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Harassment and Discrimination in the Workplace

BY: Stephanie Kjaerbaek | Category: Management | Submitted: 2012-05-28 21:58:33
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Article Summary: "This article pertains to harassment and discrimination in the workplace and outlines my own experience with one of two situations..."


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For the past twenty years, I have worked in various industries on a part-time or full-time basis, and am considered a valuable employee, so it was to my shock that my part-time employment at a bakery would lead to a sexual harassment and criminal harassment situation. The owners, insisted that their supervisor, Miriam, hire me as a dishwasher and busser on weekends in January of 2011. I digressed, as I was extremely busy with upcoming classes and two other jobs, but she insisted on their behalf that I work there, and after many calls, I agreed.

I worked there for approximately two months, until April 13, 2011, when I quit owing to forced schedule changes imposed by the owner after I made seven complaints about sexual harassment at the hands of a male employee, and verbal abuse, gossip and crude commentary by other staff. The manager failed to investigate my complaints, refused to discipline the employere, and never created a harassment-free workplace, and has yet to produce guidelines on the matter. The employee launched a campaign of verbal abuse against me, and also leered and stared around me excessively over the two months I worked there.

The manager then turned around and changed my schedule so that I would only work Thursdays, and this conflicted with the schedule of my other employers, and was punishing me for the actions of this man. I then quit, and the manager failed to issue a record of employment, and admits to destroying files in later documentation. I requested my ROE from the government ministry, but none is on record.

The manager claimed that I worked two weeks for him, when in fact, I worked two months, and quit, though he claims that I was fired. Subsequent meetings with a lawyer, discussions online with lawyers, and also with the Elizabeth Frye Society staff all indicated that the bakery owners are required to provide a harassment-free workplace for all employees, but the perpetrator is still an employee there. I had to email the perpetrator at the bakery after he obtained my number and email, and started calling me, showing up at places, at my other workplace, sending text messages, calls, etc.

I pointed out that I could him with criminal harassment unless he stopped, and the only way this stopped was because my other workplace closed for renovations over 2 months, and I returned to an old employer, as well I moved, and changed my cell phone. The perpetrator has yet to face any disciplinary action for his behavior, and is a liability to any thoughtful employer who values the integrity of his workplace. The manager has admitted to having 200 or more employees in seven years of business, and perhaps his failure to create a hostility-free workplace and his approach to problem-solving has something to do with it.

I feel that such businesses should be reported and investigated, and that employers in these situations should have to pay compensation for these types of behaviors, as they hire these people and are responsible for their behavior. It is wrong to keep on staff who engage in criminal and sexual harassment, as defined by employment law, the human rights code, and criminal law. The manager attacked my character and integrity in his documentation, to the point that it suggested defamation and libel on his part. I do not think that such businesses should be rewarded with our money, support, and time. If there are other people who have been victimized by this business or others, they too should speak out.

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