I used to work at a place, which shall remain nameless.
An interesting and significant case of sexual harassment happened there.
One of our departments employed a fellow from a different country with
slightly different standards there Aside and apart from that, he had
psychological problems, paranoia combined with delusions of importance
and a conviction of his own intellectual superiority. He was under the
impression that women were interested in him when they were not in the
least so interested. He couldnt believe that they were not completely
taken in by his charms and, if they were not, it was because they were
He was a tall fellow with a fair bit of weight on him
but he was not unfit. He played racquetball and what have you. He could
bounce around with agility, I was told, so he was a bit of a threat.
This man would lie in wait for student interns. These were young people
who would come in, on contract, as trainees for the work experience.
Often these student interns would work late because
there were special tasks they had to do. This villain would wait until
just about everyone had left the office and then he would visit
these girls and hang about. He was a large man. It was threatening to
them. The girls complained to management but management, in the style
of management everywhere, thought the way to solve a problem was to
sweep it under the carpet. They didnt move this guy to another
area or anything. He still hung about and the girls had no defense.
Fortunately, very fortunately, he became entranced with
a girl intern who worked down near the Executive Directors office.
She was in her office cubicle working during regular hours and the Executive
Directors secretary was working nearby. Apparently, the intern
had complained to management that he had been harassing her. Their response
was to move her to a safer area. Our villain discovered she had complained
about him and he meant to give her a piece of his mind.
The big guy entered her office and leaned over her desk.
This frightened her a lot and she screamed. That scream pretty much
ended it all. That was the end, not of legal shenanigans, but of his
being on the ground there in the office and his being able to get away
with harassing the young ladies. He had gone one step too far and was
banned from the office premises.
He came back once after he was booted out. He went all
around the office and harangued people and made a general fuss and threat
of himself. I was concerned for Annalee, who worked in his area of the
office. He had it in for her. She was an older lady. I was younger then,
and pretty feisty. I had sensed trouble brewing and had brought into
the office, concealed, a pair of suitably modified plastic nunchucks
a martial arts weapon made famous by martial artist Bruce Lee. I was
going after him when he invaded the office for his last shout. I knew
he had entered Annalees area.
One of the officers in my section ran interference on
me. He should have been a football player. He was good at it. He was
going from one side of the aisle to the other as I was trying to march
towards the source of the trouble, all the time repeating I wouldnt
do that if I were you, Sonia! The trouble died down. Annalee was
unharmed and I didnt get to try out my amateur martial arts skills
or lack of same.
Management, in the style of management everywhere, overreacted
after the fact and posted security guards at all the entrances. They
would not let him in again. Problem was that they hadnt given
him a fair trial. He brought a case through the Union and it dragged
on and on. He accused any and everybody of being against him and tried
to pull them into this case because he was so important they must all
be involved. I probably should mention that, although he was deluded,
he was not dumb.
In his eyes he was right and he knew it. He was totally
justified and everyone was prejudiced against him. This went on, unbelievably
for years before it was finally settled, in our highest court of appeal.
He had no case whatsoever but the Department had been wrong to terminate
his services so abruptly without fair trial. His employment was not
terminated but he was put in with a group, engineers or something, who
were ALL guys. Even the secretary, although gay, was a guy. They must
have figured that would pretty well stop the problem right there.
As far as I know he is still working for the Department
in that masculine enclave. Some things confound the mind. This thing
got so out of hand. Part of it was his delusions of his own importance
and grandeur. his attractiveness to the fair sex and so forth. The rest
of it was management just ignoring it until it was too late, then they
overreacted. Thus, when one girls complaint was finally acknowledged
and he was told not to bother her, it started this chain reaction.
Ive got a feeling that this is not the first time
this sort of thing has happened in an office.
I suspect this sort of thing can happen anywhere
© Sonia Brock 2007