picture. An ugly one. An office of hyenas among the silent doves.

One HR manager warned early on— “Be careful of the mine fields”….

Too late…. I stepped on all six, possibly more. No one will know for sure because the cowards never will confront you. They would rather enjoy the ten seconds of fame for destroying another woman’s career and then plot for their next casualty. Those boxes of donuts cannot achieve the same satisfaction of knowing you destroyed a woman’s career who didn’t deserve it…. it’s just not the same.

I want no lawsuit— what’s the point? Go into a court room behind closed doors for a small settlement ten years later?

Social media is better. Calling them out and hoping they will be exposed for their crimes at the workplace is more important. How many others follow in our footsteps before they are forced into retirement?

I guess I’m curious about how these women got this way? Were they abused as children, wives, lovers? Did they lose too many bake offs at the office with their boxed pudding cool whip entry? Yes, I confess, I won 3– that must be why!

Why the obsession with the men they couldn’t possibly have? It’s not all it’s cracked up to be ….. men with big egos are lots of work. The place has one too many. I’ve had to work with a few it’s exhausting— their need for constant attention is unbearable. It’s not just men but women bosses, too.

It isn’t not about looks— in a lot of because society forces us to be this way unless you are lucky enough to see beyond it. It’s about personality— I was accused of being an activist by this predator. Looking back the clues are visible when they weren’t early on. I never gave in. I reported this to my manager after my top supervisor instructed me to call the man who was sexually stalking me. I told him I was not interested in calling him because he’s not my boss, he doesn’t work in this office and it’s not work related. He said if I had anything negative to share about him he wasn’t interested.

I went to a scheduled meeting with my manager— he wanted to know why our boss called me into his office I told him. He began encouraging me to call the man who was harassing me, “It would be in your best interest to do so, we need him to do things for us”.

Really? My “best interest”, to participate in something that is unethical, unprofessional, demoralizing….. no thanks.

The following day I was told that my job might be cut to part time or eliminated. I was also told the man at the top doesn’t like coworkers to not get along and will terminate both— one got terminated while the other got promoted. Reminds you of the term, “You F up you move up”.

What would you do? What if this were your daughter or wife? Your son or husband? Think about it. This was a no win situation for me. I worked fast to transfer and they fired me there— of course it was the people at the other department. There was no just cause to terminate or demand a resignation. I tried to report this to the ombudsman who said if I had proof they sabotaged the new job I could go to HR.

Months leading up to the transfer, my health was being effected. Try working in an enemy camp because you just reported harassment against a woman who brags about turning her water meter off so she doesn’t have to pay for it, name tosser to intimidate coworkers she bullies, illegally uses her mother’s handicap card so she can save $2000 on employee parking, files fraudulent insurance claims and brags about it— a pillar of society.

She complained about another female coworker and said, “I really hate H, I want to throw her through a plate glass window”.

Veiled threats?

She actually told everyone at the office I reported harassment— shared by my boss. Do these people understand what they have done? Maybe this works in syndicated cabal within large colleges but not in the real world it does not. Most of these damaged souls couldn’t run a hot dog stand without screwing it up. I know- you would have to see it on tape to believe it- too bad I didn’t get the chance.

I did nothing wrong but to report sexual harassment and bullying — by two individuals who knew each other and the mayor. So what am I led to believe. They are both Italian and connected to the North End. But so am I but years ago when my dad lived there. You would think it would have made us the best of friends— only the opposite.

I can honestly say the differences between us were professionalism, maturity and morality—- they lack and I possess.

Believe me— I tried to talk to both of them as an adult and point out what they were doing was wrong— but they wouldn’t have it.

I often wondered about those naked photos of a woman at the office my harasser kept telling me about while asking for photos of my breasts, which I refused.

Could it be one of the six women who all worked together to ensure my fate of being forced to resign in another department and most likely demanded they terminate my employment?

I can still hear the cracking voice of the manager who said, “I’m so sorry, Judy. I haven’t slept all week over this, I really hate to do this to you but you will have to resign or be forced into a performance review which I don’t want to do because I will be hounding you all day— and will have to force you out”.

To make matters worse, two women who claimed to be my friends said the woman bullying me was telling everyone at the office that I walked off the new job and why I was let go— I was furious. I reported it to HR who then demanded I share names of women who witnessed this and the women refused to come forward for fear of retaliation— allegedly. Who really knows. It was like a version of reality tv— or Jerry Springer at the office.

This was not your typical termination especially after 5 short weeks of zero training by the retiree who decided to return because she resisted leaving….. (more dysfunction but trust me, both places were wrought with issues more at the former).

I was willing to give it my best effort to remain but it was clear that the people from the last department got me fired because they feared a lawsuit for harassment— yet I had no intention of pursuing. After consulting with lawyers and then signing a separation agreement everything went dead. As soon as I understood what they did to me and my financial well being— stripped of long term heathcare and retirement— I wanted them exposed and to pay for destroying my career and future prospects.

I was told by my former supervisor, “We don’t need anymore lawsuits, we already have too many. I need you to drop this with your coworker”. I refused. I reported it to our internal HR manager who was later forced out as well.

When I gave my notice for the transfer — this was the treatment I received—

“Whhhhyyy”?

“You F’ing B how dare you leave when did you find time to interview to another department”.

“Some are saying you must have slept with the hiring manager and why you got the job”.

“You B (spits on the floor) you are dead to me”.

The entire story is very long but just understand that if a woman or man accuses someone of harassment and bullying — in many cases it’s true. The cases that are not— well, the accuser should be thoroughly investigated. They probably job hop with each case they cash in on. My work history was 8-12 years at 3 major employers, healthcare and academia without incident all high performance records with merit increases.

There are victims and abusers on both sides. Every story is individual and has its own specific issues — to report or not report and continue to tolerate, that is the question. If your harasser continues without any intervention from his/her supervisor and HR, then what? Look for another job— that didn’t work either. I’m telling you this entire region is poisoned by these people.

To sum it all up— this office brothel has been operating this way for years. Other coworkers described stories of supervisors inviting workmen to their homes while their husband was out of town. Another asked, “I wonder who is sleeping with who, nowadays”?

I guess we know who’s not….

The VP who’s been trying to dismantle and get rid of these mafia style criminals (it’s exactly what they are), has been unsuccessful for whatever reasons— political affiliations, family members working at state agencies who continue to harm their victims after they leave through lack of services (healthcare and unemployment blocked), and making sure they don’t ever get a job again.

I got proof— I reapplied to another department and employer after being told repeatedly by HR I could apply and would be able to find another job again.

In one case, I knew the manager, they were my referral as the transfer that failed. The hiring director was scheduling me for an interview, and based on my 12 years at the college, I was a good match. But HR told them to “keep looking”. The other employer was Harvard. I was a finalist before reference check. There it is.

I know I am not the only one who was forced out of an organization who does not appreciate dedication, a worker who treats their colleagues with respect, willing to help out other managers when their staff is out or a job needs to be filled— but at least I don’t have my file filled with complaints on bullying and sexual harassment, I’m also not an embezzler, or someone who manipulates colleagues over their uncontrollable guilt of two dead workers or family member who overdosed.

Those are issues which need to be addressed with a therapist not the workplace. Every one of us has dealt with loss and many of us do not go to work to abuse workers because we can’t deal with our personal issues. My message to anyone who bullies at work —Time to grow up and face your demons you created.

Those of us who had to pay for the misery caused by others are not the ones who must deal with demons— they will.

In the meantime, I will continue to thrive in my life with all the many blessings— family, friends and my strong spirit.

I sum it up as the perfect storm— several factors coming together to create sheer disaster.

On the bright side, I know this place was never meant to be it was a mistake and should have never been. I find that life tosses us some situations that test us— this one was tough I’ll admit but I learned a great deal about people which will serve me well. I’ve also learned a lot about myself. Who I am and what I want from life— leaving this all behind as one of my worst nightmares.

I’ve got one person who remains a good friend from this place. They were forced out as well over a year after me. I’m proud to say that I refused to lie about his work performance which added to my becoming a target and then dismissed. That’s how they corrupt their employees by making them join in on the assassination of successful careers.

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