I was sexually harassed and quit my job. Can I recieve unemployment?
by J K.
I started working for a 3rd party marketing firm. I was the only female in an office of 7 people. My job requires traveling for about a week at a time often. I have no problem with the travel. On Monday my boss told me that he would need me to travel to Birmingham for a week with another guy that I work with. I told him that I had to try to make it work because I was moving that Wednesday. Later in the evening I called my team leader and told him that I would do it but just wanted to clarify that me and this other man would have separate hotel rooms. He told me no. I told him that I was not comfortable sharing a room with a man and that I would have to get back to him about it. About 45 minutes later he called me back and started harassing me. I put him on speakerphone so that my boyfriend and my roommate could hear all the things that he was saying to me. He kept saying that he did not understand why I would have an issue with it. I told him that it was not appropriate for me to share a room with a male co-worker. He said that it was strictly business. I told him it was a privacy issue. I would have to change, shower, and sleep in the same room as a male and that was not a comfortable situation for me. I said that if it was a female i would have no problem with it but i wasnt going to share a room with a male. He continued harassing me about the subject and I continued objecting. He then said, “What if the female was a lesbian? She could rape you too.” He also said “It’s not like he is going to be cuddling up on your a$$ or anything like that.” I told he needed to watch himself and he then repeated the sentence. I told him that i just didn’t think that the situation was appropriate. He said’ “I just don’t understand you women. It’s like every time you get mad your vagina’s start to bleed.” I told him that I didn’t have to explain to him why this was an inappropriate situation. He eventually told me that I wasn’t going on the trip.
The next day, I talked to my boss about this conversation and he asked me what action that he should take. I told him that I didn’t know. It wasn’t my job to make that kind of decision. He said that he would straighten it out. And that is where I left it. That night I recieved a call from the guy I had the call with and I didnt answer it, and he also called me the next day and I didn’t answer it. I called my boss and told him that he was calling me. He said that he probably wants to apologize. I asked him what course of action he took and he said that he talked to him and told him that the conversation was inappropriate. So basically no action was taken. I didn’t feel comfortable working with either of them. I had a feeling that my boss wouldn’t do anything anyways because they are roommates and also he is my bosses best sales rep.
I quit my job because I don’t feel comfortable working with either of them. At this point, I don’t know what else I can do. Can I get unemployment for this, should I file a law suit, or report it to the labor department? I’ve never been in a situation like this. What should I do?
You should do all the above and file for unemployment. I’m glad that you were wise enough to put it on speakerphone. This means you may have potential witnesses for more than just an unemployment hearing, if for some reason, the state denies benefits, and if nothing else, it may help with the official EEOC complaint (which by the way, I say is always better to file while one still has a job to preserve, before applying for unemployment benefits.).
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