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I was sexually harassed and quit my job. Can I recieve unemployment?

by J K.
(Georgia)

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?




Hi,

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.).

Chris




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May 20, 2018
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For Anonymous Comment "Sexual harassment"
by: Chris - Unemployment-Tips.com

The point I'm always going to try to make about the ability to get unemployment insurance benefits, even if the circumstances are horrible for you and which I think equate to "intolerable working conditions" because they are caused by a boss you are subordinate to, is that doing nothing is often a fatal UI mistake, before quitting, or being fired in retaliation for refusing the incessant unwanted sexual advances of a boss.

In other shorter words, Unemployment Benefits become more possible, when you do something constructive and reasonable to stop intolerable behavior .. and document those efforts to preserve a job by making it tolerable for you, based on the terms and conditions of your employment.

I understand it may feel uncomfortable for you to do anything, but keep saying no, but you have to go above his head anonymous, if you are to have any chance of stopping this illegal workplace abuse of you, and laws meant to protect employees. We all know emphatically, these types of bosses drunk with their power over others, exist.

My suggestion, don't feel like the victim here, but act righteously right to be pissed off enough and go to HR, and don't forget to document that effort, or to be precise and concise about the problem you NEED to address with HR (emails work wonders for creating documentation). The date and time an email is sent, literally draws a line in the sands, in case he does retaliate and fire you going forward, or if HR, after becoming fully informed of the intolerable behavior you're dealing with, does nothing, but pay you lip service.

Or you can simply cut through interoffice politicking, as I would probably be prone to, and immediately file a complaint with the EEOC, or your state's equivalent agency. (It can be done online, and the agency would then need to notify the employer of the complaint, which tends to make HR, if not bad bosses, sit up and take notice vs. those who give in to the human tendency to do the job they were hired to do as the employer sees fit and strategize a solution based on human manipulation of a workplace victim who is often more emotional than interested in objectively being able to prove facts later.

Reporting can be an amazing, or disgusting process, but sometimes empowering by virtue of making a simple and reasonable choice to do the right thing to not allow ourselves to feel victimized needlessly and endlessly.

I'm not trying to tell you the resolution to a problem process, such as of making efforts to preserve a job first before quitting, or to protect oneself from being found guilty of work misconduct, when the employer, or a boss acting as an agent of a employer/company is the real guilty party, is easy, but that in doing so, you are also taking yourself closer to a better standard of law, to get UI benefits, because when you document efforts, or counter document to explain to an employer how, or why their efforts are not solving a problem you raised, that legally for the employer/company needs to be resolved, that's the type of hard evidence that weights testimony at UI hearings .. as being the more credible .. as well as other administrative hearings .. such as one conducted by the EEOC.

I wish you well Anonymous. I know it can be tough to hear what I always try to say, especially for a single mom who puts up with this sort of crap because of the kids. But as women, I think we need to remember it's also important to set a good example for the kids when they see us not allow or accept this type of demeaning treatment by anyone, let alone a boss who is making a choice to abuse his authority over you, and probably violating the employer's rules and policies to do so .. maybe even when he reduced your pay as a punitive measure for you refusing his type of love .. he thinks is his right in the workplace.

Maybe in the current culture of #MeToo whoever is above his head .. will fire his ass .. lickety-split, without even a thought about the burden of proving him guilty of misconduct to keep him from collecting unemployment benefits.

Chris

May 20, 2018
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Sexual harassment
by: Anonymous

I’ve worked for this company since 2008 he made the mgr 5 Year’s ago the last 2 Year’s he started asking me personal questions telling me if I need anything just ask him grabbing my hand pulling me into him trying to kiss my neck he’s also told me he loves me making me feel so uncomfortable I told him I don’t want his help I pull away from him he gets upset and then he gets mad at me ignoring me acting like he’s going to fire me I’m scared I don’t have no family I’m a single mother I need my job so I’ve asked him please I don’t want to be the mgr can I just go back to being a cashier h say no ill take your pay away he put me on salary 500.00 weekly I can’t handle the stress of him coming on to me I’m so uncomfortable I haven’t had 2 days off in a row in 5 Year’s all I want is two days off so without him talking to me he took my salary away and gave me less pay just because I won’t give into his sexual advances it’s not right please help me

Nov 15, 2010
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You are going to be well off
by: Anonymous

On top of ALL the other claims you have, you do realize that you were discriminated against right. The EEOC-Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in your state will have the info to open a claim with them. They have 72 hrs to pay you, whether you quit or were fired makes no difference including any vacation and any overtime owed you. If they don't pay within this time period they are hit with a fine DAILY until they pay you, and you get that money. This is with the LABOR Board. My employer payed my final check but with no overtime, that $600 check if they would have paid on time turned into over $6,000 that I received, penalties and interest. Because they did not pay my FULL ending pay including overtime within 72 hrs. Also have you called an attorney many will take this case on a contingent basis meaning you don't pay unless they win your case. Going to file a case with the EEOC-costs nothing but sometimes it is not the same amount as it would be with an attorney representing you. You should of course file Unemployment and will no doubt get your benefits, if all that you say is true here. You are going to be well off after this and get some well deserved time off after this terrible event.

Nov 15, 2010
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response to comments made
by: Jessi

I can always request the phone records from my cell phone company. Also the night this all happened I had my boyfriend and room mate write up their accounts of the conversation separately. That way no one would be influenced by the other persons memory. I also did the same thing. I don't like lawsuits but I dont condone their behavior either. Especially since this isn't the first time that the man I had the phone call with has been in trouble for sexual harassment. Thank you for your wishes of luck Peggy. I will definatly keep you updated on the outcome.



Hi Jessi,

In truth, I don't think many people want to get involved in a if they can avoid it .. they just want to move on and put "bad stuff" behind them .. although I also think that when those who get away with sexual harassment the lack of repercussions simply serve as "positive re-enforcement to continue acting badly and move on to their next victim.

But I'm waxing philosophical now.

The fact is if a woman or a man is being sexually harassed by a manager or co-worker .. the more they act and prepare as if the actuality of a lawsuit is certain .. the easier it becomes to prove good cause for quitting .. just to get unemployment benefits.

I think you done well thus far and when it comes to preparing for the possibility that this may wind up at an unemployment hearing .. I don't think believe corners should be cut when it comes to your ability to PROVE there was good cause and that you tried to get the employer to address your concerns with "reasonable efforts to resolve the problem".

I for one have zero tolerance for bullies .. no mater what the bullying concerns .. even though I also think they might someday overcome their stupidity with some professional mental health help.

Yes, please keep us updated .. I know that more people than just Peggy and I are interested to hear how this turns out and we all learn when someone shares their personal experience.

Chris

Nov 04, 2010
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How horrible!!!
by: Peggy Marie Johnson

Jessi,

Your story hits home in a different way for me since I left due to others being sexually harrassed and for how my ex boss treated me abusively.

I read your story & became so angered for you! How dare they even think that was an appropriate business move. Obvioulsy the boss and that abuser are friends and this was a set up. You GO GET THEM! Don't give up but let this make you stronger to get what they have coming to them. I think you should definetly report this to the labor board and also notify employment office in your appeal.

These so called men need to be investigated and punished! At least you have proof that others heard a conversation but like Chris says the more documentation that you have recorded, the better this will be in your favor. I can't believe it still that they would stoop so low to try and pull that off!!!! How dare they treat you like this and actually think it would be ok. Nice try.

I just had to comment on this and tell you go get them with all your guns aimed and ready to fire and you should win your case. I'm sure they will deny this but if you have the proof and documented incidents/details you should prevail!

Chris gives the best excellent advise and I trust her with all my heart. She helped me and I know she will help you too with the best advise!!!

Please keep us updated on what happens in the end on this case! I will pray for you and that things will be in your favor! UGGGHH....what idiots that are out there and how they get the positions they do I will never know!

Best wishes & prayers to you!
Peggy

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