sexual harrassment

  1. Who would you go to?????

    We work at a small close knit facility. Our payroll clerk has been employed here for years and has been groping female employees for YEARS. Most of the women push him away and tend to laugh it off in front of him, Im sure out of embarrasment and fear that he will manipulate the paychecks in some way. Some employees have been more vocal towards him and he leaves them alone for a time but usually resorts back to his old behavior. Lately his behavior has become more disgusting as he now reaches between the legs from behind and gropes private parts then laughs about it. He does this to the aides, nurses and housekeepers. Young and old!!! Problem is he is personal friends with our DON so no one has gone to her. Our new ADON is a very timid woman and the owners are absent. This behavior must stop. It isnt funny! I am a new employee who has been "chosen" to bring this problem to someone who will put an end to it. I have no idea who to go to. One of the employees wants to go to the local police but Im not sure if its a police problem. We cant afford to lose our jobs due to the friendship between our DON and this pervert. Any advice??? I have even spoken to this man about the possiblity of losing his job and possibly his home. I asked if it was worth it. He responded by poking at my breast and walking away. Nothing seems to deter his behavior. What would YOU do??????? Thanks.
    Last edit by ChristinaV on Feb 5, '07
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  2. 85 Comments

  3. by   santhony44
    I believe I would consult a lawyer. Preferably one who deals with employment issues regularly.

    Every female employee affected needs to start keeping documentation of the instances, however, immediately. Every time, and get witness statements if possible.

    Talk to a lawyer ASAP!
  4. by   gr8rnpjt
    The owners of the facility need to be notified asap. It needs to be documented that they have been notified. Then if nothing is done, a class action suit against the facility for maintaining a hostile working environment is in order!
  5. by   kittagirl
    First of all document everything.
    Start a diary of incidents, don't do it retrospectively so start straight away. You do not have to be the victim of the behaviour but if you witness it write it down. Get as many of the other employees to do the same.
    Secondly I would see this as a police matter, what he is doing is sexual assault. Put it like this if he was a stranger and this happened somewhere other than work, what would you do? If you Mother/ sister/ daughter/ niece came home and told you of a man at work doing this to them how would you feel?

    If he has been getting away with this type of behaviour for so long he most likely thinks he's immune from any form of reprisal, his behaviour when you spoke to him seems to indicate that he no longer believes that anyone will do anything about it.

    I think you're very brave to be the one to make a stand, (and consulting a lawyer even at this early time would possibly be a good idea, again to protect yourself) You'll be surprised how many people will back off or even deny what is/ has happened to them and you will be accused of being too 'touchy' and overreacting. And some peoples attitude will be that they've had to put up with it should you?
    I'm not saying this to put you off but just as a warning as I know how difficult a situation like this can be.

    When I was on a new ward I reported a "colleague" who during a shift I disagreed with an action or rather inaction towards a patient. When I asked to speak to him about it he started to yell at me in the middle of the floor. I calmly suggested that we act like professionals and take the discussion somewhere more private.
    We went in to an office just off the ward where he continued to yell at me. I refused to react and did not shout back just asked him to keep his voice down and allow me to speak. He ended up pinning me against a wall shouting insults in my face, spitting at me and making vague physical and sexual threats.
    I now believe that I went in to a state of shock, however according to other staff I appeared to be fully in control of the situation and myself.

    I remember telling him to let me go or I would start to shout, and would insist that the police were called. I then walked out of the room told one of the other staff (who of course were all eavesdropping) that I was going for a break. I left the ward area, found a quiet spot phoned my partner and burst in to tears.

    Unknown to me one of the junior staff had already called the Matron, who was on the ward when I returned. I wrote a statement there and then got her to sign it took a copy and told her I was going home.

    When I returned the next day to speak to my manager I discovered that this was not the first time that an incident like mine had happened, but no one would follow it through.
    The employment laws been such in the UK that unless some one followed through they could not sack him (He had already claimed that the manager was racially discrimatory towards him)

    With a lot of support from my partner and my union I did follow the complaint through and he was suspended and then fired. At this point a lot of other information regarding his behaviour towards female staff and patients came to light.

    Despite no-one wanting to work with this guy and everyone agreeing his behaviour was totally unacceptable I still got a lot of static from other members of staff. My answer to them was what I said to you above 'if this had happened anywhere but work what would you have done?'
    that made a lot of them think again.

    I really hope that all your colleagues pull together with you on this, if any of them are having second thoughts leave them with this thought, you said his behaviour has recently become worse, if he is not stopped now what will he do next?
  6. by   nursemike
    Yes, this is certainly a police matter (in addition to the other remedies already mentioned.) Poking your breast against your will and other incidents you mentioned are not only sexual harassment, but sexual assault. No matter what your employer or supervisor may think, the man is a criminal, as well as a nuisance.
    I agree that a good lawyer would be a good place to start, but I wouldn't dismiss the idea of contacting the police. What he's doing is a sex crime, and from your description, escalating. I can think of no reason to feel confident it will not escalate even further.
    I would hope the police would take this matter very seriously, but I suspect they would be even more likely to do so if you had an energetic attorney with you when you filed a complaint. I would also discuss with the attorney the possibility of having his or her fees reimbursed by your employer.
    Last edit by nursemike on Feb 5, '07
  7. by   ear
    Is this sexual assault rather than harrassment???

    I would call the police and press charges.

    Good luck to you all, I hope something gets done about this.


    ~ear
  8. by   GingerSue
    I would get a lawyer and go to the police.
    And charge this man for his criminal behavior - it'll only continue and get worse if you don't

    He is assaulting the females.

    And don't tell him what you're going to do (every time that no one does anything, he knows that he can continue)

    Among the group of people who know what is happening, who have experienced this treatment, get it documented, get witnesses, times.
  9. by   BrnEyedGirl
    I think I'd have to break his nose,..let him explain how/why that happened at work!!!
  10. by   clee1
    Quote from RN-Cardiac
    I think I'd have to break his nose,..let him explain how/why that happened at work!!!
    I'm with you.
  11. by   GingerSue
    Quote from clee1
    I'm with you.

    understandable

    but he'll then charge you

    wouldn't you rather just find a way to get him out of there?
  12. by   LadyNASDAQ
    Go to the DON as a group. I would first go to an attorney and possibly get a class action started. If the DON does anything against you and the others, the attorney is available.
  13. by   Lacie
    Seek an attorney and make a "formal" written grievance to higher management. A while back when I worked in case management my hiring manager did just this and when it wasnt taken care of (the director was having an interoffice affair and dropping all the work on my manager who then had to take the fall out from upper management) she filed a "sexual harrasement law suit". This was a national casemanagement company also. She tried to stay working after the suit was filed but after a few months she gave her resignation. Shortly thereafter the entire management was changed over and the director transferred. Then they slowly rid themselves of us that were hired by this manager. Anyway she did win the suit down the road and said it was well worth the aggravation to get this company to finally listen.
  14. by   clee1
    Quote from GingerSue
    understandable

    but he'll then charge you

    wouldn't you rather just find a way to get him out of there?
    Maybe, but where I live, the people that form juries understand that sometimes you have to handle an issue like this yourself. You'd never be convicted of decking a sexual assaulter in the mouth around here.

    Of course, people here also understand "He needed killin'."

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