Where I used to work, a place that shall remain nameless, there was
an interesting and significant case of sexual harassment. One of our
departments employed a fellow from a different country slightly
different standards there. Aside and apart from that, he had psychological
problems, paranoia combined with delusions of importance and a conviction
of his own intellectual superiority. He was under the impression that
women were interested in him When they were not in the least interested.
He couldn't believe that they were not completely taken in by his charms
and, if they were not, it was because they were deluded..
He was a tall fellow with a fair bit of weight on him but he was not
unfit. He played racquetball and what have you. He could bounce around
with agility, I was told, so he was a bit of a threat. This man would
lie in wait for student interns. These were young people who would come
in on contract, as trainees there for work experience.
Often these student interns would work late because there were special
tasks they had to do. This villain would wait until just about everyone
had left the office and then he would 'visit' these girls and hang about.
He was a large man. It was threatening. The girls complained to management
but management, in the style of management everywhere, thought the way
to solve a problem was to sweep it under the carpet. They didn't move
this guy to another area or anything. He still hung about and the girls
had no defense.
Fortunately, very fortunately, he became entranced with a girl intern
who worked down near the Executive Director's office. She was in her
office cubicle working during regular hours. and the Executive Director's
secretary was working nearby. Apparently, the intern had complained
to management that he had been harassing her. The response was to move
her work area to a safer area. Our villain discovered she had complained
about him and he meant to give her a piece of his mind.
The big guy entered her office and leaned over her desk. This frightened
her a lot and she screamed. That was the scream that pretty much ended
it all. That was the end, not of legal shenanigans, but of his being
on the ground there in the office and his being able to get away with
harassment. Now, he had gone one step too far and he was banned from
the office premises.
He came back once after he was booted out. He went all around the office
and harangued people and made a general fuss and threat of himself.
I was concerned for Annalee, who worked in his area of the office. He
had it in for her. She was an older lady. I was younger then, and pretty
I had sensed trouble brewing. I had brought into the office, concealed,
a pair of suitably modified plastic nunchucks, a martial arts weapon
made famous by martial artist Bruce Lee. I was going after him when
he invaded the office for his last shout. Now, I knew he was in Annalee's
One of the officers in my section ran interference on me. He should
have been a football player. He was good at it. He was going from one
side of the aisle to the other as I was trying to march towards the
source of the trouble, all the time saying "I wouldn't do that
if I were you, Sonia!" The trouble died down. Annalee was unharmed
and I didn't get to try out my amateur martial arts skills or lack of
Management, in the style of management everywhere, overreacted after
the fact and posted security guards at all the entrances. They would
not let him in again. Problem was that they hadn't given him a fair
trial, as it were. He brought a case through the Union and it dragged
on and on and on, for years. He accused any and everybody of being against
him and tried to pull them into this case because he was so important.
I probably should mention that, although he was deluded, he was not
In his eyes he was right and he knew it. He was totally justified and
they were all prejudiced against him. This went on, unbelievably for
years before it was finally settled, in our highest court of appeal.
He had no case whatsoever but the Department had been wrong to terminate
his services so abruptly and without fair trial. His employment was
not terminated but he was put in with a group, engineers or something,
that were ALL guys. Even the secretary, although gay, was a guy. They
must have figured that would pretty well stop the problem right there.
As far as I know he is still working for the Department in that masculine
enclave. Some things confound the mind.This thing got so out of hand.
Part of it were his delusions of his own importance and grandeur and
his attractiveness to the female sex and so forth. The rest of it was
management just ignoring it, just ignoring it until it was too late,
then they overreacted. Thus, when one girl's complaint was finally acknowledged
and he was told not to bother her, it started a chain reaction.
I've got a feeling that this is not the first time this sort of thing
has happened in an office. I think this sort of thing can happen anywhere.
© Sonia Brock 2007