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Reported Inappropriate Behavior at Workplace – And Now Im Having Guilt

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This topic contains 32 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by avatar Sunshine Brite 4 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #752668 Reply
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    BB22

    I recently started working at a shared workspace for new company. The abbreviated story is that a man who does not work at my company and I do not know at all, came up to me while I was working alone and asked me if myself or any of my “friends” would give him a massage for $50. I laughed at first and then he pressured with “It’s $50, you don’t want a free lunch? You really won’t do it for $50?” I told him I knew no one who would oblige then reported the incident.

    I was asked to write up the account and wrote basically that. (The day before he had asked me if I was single, and I told him I was married but it did not bother me at all.) I told the shared work place “community managers” that I didn’t expect any action, I just simply wanted to ensure that this incident was recorded in case is was a pattern.

    I found out later today that he was kicked-out of the work space by his employer. I know I should not feel guilty as my husband keeps telling me. Full disclaimer, I’m a white, very blonde woman in my early thirties conscious of my white privilege. This was a younger african-american male potentially just getting started with his career. This makes me feel worse. I’m just trying to make sense of my emotions here and I know that I need to feel empowered to report inappropriate behavior, but why do I feel so awful? I don’t want to sound ignorant, but I’m struggling more with the race issue and I can’t articulate why. Please help.

    #752669 Reply
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    Ange

    Eh, if it was a white guy you’d have done the same thing right? And it would have been a good thing? There’s nothing in this world that excuses that kind of behaviour in a workplace – not race, not religion, not gender… nothing. For all you know you weren’t the first person reporting on him and it was the last straw. Hopefully he learns from this and demonstrates much better behaviour in another job but you aren’t there to ensure he gets his start, that’s on him and he effed it up.

    #752670 Reply
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    BB22

    I appreciate that a lot. If it was a white male, I don’t think I’d feel as much guilt and would have absolutely reported him.

    I just wish he was given a talking to, not asked to leave. But you are right, this also may have been a trend – which is why I reported it in the first place.

    #752671 Reply
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    Essie
    Participant

    I’m not trying to insult you here, just to get you to think a bit about your “white privilege” concerns in this case.

    I agree that white privilege exists, but does it mean that if a member of a minority commits an actionable offense, they should be given a pass? What’s your thought process there? Do they get a pass as a way of evening things out, somehow? Making up for the privileges they don’t have? Then what happens when this guy goes on to harass more women – maybe a black woman? I bet she wouldn’t think much of your reasons for letting this guy continue to harass women in your workplace.

    And how far does that “giving a pass” go? Would you feel guilty about reporting a member of another race if you found they were embezzling from the company? If you came upon this same guy trying to rape a woman in the storage room?

    What this guy did was so clearly, obviously, grossly wrong that I can’t imagine why you’d feel guilty about reporting him. It’s really kind of condescending to feel guilty about it, I think. He’s not propositioning his coworkers because he’s oppressed. He’s doing it because he’s a pig, just the same as a white guy making the same propositions, and he should be treated the same as a white guy.

    #752673 Reply
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    JD

    The ignorance here is that you feel guilty based on his color. You wouldn’t feel bad if he was white? Seriously? What an informant comment. You did the right thing but your overcompensating by trying to prove you aren’t racist while being actually racist if you rink it’s ok if it’s one race vs another is mind boggling.

    #752674 Reply
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    JD

    Ignorant. Not informant. Ugh. Phone.

    #752675 Reply
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    Northern Star

    This is the definition of the soft bigotry of low expectations. I guess a black guy can’t help but be an absolute pig to a strange woman? That’s what you seem to think. Gross.

    #752676 Reply
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    Bb22

    I appreciate the comments. I will just clarify I never questioned reporting the incident, I’ve only felt guilty when I found out he was kicked out. I’m not sure if it’s because I questioned if the punishment was too harsh, or I questioned if he would have been given just a scolding had he been white. Then I’m just trying to reconcile this. If feeling bad is from a place of bias and ignorance I need to identify that and truly work on it.

    #752677 Reply
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    Kate
    Keymaster

    Ok, so, asking for physical favors for money is sexual harassment. Which you don’t have to put up with at work. So you reported it to whoever’s in charge.

    Now, every company (as i understand it) is required to have a policy in place for how they deal with sexual harassment reports. There’s supposed to be a process that they follow, and typically it would not result in dismissal after one complaint. He’d be reprimanded, you’d be told about it, you’d sign a letter they write up documenting your complaint and their response.

    So, do they not have a policy? If not, did they just make a call to kick this guy out after one complaint? That’s problematic in my opinion. Or do they have a policy and he’d been dealt with before and repeated behavior he’d been asked not to repeat?

    Why don’t you ask what their policy is?? Ask because you should know what warrants getting kicked out of there and how any complaints will be dealt with.

    #752678 Reply
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    Kate
    Keymaster

    Oh wait, he was kicked out of the workspace by HIS employer after the workspace managers reported him? Well, you should assume that his employer has a harassment policy and followed it, but still ask about the workspace policy for your own information.

    #752679 Reply
    Skyblossom
    Skyblossom
    Participant

    Don’t feel guilty. He acted inappropriately and he was let go. That is entirely on him. He may as well learn early in his career that you can’t do that at work. Hopefully he’s now learned his lesson and at his next job he won’t repeat.

    #752680 Reply
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    Kate
    Keymaster

    Well it does make me a little uncomfortable that a person could lose their job (if he did) after one complaint from one person, which wasn’t followed up on. That’s not how it’s supposed to work. He should be subject to due process. If he wasn’t given due process, then racism may have been a factor, but that’s not the LW’s fault.

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