Go Ask Aunt Becky is a purely useless advice column I’ve been running for years (although I’ve been on a recent hiatus). You ask me a question – I try to find you a better answer than “pants are bullshit.” You may always submit your questions through the link at the top. Be warned, I am not a professional – I don’t even play one on TV. (insert more disclaimers)

Driver does not carry cash.

—————-

Dear Aunt Becky,

I so need your help and advice.

I was being sexually harassed at work.. This man stopped once other people were aware of the situation.

But my company? Made me work with him him. I walked into work yesterday, saw him, had a massive panic attack. 911 was called, and I ended up in the ER.

I LOVE my boss but the company is not looking for me. I’m so worried about losing my job. I am so lost.

At this point, I actuality want to kill myself.

Help, Aunt Becky!

———

Dear Prankster,

This is bullshit! I wanna punch this fucker in the gonads (assuming, of course, that he has any, which I’m beginning to doubt.

Please, don’t ever consider suicide as an option – what suicide leaves behind…well, let’s not go there.

If you are truly feeling suicidal, please call, 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to talk to a counselor at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Also, please visit Band Back Together’s Suicide Resources - we have a lot of help over there.

That said, I know people. People who know people. And I spoke to my anonymous friend (not to be confused with Anonymous) about your situation. This is what my anonymous friend suggested:

It sounds as though you’ve reported it to the company and so the harassment has stopped. According to most states, that’s all that is required by law. As long as the behavior does not continue, the company may not be required to move one of you to another position. However, if it is considered to be a hostile work environment (and it certainly sounds like it is) then the company is required to take action. 
 
Go straight back to HR and file another report. It is federal law that retaliation harassment or termination is illegal. They cannot legally fire you for reporting a hostile work environment even though the initial harassment has ceased. 
 
At this point it will be viewed as your comfort based on his past actions. By law he cannot continue to be punished by the company for past actions that have been dealt with and have ceased. It may mean they will move YOU to another position because he has ceased what is deemed inappropriate actions. Depending on where you work, this could mean a job description change if they can’t simply relocate your desk. But if it means keeping a job and gaining a level of comfort back, a job description change is a small compromise.
 
If I misunderstood and you haven’t filed a formal complaint with HR, do so now. There is typically no set timeframe for reporting harassment in the workplace. Even if the actions have ceased, it still occurred and has residual hostility that you feel when working with him. They will launch a formal investigation and may interview coworkers who are knowledgeable on the situation.
 
Best of luck! And know that the law is on your side. If you have to, get a lawyer who specializes in employment law. You can also ask HR if they use an Employment Assistance Program (EAP) which can help you find a therapist to deal with these emotions, and help you find a lawyer as well. EAPs are free programs to employees. 

Prankster, I sincerely hope this helps. And remember, we are none of us alone.

————-

Other Pranksters, do you have any suggestions for this writer?

Comments = full of the awesome. Like gravy. I can haz an RSS RSS feed .

6 Responses to Go Ask Aunt Becky

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  • Mayor Gia says:

    Yikes! I think reporting (or re reporting) is the best move as well. Ugh, what a sucky situation

  • katrina says:

    wow aunt becky … your anonymous friend is way smart!

  • Michael Rochelle
    Twitter: mikeyllo
    says:

    There are bits of this question that confuse me. However, as the anonymous friend mentioned, if the original issued was addressed and the person isn’t doing the offensive action anymore, I’m not sure what more the company can do.

    The panic attack makes me wonder if the person hadn’t seen the offender since the first incident, or was it the aspect of working in close proximity that sent him or her over the edge. I’m not sure what it means when he/she says “the company is not looking for me.” Does that mean that 911 was called, he/she went to the ER, but the “important” members of the company aren’t aware of what happened???

    In any case, it sounds like this person needs to have a talk with his/her supervisor and see what the options are. I think HR’s hands are going to be tied in this situation unless they can help move the person who was offended to another area of the company or offer some form of service that would help that person deal better with the aftermath of the situation.

  • mary i says:

    I agree with my Aunt. Stand Your Ground!(S is not an option) Go above him.Whatever it takes… Also as my mom used to say: Put on your Big Girl Teflon Panties and Whoa unto those that mess with YOU!!

  • Kate says:

    In my rather strong opinion there is a chasm between being a “person who was offended” and “having a panic attack as a result of being victimized and assaulted in the workplace”. It is minimizing beliefs and statements that have been so persistent and incredibly difficult to overcome. This woman didn’t get the vapors, she was sexually assaulted. Lady friend, go make a formal complaint for a hostile work environment. Protect yourself. Do it for you and for all of the woman and men who will come after you, insisting that they deserve to be heard and protected from predators and creeps.

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