The Most Important Word In Your Work Vocabulary

Just say no. Are we talking about drugs? No, we’re talking about firmly turning down that date at the office or factory. Sure, the biggest thing you two have in common is your employer. But the next biggest thing you two will have in common is: everyone’s in your business.

And when the romance is over, you’re stuck with leftover regrets. That’s why it’s best to turn down that boss or coworker. Explain to him: it’s not personal. Really, it is personal. But don’t tell him that, because you must protect yourself from him, from other coworkers and from Human Resources.

Yes, you even need to watch out for Human Resources. Even if you don’t immediately report sexual harassment, your boss may turn the tables on you and report you as the harasser. But how can that be? If you’ve dated the coworker or boss, HR will fault you for the messy breakup. You know: the I-don’t-want-to-date-you-anymore breakup. Now you’ve bruised your boss’s ego.

He intends to destroy your reputation. And your coworkers will help the boss because your coworkers will be left with only two choices: lose their jobs or destroy your credibility. It’s that simple.

A woman called Sidney contacted me recently. She stated that she went on two dates with the boss then dropped him. Although he didn’t fire Sidney immediately, he dogged her at work by casting aspersions on her and docking her pay.

He even excluded her from office meetings in which she was the sexual subject. This is disturbing because Sidney never slept with the boss. After kissing him, she decided his kisses were too sloppy and unromantic. So she pulled back.

Although Sidney admits she was a fool for blurring the lines between work and romance, she failed to understand that her boss made a pre-emptive strike by slut shaming her, even though she’d never slept with him. She realized too late that the boss executed a power play to prevent her from disparaging him. But Sidney never engaged in kiss and tell. In fact, she hadn’t mentioned her boss to her best friend because deep-down she knew her best friend wouldn’t have approved of dating in the office.

Now Sidney works at a new employer. After a few coworkers asked her out, she calmly but firmly said no. It didn’t matter that she may have met her match. It only mattered that she didn’t blur the lines of work and personal. What would you do?

 

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The Bully In Your Cubicle

Has a workplace bully invaded your personal space? Imagine a bully entering your cubicle and threatening to gouge out your eyes and skull fuck you. More than bullying, this threat screams of sexual harassment with undertones of criminality. At least, that’s my opinion.

Notifying a supervisor and upper level management prompted scorn and ridicule of me. After all, this was the same guy who chimed in with other coworkers to call me a prostitute. Horrified, I contacted human resources. They conducted one of many “all hands” meetings. In these meetings, EEO officers cautioned the entire office about sexual harassment instead of punishing the offender.

I felt such shame and embarrassment. Most importantly, I felt helpless because I was not yet schooled on the issues of hostile work environment and sexual harassment. Looking back on that terribly upsetting day, I realize what I should have done.

I should have named it sexual harassment and bullying by calling out the man I refused to sleep with. But I was paralyzed by the thought of the coworker actually harming me. And I was dumbfounded by management’s inaction on the matter. Sure, EEO officers traveled from Columbus, Ohio to Mason, Ohio in order to make a speech. But that speech only turned more coworkers against me.

Right then, I should have taken off work. But I needed all of my vacation and sick days for emergencies. The problem was: I failed to recognize sexual harassment as an emergency. So I remained at the office even though I hated being there.

Looking back, I should have taken my psychologist’s advice: take care of your health by removing yourself from the entire situation. You can always get another job. But you can’t get another you. For years I mourned my life. Eventually I snapped out of it to fight for myself, to stand up for myself.

It took me nearly two decades to learn I’m in the fight of my life. My opponent? Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation–in other words–the state of Ohio, my former employer. 

People wondered why I stayed in such a hostile environment. It’s simple: I knew no better. From the moment I turned down the agency director, BWC targeted me. I complained of sexual harassment. The complaint forced BWC to defend itself by labeling me as a prostitute.

BWC harassed me inside and outside the office. The agency harassed me on my subsequent part-time job at Mercy HealthPlex. When BWC couldn’t brand me as a prostitute because they couldn’t find one person I’d taken money from, BWC labeled me as just crazy.

And they spent years driving me crazy. To this day, I await the termination of the fact-finding investigation at the Ohio Civil Rights Commission and the EEOC. I’m told that the investigation continues until one of us—I or the state of Ohio—wins.

 

This Is What I’m Gonna Do To You,” My Coworker Threatened After Hanging A Brown Teddy Bear From His Pod: A Shocking Example Of A Hostile Work Environment

5/18/2016

In 20 Seconds I shifted from anger to terror because I realized that my coworker at the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) was responding to my rejection of his unwanted sexual advances. My supervisor chuckled and said my coworker was “just being ornery.” Ornery? Really? The man had just threatened me with bodily injury, and the supervisor only considered him ornery.

I reported him to BWC’s EEO office. Finally, my supervisor and the agency director told him to take down that teddy bear. But the damage was already done because he next publicly stated that he wanted to “go toe-to-toe” with me. My supervisor and the agency director deemed him crazy and told me to ignore him.

After many more incidents I filed workplace violation charges with the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). The investigation took so long that I thought the agency had forgotten about me. Eventually the agency sent me a right-to-sue letter, effectively dismissing my charge. Or so I believed. Suffering from depression, I sought medical advice for the condition. Both my psychiatrist and my psychologist advised me not to return my place of employment.

With a school-age daughter to raise, a mortgage and a car note, I could not afford to take time off work. So I endured more sexual harassment, intimidation, hostile work environment and retaliation. I found myself ostracized and labeled crazy because I kept reporting sexual harassment to my employer’s EEO office.

Worse, the EEOC never actually ended the investigation. But they obviously sided with BWC, an agency within the state of Ohio. Suddenly my child support checks stop coming. When I filed an inquiry, I learned that my child’s father was current, but the state of Ohio withheld the support for six months. Talk about continuous retaliation! But I was ignorant of this term and how it could be used to make one’s life a living hell.

Eventually I took a medical leave of absence for major depression. I finally followed the advice of my shrink and my therapist. But BWC was not pleased. They demanded that I return to work, and when I cited my medical condition and no physician’s release, BWC wrongfully terminated me. I hired my coworker’s husband as my attorney—huge mistake. He allegedly failed to file suit prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations.

I nearly suffered a heart-attack; I was so distraught. But what I realize today but failed to realize then was the last incident occurred after I was wrongfully terminated. With my most conservative calculations, I now realize the state owes me at least $700K in back wages. Later I will explain what occurred next. Until the next time . . .

5 Books on Hostile Work Environments

April 16, 2016

As you already know, I endured a hostile work environment. Now I’m writing about it. But the following books may give you insight into what you are enduring. Here are the following:

  1. Ten Commandments of Working in a Hostile Environment by T.D. Jakes
  2. What Your Boss Really Wants From You: 15 Insights To Improve Your Relationship by Steve Arneson.
  3. Women And Sexual Harassment: A Practical Guide to the Legal Protections of Title VII and the Hostile Environment Claim by Robert C. Berring and Anja A. Chan
  4. Sexual Harassment Kit by Bikash Kalita
  5. The Manager’s Guide to Preventing a Hostile Work Environment: How to Avoid Legal Threats by Protecting Your Workplace from Harassment Based on Sex, Race Age by Wanda Dobrich, PhD., Steven Dranoff, PhD., Gerald L. Maatman Jr., Esq. (I mention this book because you will notice immediately what your boss is not doing)

Wipe your tears. Diffuse your anger, and get informed! Always leave a paper trail. In my case, I left a trail of emails. Now, the employer may claim that you are harassing them with emails if you consistently report harassment that way. Tough! It may be the only way to prove you’ve notified the company, the chain of command.

Because you have complained in person–or even given your supervisor a heads up, you’ve planted a target on your back because now the company must cover its ass. The company will look for any reason to discipline you. This is called retaliation. Firing you is not only wrongful termination but continuous retaliation.

In my case, BWC secretly interviewed my neighbors about me. Two of them told me! Ignorant of what to do, I did nothing about it. When I saw someone stealing my trash out of my trashcan, I reported it to police. But nothing materialized from the incident. Watch your trash! Companies hire private investigators to go through it. Even if you use a shredder, private investigators will still fish for information.

For all of this, the EEOC  nor the OCRC never helped me. The agency’s investigators were too busy trying to drive me crazy, and they missed out on obvious opportunities to close this case in my favor. Know this: After filing a workplace violation charge, you can’t trust anyone but yourself. The investigation lingers for as long as your family, friends and neighbors cooperate. You must stop the investigation by blasting what happened while appearing calm, cool, and collected. I know. I’m a survivor.

Follow me. Stick with me. Share my blog posts. Tell people about it. And if you have a similar story, I may let you guest blog. Contact me at: tracey.lampley@gmail.com. Until the next time . . .

Tracey Lampley is the author of Kept and Kept Book Two
Follow me on twitter @BookMistress1

 

 

Do You Work for a Horrible Boss or a Horrible Company?

April 15, 2016

As I stated in previous posts, one supervisor once announced, “Here comes Tracey Lampley in her come-fuck-me-shoes.” Would you call that sexual harassment? I call it a hostile work environment as well as sexual harassment. Worse, that incendiary sentence followed me to my other job at Mercy HealthPlex, a subsidiary doing business as Catholic Health Partners. I mean, could I have worked in worst places who have shown such a hostility?

Shouldn’t a government agency like the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) and a major employer like Catholic Health Partners be safe and professional places to work? In both cases I believed so. However, I ended up in zoo-like atmospheres. In the case at BWC, the agency suspended my supervisor then transferred me to a different supervisor who proceeded to ignore sexual and/or hostile comments toward me, or he made excuses about a coworker by saying, “she’s a saucy red head trying to get a rise out of you.” For instance, this saucy redhead asked me if the reason I took a whole day for a doctor’s appointment was because I’d had a D & C.

WTF?

Reporting that incident to the EEO department at BWC garnered another all-hands meeting where EEO officer explained the meanings of sexual harassment and hostile work environment. And  at one point, all eyes zeroed in on me. Not only did I feel violated, but I wondered if I’d done anything to this employee to make her come after me that way. No, I’d just been transferred to that team and had just met her after my transfer. My point is: Once you complain or file an EEO complaint with your employer, watch out. All hostile guns turn on you. Everybody guns for you. Can you complain about everyone of them? Hell yeah! I did. Remember: Before you file an EEOC or OCRC workplace violation complaint, consult a lawyer, or you’ll be told it’s over but end up in an indefinite fact-finding investigation.

Of course I tried withdrawing my workplace violation complaint from both the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC). So far? I’ve had no luck. Working for horrible bosses and working for bad employers suck! Going to Fair Employment Practices Agencies like EEOC and OCRC for help will change your life–for the worst! I’ll speak more on that later.

Follow me. Stick with me. Share my blog posts. Tell people about it. And if you have a similar story, I may let you guest blog. Contact me at: tracey.lampley@gmail.com. Until the next time . . .
Tracey Lampley is the author of Kept and Kept Book Two
Follow me on twitter @BookMistress1