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Is this situation considered a hostile work environment? Can the assistant director be charged with sexual harassment?

Dulles, VA |

I've been working for this company for almost two years now and in May we got a new assistant director. This man made sexual comments to me (said I needed to "get laid" and that he was going to buy me a sex toy for Christmas) in front of two other employees and I reported his misconduct to the director. Nothing was done about it. This bothers me because another (non management) employee was fired for making a hand gesture (he used the middle finger at a female employee). Isn't what the assistant director did worse?

The situation got a little stickier and lots more annoying as time went on, with this man being seemingly retaliatory against me ever since reporting him to the director. He has been calling me names (called me stuck up and said that I must think I'm better than everyone else because I passed a certification course that no one else in the department passed.. the director put my certificate on the wall in a frame and people defaced it), has tried to write me up for frivolous things (such as my hair being down when I come in for work, but there being another female employee with her hair down - and her's is much longer than mine, but she doesn't get in trouble for leaving it down), has openly admitted to disliking me (even to my face), calls me a liar, does not listen to my concerns and when I go to the director (following the Chain of Command as per company regulation) with said concerns, he (the assistant director) throws a fit and accuses me of going over his head.

I've had other employees taking my personal belongings, defacing my things, breaking them.. tripping me in the hall, slandering me and even as far as assaulting me on the job. I'm being bullied and harassed constantly. I have gone to my direct supervisor, the assistant director and the director per company policy and nothing has been done to rectify the problems. I am at a loss as to what to do in this situation. Please help me.

Attorney Answers 1


Aside from the sexual comments and sex toy prior to your complaint, it sounds like the sexual conduct stopped after you made your complaint. If your expectation of something "being done" about it is that your employer must take disciplinary action, such as termination, you are expecting more than the law requires. The employer need only take action that stops the sexual harassment.

Your problem seems to be retaliation for making the complaint. Does your employer have someone in charge of human resources or personnel? Most discrimination and harassment policies have complaint procedures that encourage employees to bring their complaints to HR, because HR is in a position to do something about it. Make your complaint to HR, and be prepared to provide specific details of the dates and times of the retailiation, witnesses to the retaliation, and how he has encouraged your co-workers to turn on you. Hopefully, you have a work record that comes close to having a history of walking on water. If your history is blemished with personality conflicts and incidents of insubordination, be prepared for HR to come back with an explanation that says you are the problem.

Your next step at that point would be to file a charge of discrimination and retaliation with the EEOC.

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