(Closed) Advice on possible hostile work environment issue – Long

posted 6 years ago in Career
Post # 3
Member
9056 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2010

I agree that it’s a lapse in judgement to be watching porno at work and the company probably wouldnt appreciate him doing that on their dime but I’d be hesitant to report it as well. Im totally expecting to get flamed for this but it’s not like you even noticed without extensive probing (no pun intended) so its up to you to determine if you were personally offended and typically I find that with people who aren’t good workers if you give them enough rope they’ll eventually hang themselves.  It just may never even need to be an issue if he’s doing enough other crap that he draws the attention of management to himself. 

I would probably monitor the situation and maybe start making notes about this kind of thing in a Bound and page numbered notebook but not go running tomanagement immediately

Post # 4
Member
5993 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2010

if this was my office i would tell the person that watching porn at work is unprofessional and with a virtual smack around the head i would say “what were you thinking? you do know you are risking your job with that dont you?”

i wouldnt go to HR yet – hopefully its just a lapse in judgement and right now he is at home pooping bricks because he realizes it was a dumb thing to do

Post # 6
Member
2603 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

Generally, there are laws in place to protect people who report these kinds of things–which might be a reason TO report it. If you reported it and then they cut your hours or something, that would be retaliation. If you didn’t report it, however, and they cut your hours, you don’t have much of a leg to stand on. But the law only really works for clear retaliation–it doesn’t really work for people giving you the cold shoulder. 

It does depend on what kind of company you work for. I worked for a pretty large company and it was pretty bureaucratic, meaning if you wanted to report something, you wrote on a form, turned it in, and unless you claimed something extreme (like you were beaten up by a coworker in the bathroom), you probably never heard about it again. There was no room for gossip and all that–management pretty much dealt with it internally. So it didn’t feel that bad to report on someone because the company was too big to be that personal, if you kwim. 

Reporting a situation like this doesn’t necessarily lead to automatic firing. It depends on company policy. IF company policy states that cell phone usage during company hours is grounds for firing, well then they could fire him. But I’m not sure that’s likely–a lot of times, a company will try to work with an employee before outright firing them. It’s usually cheaper to give them sensitivity training or a reprimand than it is to go through a hiring process. The usual reason why it would change is if the person is going to lead to a lawsuit, and generally that requires a somewhat sustained pattern of behavior. 

It’s a delicate issue, but one thing that you should remember if you choose to report this, is that YOU did NOT get someone else in trouble. They got themselves in trouble. 

Post # 7
Member
9056 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2010

@rae3rae:  Go to IT immediately and have your password reset and then don’t tell it to him again. If he feels he needs it for work related purposes he should be able to justify it.  I work in a place where we’re entrusted with acces to extremely sensitive databases and sharing passwords is a BIG no no.  

And in the meantime In your special bound notebook I would write that on such and such date x supervisor requested your password for x related duties and on today’s date you feel you observed him possibly using it for non work related purpose. 

Post # 8
Member
5118 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

@SapphireSun: I agree. 

@rae3rae: I’d switch your password ASAP, mark down all of these events and future ones, and not share your password from now on. I personally likely would’nt report for the smart phone issue, because you didn’t really know what you saw until he told you and while it was on company time, it wasn’t on their internet. The computer thing is something that you didn’t necessarily see yourself but your co-worker did, so that’d be more for her to report (IMO). Still, if you did report, I’d report them together, and make note that you’d let this supervisor have access to your PW for ‘x purpose on x date’ and you are not sure if that’s how the internet was accessed by him. I’d rather own that upfront than have him try to come back at you later. 

Post # 9
Member
1405 posts
Bumble bee

Yes there are laws to protect you if you tell but the smart ones know how to get around it.  If you report him, make sure you are okay with being scruntinized at everyything you do and be 100% positive you will never make a mistake at work.  I have worked my entire career in a male dominated industry (there are 189 people in my department with only 7 women).    I really do not think this is anything to report.  He didn’t show you.  You somewhat forced the issue.

Post # 11
Member
1405 posts
Bumble bee

If you knew something was up, why didn’t you just walk away?

Post # 12
Member
1130 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

I used to work at a civil rights employment law firm, but I am not a lawyer so take this as just general advice and not legal advice. Say something, especially if this is not the first time. If it is, I may hold off until he does something else inappropriate. I’m all about second chances. But, I’ve seen this so many times and people are always afraid to say something because of retaliation. That’s illegal.

His behavior is unacceptable. Tell HR quietly. If he does it again, say something again. Keep a log of every time he has inappropriate behavior and what you have done to report it. Hopefully this is the last you see/hear of it so you won’t need to do any of that.

Post # 13
Member
3583 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

@Sunflower–girl:  Um, no.  There is zero room for anything related to sexuality at work.  Simply walking away would mean that she was condoning the behavior and allowing someone else to walk in on the situation at a later time,

Because another coworker is aware of the situation, this is bigger than you.  I’m sorry, but it is a total sexual harassment case just waiting to happen.  Honestly, I would seek legal advice from someone you trust (maybe a Bee??).  I don’t think you should just walk away.  I think it’s really irresponsible.  Who knows how long this guy has been pulling this and who else has just let it slide.

To give you some personal experience pearls of wisdom, I had to blow the horn on a supervisor who gave her staff member an incredibly strong muscle relaxer.  It was a lapse in judgement that ended with the poor girl (she was 19) not able to walk.  I, too, am a supervisor so I took her actions very seriously.  I had a confidential conversation with HR, who in turn had very serious discussions with her.  She never did it again.  I think he needs a big ‘ol slap of reality.  Just because someone wants you to watch porn does not mean it should happen at work.  EVER.  Like, serious case of DUH right there.

Good luck, hun!

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