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What Every Target of Workplace Bullying Needs to Know

Director of Training and Staff Development

by Emma
(Galveston, TX)

I've been currently working for this nonprofit for 4 years now.

The past year has been hell for me. One night after working hours I received a call from one of our V.P.'s telling me that I needed to meet with attorney at 9:00 a.m. the next morning for an investigation into a sexual harassment charge. I was flabbergasted. My first thought was Oh My God, what have I done? I teach restraint techniques and I thought maybe someone felt that they were touched wrong or something. Well, it wasn't that I did anything to anyone. She proceeded to tell me that it was due to an allegation that I made about our new HR man. Again, I said OMG, what the heck are you talking about?

She would not answer and just told me she didn't have any details.

Come to find out, at least a dozen other staff at all levels of management had been discussing this and me for well over a month prior to my phone call from the VP.

Additionally, I later found out that the HR guy went to every employee he could to say "I want to be the first to tell you that (my name) has filed a sexual harassment allegation against me." A second VP immediately went to the HR person and told him "stay away from her, don't go anywhere with her alone, never shut the door to your office, and never have any contact with her." We'll he's my boss so thats darn near impossible.

Anyway, 6 months passed since my meeting with the attorney and not one person from this organization has ever spoken with me directly about this. They have avoided me like I was enemy #1. My emotional stress was amplified by the reaction I received from staff that I had worked with for 4 years. I didn't understand why I wasn't given the benefit of the doubt. Why no one came to me including the HR guy and asked me about this.

I was SHOCKED that not one of our senior management knew that saying that someone is "flirty" 10 months ago is NOT sexual harassment.

Additionally, I asked on 5 different occasions to speak with the CEO who I also answer to and he never could manage a meeting. One day in the kitchen he passed by and said, "oh yeah, you wanted to talk about the sexual harassment deal? there's nothing to it, should have never happened."

Where did all this start? A year or so ago when the HR guy first started another coworker came to me and said, isn't he great, I think he's wonderful. My response was, he seems very outgoing and friendly but he is flirty, he will have to watch that in his new position.

No allegations or sexual harassment formally or informally were ever filed by me not did I ever see a reason to. Nothing ever happened that could even be misconstrued as sexual harassment during the time that I trained him for his job.

Still to this day, I am plagued by the emotional stress of this. People treat me different, I was removed from sr. management for no reason and demoted and I have to come to work everyday and be a cheerleader for an organization that I feel mistreated me. Leaving this job is not an option for me. I did nothing wrong, I will not quit. They have tried to get me to quit by making the HR director my boss who used to answer to me. But I made up my mind to put a smile on my face, take what they give me and do my job until another comes along.

Legal recourse? I don't think I have any. I didn't take medication to deal with the emotional abuse or personal attacks against my character, integrity and reputation so how do I prove the torment that I went through?

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