Author Topic: Workplace sexual harassment: an interesting story  (Read 13823 times)

kitkat

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Re: Workplace sexual harassment: an interesting story
« Reply #50 on: August 24, 2016, 09:55:57 PM »
Wow. OP -- I am totally with everything you have said here. I started trying to quote all the terrible/ridiculous comments, but there were too many. When did anyone say her SO took a drink after it had been roofied??? Sheesh.

In and ideal world, I think your SO would go talk to Manager A immediately. As someone else suggested, he could bring it up very vaguely, and adjust the conversation as he gauges MA's reaction. This is the only way I could see myself doing something like this, as I am super non-confrontational. He could first bring up that things got a little out of hand during a recent office drinking session, then see if MA (a) laughs it off, or (b) seems concerned and asks for more information. I would try to delay bringing MB's name into the situation until you feel this is something of concern to MA. Even then, I would express that the incident alone wasn't necessarily worthy of any consequences, but that it indicated a larger pattern where others may have been put in danger (or may be, in the future). Just tell the truth, that you wanted to flag this incident in case there have been other issues.

I 10000000%%%%% feel that MB has acted this way (or inappropriately in some other way) in the past, and that he will again in the future. I feel for your SO and agree this will be extremely hard to bring up, if he decides to do so.

I also think talking to the intern, very casually, could be helpful. If the intern felt alarmed by MB's behavior as well, that is good support for SO's reporting. The could even meet with MA together if they were feeling brave.

LeRainDrop

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Re: Workplace sexual harassment: an interesting story
« Reply #51 on: August 24, 2016, 10:23:59 PM »
Wow. OP -- I am totally with everything you have said here. I started trying to quote all the terrible/ridiculous comments, but there were too many. When did anyone say her SO took a drink after it had been roofied??? Sheesh.

In and ideal world, I think your SO would go talk to Manager A immediately. As someone else suggested, he could bring it up very vaguely, and adjust the conversation as he gauges MA's reaction. This is the only way I could see myself doing something like this, as I am super non-confrontational. He could first bring up that things got a little out of hand during a recent office drinking session, then see if MA (a) laughs it off, or (b) seems concerned and asks for more information. I would try to delay bringing MB's name into the situation until you feel this is something of concern to MA. Even then, I would express that the incident alone wasn't necessarily worthy of any consequences, but that it indicated a larger pattern where others may have been put in danger (or may be, in the future). Just tell the truth, that you wanted to flag this incident in case there have been other issues.

I 10000000%%%%% feel that MB has acted this way (or inappropriately in some other way) in the past, and that he will again in the future. I feel for your SO and agree this will be extremely hard to bring up, if he decides to do so.

I also think talking to the intern, very casually, could be helpful. If the intern felt alarmed by MB's behavior as well, that is good support for SO's reporting. The could even meet with MA together if they were feeling brave.

Kitkat did a great job synthesizing and expressing my thoughts on the situation and the prior comments, as well.

OP, your husband's employer definitely SHOULD want to know about the events of that evening because Manager B put them at risk of a potential claim by the intern, the cleaning crew, your husband, and any other witness of Manager B's unwanted sexual advances and/or discriminatory statements.  This is true even though there was drinking involved and even though it was after business hours.  (While in this case, the events all took place on the employer's property, note that that is not a necessary element for the employer to be held liable -- if these events took place at a group happy hour at the bar, the employer would also be at risk of being held liable.  And in case anyone here is confused to believe that because all the people involved were men that that negates the sexual harassment in any degree, we should be clear, federal law recognizes that a victim and a harasser can be of the same sex.)  Even though your husband should not suffer retaliation from this employer based on reporting Manager B's conduct, we all realize, as a practical matter, that does not mean your husband would be guaranteed complete protection from any negative consequences like reputation, references, etc.  That's why I like the way Kitkat steps through the reporting process gradually and carefully, taking into account what sort of reception your husband gets from Manager A and adapting how much to share from there.  Ultimately, your husband will need to decide whether the principle of the matter is worth the potential risk to him personally.  From what you've written here, I think Manager B has likely acted this way before and will do so again, and it would be a great thing if your husband has the fortitude to report what he witnessed of Manager B's conduct that evening.

Anonymous_UserName

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Re: Workplace sexual harassment: an interesting story
« Reply #52 on: August 24, 2016, 11:08:28 PM »
My advice:  keep mouth shut. He doesn't have a pattern of this and it will just hurt your SO To report undocumented story.

Also, please have a discussion with your SO about safe behavior. SO thought the manager put something in his drink and then proceeded to taste it?  Why?  Want to tempt the devil?  Honestly, this one part made me doubt the entire story.  As a woman, this just doesn't sound like plausible behavior. But maybe men like to tempt fate a bit more. In any case, that was just plain stupid. He could have been incapacitated and then what?

I specifically said that he didn't drink anything after he realized Manager B was (clumsily) trying to switch drinks with him.

Sailor Sam, I'm so sorry your wife was put in that situation. I've heard plenty of times about the shitty, shitty ways the military deals with sexual harassment, and it makes me furious every time. My hat's off to you and your wife, for putting up with all that you have in your chosen career.

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Re: Workplace sexual harassment: an interesting story
« Reply #53 on: August 24, 2016, 11:29:20 PM »
Something similar came up in office and it was again a same gender harassment after office hours. The employee reported to higher management and the HR and it came out that previous complaints had also been filed about the same person. HR asked the employee what action he wanted to take against the offender. The employee didn't want to rock the boat of one off incident but told HR he would expect an action taken if this ever happens again.

There was booze involved and a huge age difference between the two so a similar story just off office premises. My recommendation- spill the beans to the other manager and HR. Let them know that even if you are leaving you would like the company to know that the concerned person is not trustworthy enough. Also look for other jobs, there is always a fallout. Though where i work the company policy protects the reporting employee, how well it work no clue.

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Re: Workplace sexual harassment: an interesting story
« Reply #54 on: August 25, 2016, 04:07:59 AM »
One note of caution that I haven't seen anyone else mention: your SO states that while Manager B was already drunk, towards the end of a long evening of drinking, he deliberately tried to get Manager B so drunk that he passed out.  Your SO also states that although he felt weirded out and Manager B was making it difficult for him to leave, he did not feel unsafe.

If this is reported to Manager A or HR in this way, SO could be in serious trouble, for encouraging someone who was drunk to drink more until they passed out.  The fact that the drink switching by Manager B only seems to have happened after your SO started trying to get him drunk is also relevant: the previous acknowledged "I was trying to get Manager B drunk enough to pass out" severely taints the allegation of drink switching.  If any of this becomes known to Manager A and HR, the chances of any allegations by SO being switched around and becoming allegations against SO (as happened with no justification at all to Sailor Sam's wife) and of consequent reputational damage to SO, are high.

Is this fair?  No.  Is it victim blaming?  Perhaps.  Is this how predators escape far too often, because the victim cannot present themselves as utterly blameless?  Yes.

If SO is really, thoroughly concerned that Manager B is an out of control predator and repeat offender he could, and perhaps should, go to the police and make a complaint of criminal sexual offences rather than treating this as an internal matter for the company.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Workplace sexual harassment: an interesting story
« Reply #55 on: August 25, 2016, 04:49:55 AM »
I'm not a lawyer, but I really doubt any crimes could be proven against Manager B. We can only hope that they already have a similar allegation against him and are more likely to believe SO because of it.

charis

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Re: Workplace sexual harassment: an interesting story
« Reply #56 on: August 25, 2016, 06:05:17 AM »
Yes, trying to get the guy so drunk that he would pass out, even though the victim did not feel unsafe in the situation.   That's a straight up bad judgment call, and unfortunately one that taints the entire case against manager.   If SO cares about future predatory behavior, discreetly spread the word among the interns and lower staff members that no one should be drinking alone with manager.  It will get around.   

Get out of the there, and after SO has a job working somewhere else, call someone back at the old company and make a more substantial report on the chance that this is not a one off weird night.  I'm sorry, but your SO has to protect himself and his career first, lest he be victimized again (work-wise) by this guy.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2016, 06:06:54 AM by jezebel »

BlueHouse

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Re: Workplace sexual harassment: an interesting story
« Reply #57 on: August 25, 2016, 06:07:15 AM »

I specifically said that he didn't drink anything after he realized Manager B was (clumsily) trying to switch drinks with him.


This part confused me.  What was he testing?  His theory that the manager was switching drinks? 

Quote
SO was getting increasingly weirded out by Manager B's behavior and, since the guy was making it hard for him to leave, decided to try to get Manager B so drunk that he passed out. (SO was only mildly intoxicated at this point.) That was when he discovered that Manager B was sloppily trying to switch their drinks while distracting him. He tested it out several times, not taking any sips in between. At last fully realized what was going on and got up to leave, without confronting Manager B on the issue. Manager didn't want him to leave, and SO ended up pushing him away a few times, sort of ran to the elevators. (He told me it was "a lucky thing" they closed before Manager B got there.)

I would be very careful about going forward to anyone including the intern. There are a lot of statements here that look like eh could be turned around on your SO to make it look like he was the instigator. If your SO was the one pouring the drinks, then that doesn't look good for him.
To continue along those lines, they could twist the situation to show that your SO set the entire thing up and was even savvy enough to arrange to get the intern out of there so he could be alone with manager B. 
If you've ever testified in court, you'll know that the people on stand rarely get to tell their full story. They answer questions that are framed very narrowly to demonstrate only what the prosecutor or defense wants to prove. I'm afraid your SO will not come out smelling like roses and will be also be accused of relationships on the DL.

What did he mean by he was lucky the elevator doors shut?  That he would have been molested otherwise?  Or that there would be a fight? 
In any case, sorry this happened, but I still would be very careful repeating any of it. He just needs to get the hell away from that place.

GuitarStv

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Re: Workplace sexual harassment: an interesting story
« Reply #58 on: August 25, 2016, 06:43:08 AM »
Would it be a bad idea to have a private chat with the manager who got out of line?  Maybe just indicate that you felt things went a little too far and you were uncomfortable, you don't want to make a big deal out of it . . . but you don't want it to happen again.  Then see what the response is and figure out how to proceed from there.

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Re: Workplace sexual harassment: an interesting story
« Reply #59 on: August 25, 2016, 08:12:15 AM »
Would it be a bad idea to have a private chat with the manager who got out of line?  Maybe just indicate that you felt things went a little too far and you were uncomfortable, you don't want to make a big deal out of it . . . but you don't want it to happen again.  Then see what the response is and figure out how to proceed from there.

What would be the point of this? If B doesn't consider switching drinks, inappropriately petting the intern's head, or making xenophobic comments to the janitors to be problem behavior, how is SO confronting him going to change his attitude? Or help SO?

GuitarStv

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Re: Workplace sexual harassment: an interesting story
« Reply #60 on: August 25, 2016, 08:26:21 AM »
Would it be a bad idea to have a private chat with the manager who got out of line?  Maybe just indicate that you felt things went a little too far and you were uncomfortable, you don't want to make a big deal out of it . . . but you don't want it to happen again.  Then see what the response is and figure out how to proceed from there.

What would be the point of this? If B doesn't consider switching drinks, inappropriately petting the intern's head, or making xenophobic comments to the janitors to be problem behavior, how is SO confronting him going to change his attitude? Or help SO?

It serves a few purposes:

- It was mentioned that the boss was completely wasted, so it is possible that he knows it was a big screw-up and feels bad about it.  If so, you'll get a read on this.

- This should give better insight into the kind of person he really is and whether this was a fluke weird situation caused by too much booze, or the kind of thing that's going to keep coming up.  If he's a senior member of the company, it gives you some information about the kind of people who succeed at the company and a good idea about whether or not you really want to be working there at all.

- If worded correctly, this could be a subtle form of blackmail for the SO to apply.  Not immediately taking the matter to HR might get the boss to look favorably upon SO's future at the company.



Most here are saying go straight to HR.  The purpose of HR is solely to protect the company from liability.  In the case of a couple juniors who are about to leave and a senior employee drinking to the point of intoxication on company property after hours it would not surprise me if HR does little to nothing protect the juniors.  If you talk quietly with the manager first, you still have the option of going to HR but have given yourself a couple other options first.

kitkat

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Re: Workplace sexual harassment: an interesting story
« Reply #61 on: August 25, 2016, 10:16:55 AM »

I specifically said that he didn't drink anything after he realized Manager B was (clumsily) trying to switch drinks with him.


This part confused me.  What was he testing?  His theory that the manager was switching drinks? 

Quote
SO was getting increasingly weirded out by Manager B's behavior and, since the guy was making it hard for him to leave, decided to try to get Manager B so drunk that he passed out. (SO was only mildly intoxicated at this point.) That was when he discovered that Manager B was sloppily trying to switch their drinks while distracting him. He tested it out several times, not taking any sips in between. At last fully realized what was going on and got up to leave, without confronting Manager B on the issue. Manager didn't want him to leave, and SO ended up pushing him away a few times, sort of ran to the elevators. (He told me it was "a lucky thing" they closed before Manager B got there.)

I would be very careful about going forward to anyone including the intern. There are a lot of statements here that look like eh could be turned around on your SO to make it look like he was the instigator. If your SO was the one pouring the drinks, then that doesn't look good for him.
To continue along those lines, they could twist the situation to show that your SO set the entire thing up and was even savvy enough to arrange to get the intern out of there so he could be alone with manager B. 
If you've ever testified in court, you'll know that the people on stand rarely get to tell their full story. They answer questions that are framed very narrowly to demonstrate only what the prosecutor or defense wants to prove. I'm afraid your SO will not come out smelling like roses and will be also be accused of relationships on the DL.

What did he mean by he was lucky the elevator doors shut?  That he would have been molested otherwise?  Or that there would be a fight? 
In any case, sorry this happened, but I still would be very careful repeating any of it. He just needs to get the hell away from that place.

I read the "testing" not as actually trying the drinks, but for example thinking 'ok, I know his drink has more ice than mine, so I'm going to walk away for a second and see if he switches them'. But the OP can clarify.

The "trying to get him drunk" thing is the one part of the SO's story that didn't quite sit well with me.. why not just leave sooner? Or convince him to leave (even to go to a bar) then ditch out on the way? I agree with others that this needs to be presented more clearly if there is a better way to paint it. If there is not a better way to paint it, well you are in a sticky situation as Manager B may have noticed this happening. Blue House brings up a good point, that while this is your SO's side of the story, the Manager B may have a very different side (or be able to twist one) and both could be true. True meaning that they each were experiencing different things, unaware of the other's intentions, etc.

If he does report, he should protect himself by fully disclosing all of the information about what happened. If he covers parts of his behavior and they come out later, it will be worse. Ryan Lochte comes to mind :)

LeRainDrop

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Re: Workplace sexual harassment: an interesting story
« Reply #62 on: August 25, 2016, 10:31:45 AM »
I'm not a lawyer, but I really doubt any crimes could be proven against Manager B. We can only hope that they already have a similar allegation against him and are more likely to believe SO because of it.

Whoa, none of this is about reporting a CRIME.  This is a matter of CIVIL law.

Most here are saying go straight to HR.  The purpose of HR is solely to protect the company from liability.  In the case of a couple juniors who are about to leave and a senior employee drinking to the point of intoxication on company property after hours it would not surprise me if HR does little to nothing protect the juniors.  If you talk quietly with the manager first, you still have the option of going to HR but have given yourself a couple other options first.

You're correct that the function of HR is to gather as much information as possible, assess the risk of claims against the company, and protect the company from future claims.  However, it's not just about the intern who's about to leave and the employee whose contract is almost up.  It is about every single other person who interacts with Manager B now or in the future.  Once HR is put on notice of this situation happening then they KNOW that Manager B could be a risk for them in the future.  If someone else has an incident with Manager B in the future and complains to HR or files a lawsuit against the company, then HR CANNOT deny that they knew nothing of Manager B's proclivities.  It would be in the record -- and documents would be produced if it went so far as a lawsuit -- that show the employer had knowledge of a prior event and should have known Manager B may act inappropriately in the future.

SKL-HOU

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Re: Workplace sexual harassment: an interesting story
« Reply #63 on: August 25, 2016, 10:35:01 AM »
I wonder if the manager thought the same about the SO. OP said SO was trying to get the manager drunk so maybe the manager thought something is up and that's why he tried to switch the drinks.

SKL-HOU

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Re: Workplace sexual harassment: an interesting story
« Reply #64 on: August 25, 2016, 10:36:38 AM »
Also, I wouldn't go to manager B because the second SO leaves his office, the manager will go to HR to protect himself.

Midwest

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Re: Workplace sexual harassment: an interesting story
« Reply #65 on: August 25, 2016, 10:40:20 AM »

You're correct that the function of HR is to gather as much information as possible, assess the risk of claims against the company, and protect the company from future claims.  However, it's not just about the intern who's about to leave and the employee whose contract is almost up.  It is about every single other person who interacts with Manager B now or in the future.  Once HR is put on notice of this situation happening then they KNOW that Manager B could be a risk for them in the future.  If someone else has an incident with Manager B in the future and complains to HR or files a lawsuit against the company, then HR CANNOT deny that they knew nothing of Manager B's proclivities.  It would be in the record -- and documents would be produced if it went so far as a lawsuit -- that show the employer had knowledge of a prior event and should have known Manager B may act inappropriately in the future.

How does going to HR help the OP?  Reporting may help the company avoid liability, but how does it help the OP?

OP's responsibility should be to himself, not the company.  If reporting to HR helps him, go for it.  if he is concerned about it hurting his career, I would let it go for now.

LeRainDrop

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Re: Workplace sexual harassment: an interesting story
« Reply #66 on: August 25, 2016, 11:02:41 AM »
You're correct that the function of HR is to gather as much information as possible, assess the risk of claims against the company, and protect the company from future claims.  However, it's not just about the intern who's about to leave and the employee whose contract is almost up.  It is about every single other person who interacts with Manager B now or in the future.  Once HR is put on notice of this situation happening then they KNOW that Manager B could be a risk for them in the future.  If someone else has an incident with Manager B in the future and complains to HR or files a lawsuit against the company, then HR CANNOT deny that they knew nothing of Manager B's proclivities.  It would be in the record -- and documents would be produced if it went so far as a lawsuit -- that show the employer had knowledge of a prior event and should have known Manager B may act inappropriately in the future.

How does going to HR help the OP?  Reporting may help the company avoid liability, but how does it help the OP?

OP's responsibility should be to himself, not the company.  If reporting to HR helps him, go for it.  if he is concerned about it hurting his career, I would let it go for now.

I didn't say that going to HR helps the OP's husband.  I think everyone here pretty much agrees that there is no personal benefit to the OP's husband in reporting this.  OP says that the reason her husband is considering reporting this is to benefit/protect other people down the road, so that other people at this company do not get victimized by Manager B in the future; if there are any similar prior claims against Manager B, then husband's reporting would also help to support those claims.  That is a very admirable/noble principle.  But only the OP's husband can decide if that principle is worth the potential risk to his career.

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Re: Workplace sexual harassment: an interesting story
« Reply #67 on: August 25, 2016, 11:15:23 AM »
Given that OP has said there is no HR at her SO's workplace, some of this (otherwise good?) advice is moot.

My .02: reporting/flagging is generally a good principle.  It does make a difference to have this stuff on record and for people to be on alert that Manager B might be predatory; it's not unusual for predators to also be well-liked and well-respected people.

It's also true that these situations are fraught and risky for all involved, and that some measure of self-protection is also likely a good idea.

My suggestion would be to go to Manager A and have a conversation something like:

"So, you now I really love my work, and this field, and I really appreciate all the encouragement you have given me.  You also know that I really like Manager B; I especially appreciate the way he has...[fill in the blank accomplished something or demonstrated leadership or whatever].

Something weird happened the other night that I'm still feeling a little uncomfortable about, and I feel like I should tell you about it, because I'm just not sure how to handle it."

[Describe incident honestly, but stop where SO decides what he was going to do--get MB extra drunk.  So something like, "intern and I were here late that night drinking with MB.  I stayed late to make sure intern would get home ok, and had paced myself so I wasn't too drunk.  MB did [xyz], which I thought was pretty weird, and then I started wondering if he was switching drinks?  It was all really weird, and I just got myself out of there as soon as I could."]

Then I would finish by saying something about how I will be acting in the future, based on this incident.  So, "I don't know if MB was just so drunk he had no idea what he was doing, or if this kind of thing has happened before, but I was pretty uncomfortable, and wanted to make sure that I had documented what happened just in case.  I know that if I want to continue working here, I'll need to be able to work with MB, and I am ok with that.  I just wanted to make sure I'd done my due diligence about this."

Even handling it in this low-key way, SO needs to be aware that there may be some weirdness if indeed he does work with MB again and be ok handling that (probably he knows this already), and that, depending on the work culture and how important MB is to the company, SO may indeed be subtly or not-so-subtly discouraged from working there in the future and there may be other points against him in the industry.  Personally, I'd be ok with both of those things, hoping that my own ethics and reputation in the industry over time would win out, or that I would be willing to switch careers if necessary down the road.  But obviously those risks may not be worth it to everyone.

Ditto the comments to document even if SO decides not to report, in case of future exposure.  And ditto to the behind-the-scenes warnings to future interns et al about drinking too much with MB.  +1 to the comment that women are very familiar with this way of communicating about dangers when it's too risky to come forward in other ways.

If you're not familiar with the case, you might be interested in some of the conversations that took place here in Canada recently around the Jian Ghomeshi case.  There was massive workplace and personal sexual harassment that was exposed, and a lot of discussion about how things should have been handled.  My own perspective is that documentation and reporting on record--even if in the short term the experience sucks--helps in the future not only to expose the predator but also to expose the way people around the predator facilitated his actions and covered things up.  Ghomeshi was acquitted, the system sucks for all kinds of reasons.  But his reputation is done, lots of people were fired, women have been galvanized, and the workplace now has a better functioning policy and is on high alert for other problems to handle better.  All important gains IMHO.

Good luck; these are really difficult situations and I wouldn't wish them on anybody.

Jrr85

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Re: Workplace sexual harassment: an interesting story
« Reply #68 on: August 25, 2016, 11:26:33 AM »

You're correct that the function of HR is to gather as much information as possible, assess the risk of claims against the company, and protect the company from future claims.  However, it's not just about the intern who's about to leave and the employee whose contract is almost up.  It is about every single other person who interacts with Manager B now or in the future.  Once HR is put on notice of this situation happening then they KNOW that Manager B could be a risk for them in the future.  If someone else has an incident with Manager B in the future and complains to HR or files a lawsuit against the company, then HR CANNOT deny that they knew nothing of Manager B's proclivities.  It would be in the record -- and documents would be produced if it went so far as a lawsuit -- that show the employer had knowledge of a prior event and should have known Manager B may act inappropriately in the future.

How does going to HR help the OP?  Reporting may help the company avoid liability, but how does it help the OP?

OP's responsibility should be to himself, not the company.  If reporting to HR helps him, go for it.  if he is concerned about it hurting his career, I would let it go for now.

Going to HR absolutely does not help the OP's career and I don't think anybody has thought it would.  The reason to go to HR is out of a moral obligation to publicize what he believes is predatory behavior.  If it was clearly predatory behavior (like him seeing the manager try to roofie the intern) and not possibly a bad drunken night by the manager that will never happen again, I would think he would be morally obligated to blow the whistle despite the likely harm to his career. 

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Workplace sexual harassment: an interesting story
« Reply #69 on: August 25, 2016, 11:36:33 AM »
I'm not a lawyer, but I really doubt any crimes could be proven against Manager B. We can only hope that they already have a similar allegation against him and are more likely to believe SO because of it.

Whoa, none of this is about reporting a CRIME.  This is a matter of CIVIL law.

The poster above me mentioned going to the police.

LeRainDrop

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Re: Workplace sexual harassment: an interesting story
« Reply #70 on: August 25, 2016, 12:11:58 PM »
I'm not a lawyer, but I really doubt any crimes could be proven against Manager B. We can only hope that they already have a similar allegation against him and are more likely to believe SO because of it.

Whoa, none of this is about reporting a CRIME.  This is a matter of CIVIL law.

The poster above me mentioned going to the police.

Oh, my bad!  I read the post before yours and then a big time gap before I read yours and didn't put them together.  Sorry :-)

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Re: Workplace sexual harassment: an interesting story
« Reply #71 on: August 25, 2016, 12:23:38 PM »
That was me mentioned the police.  There's a lot of talk on the thread about Manager B possibly being a serial sexual predator.  If so, it is probably beyond the capacity of his employer to deal with appropriately and going to the police is the correct response (see: Catholic church and abusive priests).

If its' just an otherwise law-abiding person getting drunk and gropey with other drunk people in the wee small hours. probably not for the police.

I don't know which it is.  Other commentators on this thread don't know which it is.   I suspect OP's SO doesn't know which it is, but he needs to make up his mind and act accordingly.  If he goes to anyone in the company, I strongly suspect that it will not do anyone any good and could well do him harm.  The alternative, if he feels strongly enough, is the police, which again may not do anyone any good.  His call.

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Re: Workplace sexual harassment: an interesting story
« Reply #72 on: August 25, 2016, 12:46:13 PM »
That was me mentioned the police.  There's a lot of talk on the thread about Manager B possibly being a serial sexual predator.  If so, it is probably beyond the capacity of his employer to deal with appropriately and going to the police is the correct response (see: Catholic church and abusive priests).

If its' just an otherwise law-abiding person getting drunk and gropey with other drunk people in the wee small hours. probably not for the police.

I don't know which it is.  Other commentators on this thread don't know which it is.   I suspect OP's SO doesn't know which it is, but he needs to make up his mind and act accordingly.  If he goes to anyone in the company, I strongly suspect that it will not do anyone any good and could well do him harm.  The alternative, if he feels strongly enough, is the police, which again may not do anyone any good.  His call.

Yeah but like...when you report somebody to the police you need to accuse them of something that is a crime. The guy sounds like a creep and may well have committed a crime if SO didn't get the intern to leave, but what crime do you want SO to report Manager B to the police for?

Anonymous_UserName

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Re: Workplace sexual harassment: an interesting story
« Reply #73 on: August 25, 2016, 01:00:36 PM »

I specifically said that he didn't drink anything after he realized Manager B was (clumsily) trying to switch drinks with him.


This part confused me.  What was he testing?  His theory that the manager was switching drinks?

Yes, he was testing the theory that Manager B was trying to switch drinks with him. The drinks had already been poured earlier in the evening, and Manager B was still trying to pressure SO to drink more at that point.


What did he mean by he was lucky the elevator doors shut?  That he would have been molested otherwise?  Or that there would be a fight? 

I think he meant lucky in that there would have been a big, uncomfortable confrontation of some sort. Either Manager B (who he described to me that night as "handsy") would have forced a fight of some sort or he would have forced a very awkward...conversation? which would make working in such a small office together uncomfortable.

To clarify another point that seems to be confusing people: SO's plan to get Manager B drunk wasn't him trying to force drinks into Manager B. There were already drinks poured from earlier in the evening and he was sort of using them as a shield. Like, "Hey, instead of wrestling/fighting, let's have another drink." Also, he assessed Manager B as already being pretty much blackout drunk and, since Manager B was not letting him leave easily, hoped that he would pass out soon so that he could leave without a weird or awkward confrontation. As it was, we now know that apparently Manager B passed out in the office amidst the liquor bottles. (And if you think that will hurt his career, it won't. As long as you can still do your job well, you're fine.) Escaping quickly to the elevator was a last ditch effort to get away, and only something he did because Manager B was so persistent and determined to force a confrontation of some sort.
As I said before, like most men, SO isn't used to dealing with harassers. This might seem clumsily handled to those of us who are, but it was what he could think of at the time, trying to balance personal safety and career aspirations. How many women have tried to get a potential rapist too drunk to perform? My guess is lots.

Cathy

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Re: Workplace sexual harassment: an interesting story
« Reply #74 on: August 25, 2016, 01:18:36 PM »
I'm not a lawyer, but I really doubt any crimes could be proven against Manager B. We can only hope that they already have a similar allegation against him and are more likely to believe SO because of it.

Whoa, none of this is about reporting a CRIME.  This is a matter of CIVIL law.

Without expressing any view on the likelihood of criminal process being pursued by the police or by the prosecutorial authorities, and also without expressing any view of the likelihood of a conviction being obtained if the same were pursued, it does appear that the original poster's posts, if broadly construed, arguably contain allegations of criminal misconduct, which most of the replies appear to have overlooked. Obviously, criminal law is different in every jurisdiction, but I was especially concerned by these aspects of the original story:

SO was getting increasingly weirded out by Manager B's behavior and, since the guy was making it hard for him to leave, decided to try to get Manager B so drunk that he passed out. ... SO ended up pushing him away a few times, sort of ran to the elevators. (He told me it was "a lucky thing" they closed before Manager B got there.) ...
Most of it he brushed off as just drunken behavior, until the Manager wouldn't let him go ...
(Emphasis added.)

The original post is subject to multiple interpretations (and the lack of clarity might be due to the fact that we are receiving the story through an intermediary rather than from the source), but reading it broadly, it sounds as though "the Manager" gave the impression that the original poster's "SO" was not free to leave the event, either by implying that the latter would be met with physical force if he attempted to leave, or perhaps actually attempting to use, or using, some physical force (after all, if the Manager didn't attempt to use physical force, the SO wouldn't have needed to "push[] him away a few times")

Some posters may have interpreted the perceived detention as being only in the mind of the SO, rather than credibly based on actions by the Manager, but the balance of the posts weigh against that interpretation for two reasons: (1) the SO was apparently so concerned for his safety that he felt that attempting to render the Manager unconscious was the only easy way to physically escape the situation rather than simply walking out the door at any time (many posters have said that this reflects badly on the SO, but to me, it suggests that the SO felt very scared), and (2) the original poster states that her SO is "not used to the signals of imminent sexual harassment the way we ladies tend to be", which suggests to me that the feeling of detention was based on very clear and articulable signs of danger rather than existing only in the mind of the SO. Now, I agree that the original posts were not clear about exactly what happened that night, but that is because (1) we are receiving a hearsay account of the events, and (2) this post was written for the purpose of eliciting workplace advice from an internet forum, not for convincing the police to obtain a warrant for arrest, or for convincing the state to prosecute, or for convincing a jury or judge to convict.

Based on my analysis of the original posts, and keeping in mind what I bolded and underlined above and how I am not expressing any view of the likelihood of charges, prosecution, or conviction, there are arguably a few crimes that may have been committed by "the Manager". First, detaining the SO by means of causing him to feel fear (even without actually committing violence against him) is likely to be a crime itself in most or all jurisdictions. By way of example, in California, false imprisonment committed without "violence, menace, fraud, or deceit" is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and or one year in jail or both. CA Penal Code ("CPC") 237(a). This crime can be committed without any physical restraint, because "the restraint may be accomplished by words or acts that the individual fears to disregard". People v. Babich, 14 Cal App 4th 801, 808 (1993) (citations and internal quotation marks omitted).

Secondly, putting aside for a moment the proposition that the Manager could be guilty of a crime even if he didn't use force against the SO, it actually sounds like the Manager either used or attempted to use force (either of which is potentially a crime). Specifically, the OP says that the SO "push[ed] [the Manager] away a few times". It is difficult to understand why the Manager would need to be pushed away unless he either touched the SO first (which would potentially be battery by the Manager, see CPC 242) or gave the impression (e.g. by reaching forward) the he was imminently about to use force against SO and SO reacted to avoid the same (which would potentially be assault by the Manager, see CPC 240). Neither of these crimes requires a showing of specific intent, People v. Williams, 26 Cal4th 779, 788 (Supreme Ct 2001), and voluntary intoxication is unlikely to be a defence.

The original poster and some respondents comment on the lack of corroborating evidence for the allegations, but in most jurisdictions, corroboration is technically not necesary to obtain a conviction for any of the crimes just mentioned. Throughout the United States and Canada, the general rule (although it has some exceptions) is that "[a] conviction can rest upon the testimony of a single credible witness". Minnesota v. Goggleye, No A15-0125, 2016 Minn App Unpub LEXIS 42 at *10 (MN Ct App Jan 11, 2016) (collecting cases). If the policy of the law were otherwise, it would be impossible for a great deal of crimes to be tried.

Now, I stress again that I express no view on whether it is worth talking to the police about these matters, or about whether the police would pursue the allegations, or about whether a prosecutor would take carriage of the proceedings, or about whether a jury or judge would return a conviction. I am not making any suggestion of speaking to the police, to the prosecutorial authorities, or taking any other such steps. I express no view on any of these matters, especially since we are reading only a hearsay account of this story and my analysis involves heavily reading between the lines. The only reason I've made this post is to comment on some allegations contained in the original post that, on their face, seemed potentially serious, and that seriousness may have been overlooked by other posts. Once again though, I express no view on whether the state should be engaged with respect to this matter.

charis

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Re: Workplace sexual harassment: an interesting story
« Reply #75 on: August 25, 2016, 01:59:30 PM »
Cathy, I think the criminality of the incident was overlooked because the OP gave no indication that they were considering criminal charges or asked any advice as to whether this incident was criminal in nature. 

hoping2retire35

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Re: Workplace sexual harassment: an interesting story
« Reply #76 on: August 25, 2016, 02:01:16 PM »
whoa! Hope I don't run into any of the posters after midnight!

Do I ever when drinking;
behave aggressively,
act as beer bully,
attempt to engage others in competitive sports
drink too much

check all the above!

Do I ever;
drink with coworkers,
talk to coworkers about drinking

not a chance.

OP, from what I read it sounds like your SO is into the early part of his career, this may be one of the worse incidents he will experience with a coworker/superior, but it wont be the last. As another male I too would have felt uncomfortable in this situation and it sounds like he did the best thing(get the intern away and got out).  Going forward your SO could quietly tell an HR/partner/manager A about the situation just so they know, not so much of "I want him fired/demoted" attitude. He should also maintain strict professionalism in the office, especially around manager B(who may also be a little nervous about what your SO will say). Personally, (and I am a little older, seen stuff, and have an FU money attitude), I would maybe, when he is with manager B out of earshot of others, say something to make lite of the situation like "I'll wrestle you now that I am sober!" or "Want to fight now that you don't have your liquid courage?" That would be pretty bold and something I might do but maybe he can come up with something he is comfortable with. Other than that there is pretty much nothing he can do, brush it off and just keep working; as others said leave with the first group of people at the after work parties and just keep doing well.

ariapluscat

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Re: Workplace sexual harassment: an interesting story
« Reply #77 on: August 25, 2016, 02:55:31 PM »
This is so weird to me. I might just be a very happy drunk, but I don't do things like this when drunk. I just spell things written on my glass and tell ppl about my fave things and ask them about their weekend.

I think the best thing would be to write everything down now, clearly. Not just for legal reasons or documentation, but to help SO feel that this is real and really happened. I like to write out two versions, a dry account of actions and one with the thoughts and feelings I had.

And then try to comfort and support your SO, OP. Dealing w trauma like this is really hard and ppl tend to blame themselves, even if they logically know they're not responsible. If you can, try to be supportive and listen to what he's saying.

I can't give any advice about the legal/employment options. But it's up to him whether he feels comfortable reporting. Just try to be supportive no matter what. It's not his responsibility to catch a predator - he didn't sign up to be bait and he didn't get training to deal w this kind of trickery.

I would also say that ppl I've known (and my own experience) who have tried to confront an abuser or recreate a scary situation are often disappointed that it doesn't give them the sense of control that they were looking for. If the manager really is manipulative enough to switch drinks, a second meeting off of company turf is unlikely to convince him of anything. Is SO looking for an affirmation of what the manager did? Is he trying to convince the manager not to do this again? Is he testing whether this manager will act similarly again? Learn warning signs? Get confirmation from a third person at the meeting? What is the goal in continued contact, esp as he will leave the company soon?

Another option may be to find out if there's an LGBT+ group in your workplace. I'm a lesbian, so I'm not much familiar w how the gay men in such a group would be able to help/support him, but this does read as weirdly homophobic in addition to the sexual pressure. They may be able to give a unique view on male violence towards men, be aware of a history that this manager has w other staff or at least be able to warn other men about these slurs being used.

Just so much concern and sympathy to you and your so. stay strong and safe.

Choices

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Re: Workplace sexual harassment: an interesting story
« Reply #78 on: August 26, 2016, 09:09:40 PM »
OP, my thoughts are with you and your SO as you figure out your path here.

Most of us agree that B's behavior was off. Whether it was drunken over-the-top foolishness or intentionally preditory is not 100% clear. However, I'm certainly glad I wasn't in your SO's position and tend to think the latter is more likely.

Unfortunately, there's no perfect ending. If your SO wants to stay with the company, he's choosing to stay with a company that (knowingly or not) fosters an environment where B can thrive. If he reports the events, he will likely be unwelcome. If he doesn't report, he will feel uncomfortable too.

Unless B is known to be leaving the company in the very near future, the only solution that makes long-term sense is for your SO to move on to another company or start his own business, regardless of whether he decides to report anything. He should also send himself or you an email NOT on the company server that documents the night's events. This way he'll have a timestamped record that he can use if/when he decides to report.

If he doesn't report, he'll worry about others falling victim to B. If he does report, things will not be easy for your SO and there will likely be repercussions. It stinks. Time will heal these repercussions as more people realize that B truly isn't the great guy that everyone thought he was, but it might take a long, long, time.

Abe

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Re: Workplace sexual harassment: an interesting story
« Reply #79 on: August 26, 2016, 10:02:17 PM »
Maybe wait until another job is secured and then report it? You all would then have little to lose from upsetting the manager, and there wouldn't be an appearance of an ulterior motive people could latch on to question your SO's claim. This advice is based on my wife's experience at work with a drunk manager (though it was during work, she wasn't drinking and there were other witnesses). Even being in a much stronger position than your SO is, she was still unjustly punished by the managers and lost her job.