I was involved in a very frustrating situation recently. My old job, which anyone who reads this blog will know I couldn’t wait to get out of, has somehow pulled me back into a situation I feel fully uncomfortable being part of.
Here’s the sitch…
I went out to have drinks with a bunch of people from that job on a friday night. There was one guy in particular who I hadn’t know long before leaving. He’s a nice guy, but he’s crazy blunt and not afraid to speak his mind. After we’d both had a few drinks, our flirting turned quite loose. We went a little over the line with some of the things we said, but it’s important to remember that BOTH of us went over the line. The next morning I woke up and thought ‘geeze, that got personal fast!’.
A short while later I was on the phone with a friend, another person I met while at this old job. She’s a super nice girl and I love her, and the topic of colleagues came up. I mentioned that this guy is super blunt, and if I were anyone else, he might need to tone it down a bit. It was, what I thought, a normal conversation.
Fast forward a week. I receive a text message from this guy apologizing to me. It had been brought to his attention that some of the things he said to me had been considered inappropriate. Wait… what????
I immediately called him, telling him at once that I had not been offended, and I couldn’t believe that this other colleague had told him. That’s when I find out she hadn’t told him, she’d gone to the boss who had sat him down to have a meeting about sexual harassment!!! What!!! I was so furious that I couldn’t help myself, I called the girl colleague ready to got nuts!
To my surprise, she was just as upset as me. I could tell she was upset by her voice, and she had walked out of the office as it was all happening. She told me that she never, at any point, gave me name. Her reasons for taking any action were not about what I said specifically, but what I said had resonated with her, because two other people in the office had said something similar. She felt that maybe someone should talk to him about communication, so went to the boss with nameless instances, and said that perhaps someone should talk to him privately.
The boss turned around and all but bullied her into giving details. Without wanting too, the colleague had blurted out ‘one of them doesn’t even work here anymore’, which made it obvious that it was me. She felt I was safest, because I wasn’t currently in the office.
Now here’s the part that weeks later still makes me super angry. The boss sat down with the person that I was potentially calling out on sexual harassment, and gave him my name!!! I mean come the fuck on!! She never once called to make sure of her details, and she full on told him I had complained about him for being too sexual around me!!
I was so angry. I was angry at the colleague for saying anything. I was angry at my boss for reacting the way she did. And I’m angry at myself for saying anything in the first place and putting myself in this situation. I called and said very pointedly ‘take my name off of this entire thing, I don’t want any part of it’.
Now here’s something crazy. Because I fully denied any involvement in the whole situation, they turned back on my colleague and called her a liar.
I swear I’m not making this stuff up. How did this situation because so out of control?
I believe that the boss had every right to take action if she thought one of her employees might be making others uncomfortable. I believe that my colleague had every right to say something if she’d heard from multiple sources that he was making them uncomfortable. What I don’t like is how any of it was handled. If this had been an actual sexual harassment claim, giving out my name and allowing him to contact me would have been an HR nightmare.
But maybe I’m wrong…