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Thread: Unsure what to do, scared of what they are planning. California

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  1. #1
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    Default Unsure what to do, scared of what they are planning. California

    This is a long story but I'll try to get to the point. I work for a public agency and do have a union. Earlier this year I started talking with a male supervisor, things quickly escalated and we became friends, or so I thought. Nothing romantic, just friends, although there was some innocent, flirting involved. Shortly thereafter many people in the office started being really rude to me, gossiping, and just making work unpleasant. As soon as I realized that it may have to do with him, I distanced myself from him. He reacted by starting to walk by my cubicle multiple times a day 7-12 times a day, when he had no reason to and had never in the past. I caught him on various occasions when he did this staring at my cleavage. Shortly thereafter I discovered that the reason that people were being so nasty, was because him and I ever started becoming friends, he had told some of his friends in the office that I had the hots for him. This then turned into toxic rumor. Thinking that we were still friends and wanting to give him a chance to explain, I asked him point blank which he didn't deny, but instead answered a question I didn't ask. I got nervous thinking of what a mess this could turn into and tried to let it go. I made another mistake, in that I confided in a friend who is a manager about the situation. When she asked what I wanted to see done, I said nothing since I didn't want to deal with the drama associated with this type of situation, and figured the gossip would eventually die down. I went on vacation and upon my return, his demeanor towards me became very cool almost aggressive. Prior to all this, him and I had communicated over email. Nothing sexual nor graphic, but taken out of context the email information could be misconstrued. I have since been told by my other friend the manager, that those emails were a mistake. I know that he has told management that I am "angry" I'm not. I have seen managements behavior change drastically. When in the past they would respond via email to a question. They only respond verbally now. I have worked for this organization for over 16 years, I have been a trainer and in various roles of responsibility. I have never been written up nor had any problems with my coworkers nor customers. Even when I have been bullied at work on prior occasions, I have worked through it. There is no reason they reasonably could have to fire me or reprimand me, but if he establishes that I have some sort of anger issues and could be a threat to the well being of the office. Which is a complete fabrication, all it would take is him or someone else bumping into me, and claiming that I hit them or shoved them into a wall, in order for it to be a huge problem or lead to my termination. I would just like for this to go away, but I am concerned that if I don't file a formal complaint, there won't be any paper record if they try something horrible to get rid of me. The other issue is that my other friend, who is a member of management would be compromised since we had various conversations related to this matter.

  2. #2
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    If you do nothing, they won't have to "try something horrible" to get rid of you, all they have to do is let you go for no reason. You have no legal protection for this except whatever the union might provide.

    However, if you file a complaint with HR for sexual harassment, they cannot let you go until they have investigated and established with certainty that the only reason you filed said complaint was due to pure maliciousness on your part, with no evidence that your supervisor was in fact harassing you.

    If you want to keep your job, you should probably file a complaint with HR, and let the union know what you're doing. However, a downside to this action will be that your manager friend will probably get into some trouble over this. Only you can decide what you should do at this point.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by eerelations View Post
    If you do nothing, they won't have to "try something horrible" to get rid of you, all they have to do is let you go for no reason. You have no legal protection for this except whatever the union might provide.

    However, if you file a complaint with HR for sexual harassment, they cannot let you go until they have investigated and established with certainty that the only reason you filed said complaint was due to pure maliciousness on your part, with no evidence that your supervisor was in fact harassing you.

    If you want to keep your job, you should probably file a complaint with HR, and let the union know what you're doing. However, a downside to this action will be that your manager friend will probably get into some trouble over this. Only you can decide what you should do at this point.
    I am going to disagree with ee somewhat. A company can let you go while investigating a complaint. You could also be suspended. A smart company will work with a lawyer on any disciplinary action but there is no law that states a person who files a complaint cannot be terminated.

    If there is a union, you need to follow whatever steps are in the contract for filing a complaint. Different unions have different rules, depends on how strong the union is.

  4. #4
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    I don't see anything to file a harassment complaint over. You had a friendship with another manager/employee, and that friendship has cooled. Some in the office assume you were headed for something more than friends or just didn't like that you were chummy with this guy and their demeanor toward you has changed. You don't mention any tangible employment action or that you are unable to perform your job as a result of anything "they" have done.

    Filing a claim does NOT protect you from termination, though I have no idea why you would assume you would be fired, let alone that someone who fabricate a reason to do so.

    I suggest ceasing the gossip. Treat everyone professionally and cordially. Stop emailing him unless it is work related and then stick to work. If someone is treating you particularly coolly, schedule a time to meet with that person and without accusation, discuss it. "Jane, I have noticed a change in our working relationship and I want to find out from you what we can do to repair it".
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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