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Being singled out for rape allegation

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  • Being singled out for rape allegation

    A co-worker of mine was raped on company property after hours by another employee (very ugly, during a company social event, he slipped a date-rape drug in her drink, brought her back to the office, etc.) and now feels she is being pressured to leave by grossly unfair scrutiny and disciplinary actions taken against her.

    Naturally, the company would not take action until a police investigation proved her allegations, even though doctor's confirmed the existence of the drug in her blood and that she had indeed been assaulted. Problem was she was so humiliated, she decided not to press charges against the guy because, as rumors spread through the office about what happened, he ended up leaving the company (whether he planned to leave or not ahead of time remains to be seen).

    After working with the company for 6 years without any problems or ever being written up, upon her return, the following has happened:

    • She was told her time-off, used to recover from the anti-STD medication side-effects, would not qualify as disability, but vacation time.
    • Unlike anyone else in her department, she was stripped of credit purchases and asked to satisfy her card balance (as if she were a flight risk or was about to be let go)
    • She had received several "warnings" that she is spending too much time on AIM and the phone. Other employees that she associated with were warned as well about wasting their time with her. (Mind you, we're not talking any more time than other employees spend and this issue has NEVER been taken up with any employee prior to OR since.)
    • She was warned about showing up late to work. (Probably her one fault, although it is something that has not changed in 6 years, and she would always make it up by working during lunch, staying late, etc.)
    • She was pulled into HR and told her performance was suffering. Because she made an excellent case as to how she has a perfect record meeting deadlines, and how her performance remained consistent , they shifted the reason for their disciplinary action on her to her occasional tardiness. Her disciplinary action included:
    • In efforts to "encourage" her to stop wasting company time, she was taken off payroll and switched to hourly wages.
    • She was stripped of the traditional summer Fridays that every other employee has the option of taking. In her department, the perk is taken advantage of by EVERY single employee.
    • They promised the measure was temporary, but gave no goal for her to achieve to regain salary status.

    This has gotten so bad, an anonymous co-worker actually left excerpts of the company's employee policy manual on her desk, highlighting the company's zero-tolerance of harassment in the workplace.

    Now, since none of these actions are illegal in themselves, her guess is she is being carefully squeezed out by frustration. Is there any reason why legal would recommend "letting go" of a rape victim in the company? Our only other guess was, this fellow who quit, was pretty valuable for some upcoming business. Perhaps she is being punished for inadvertently screwing the company?

  • #2
    Is there any reason why legal would recommend "letting go" of a rape victim in the company? No. Nor can I think of any remotely logical reason why the employer would want to retaliate against a rape victim.

    Our only other guess was, this fellow who quit, was pretty valuable for some upcoming business. Perhaps she is being punished for inadvertently screwing the company? Again, that doesn't make any sense. Management is comprised of people, the great majority of whom would be outraged at the rapist's actions and would want him not only terminated but imprisoned for a good long time. It doesn't matter HOW valuable an employee the rapist was.

    Now it's possible this co-worker's performance truly is sub-par and the company's actions have nothing whatsoever to do with the rape that took place. I simply can't imagine any reason at all why the employer would "punish" her for being the victim of a horrible and violent crime.


    • #3
      Having been a victim of a sexual assault, I can say that it majorly affects the victim (more than most can imagine). I wish she would have pressed charges. I know it isn't easy, but that probably would have helped her more than she could imagine.

      If she is more than a co-worker to you and you are on a friendly basis with her, I would strongly recommend that she get counseling. Most of the Rape Crisis Centers provide it free of charge. Because until she gets help and works through the issue, it will always be there for her (and I say this 16 years out of it).

      It is very very possible that unfortunately this is spilling over into her job performance, especially since she is revisiting the scene of the crime each day. And others in the company are concerned about her and checking on her and bringing it up consistently. So it might be affecting their job performance also. The employer is in a hard spot--trying to be empathetic regarding a personal situation but still needing her to keep up her job performanance. They also needed to verify the facts...and it wouldn't surprise me if the other employee was asked to leave but the company agreed not to make that fact publicly known.

      I agree with the other poster that I can't imagine why the company would want to retaliate, but I do see why they need her performance to be up to par. Because if they let it slack, then how do they then deal with other employee's personal issues affecting their job performance (such as a divorce, etc)? Like I said it is a hard spot to be in from both sides.

      Personally --- Please, please recommend some counseling/therapy for your co-worker...maybe HR already has and she has refused. Sometimes you never know what the company has offered to do to help that she has refused. Some victims just want to pretend it never happened, but this doesn't help them work through the issue.



      • #4
        Seems unfair to me. Funny how she hadn't had any trouble: warnings or write ups, until this happened. She should have pressed charges, but that is neither here nor there at this point. I agree that she should seek some sort of counseling. Maybe she should document the things that the company has done since the incident. If they do succeed in terminating her, she may have hope with unemployment given she never had any issues until after it happened. Although it isn't an easy thing to prove, it is clear that she is being discriminated against in one way or another. Maybe she should being searching for other employment. If this happened in the same office that she is working in daily, that has to be tramatic enough in itself. Maybe it would be in her personal best interest to get out of there so that she can put it to rest and move on. I can't imagine her ever getting over it completely when she returns to the scene of the crime day after day. Not to mention the way that people are treating her. She is better off moving on. This is a crappy situation that is only going to get worse over time I'm afraid. It's too bad because it is not her fault, and she needs to know that.


        • #5
          I have to agree somewhat to what others have stated that it doesn't seem likely that the rape is the reason behind her current treatment. I just can't comprehend any reason why a company would take that type of stance against a rape victim. Perhaps it is possible that her performance has been slipping since the rape? Or there may be some underlying performance issues that you haven't been made fully aware of. I do feel terribly about the rape and if possible, she really should follow through with pressing charges and definitely should seek counseling for herself.


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