Sexual Harassment in Work Place
Confronting the General Manager
Sexual harassment in work place is a big problem when it involves the General Manager - not a good day for the Operation!
As this story begins it was during a time I was working for an international company in the Human Resources Department.
Although I really enjoyed my job at the time - I saw and applied for the position of Human Resources Director for a large hotel - with a different company.
I went through the interview process with everyone - including of course - the General Manager of the hotel. He was very aggressive in that he dominated the conversation. At one point I had to wonder if I was interviewing him - versus - he was interviewing me. None the less - I let him control the interview in what ever way he desired.
After a few days I did receive a call from him offering me the position - and of course I took the job with the understanding that it would be about four weeks before I would be able to start with them.
I was very excited about the opportunity. This was going to be fun. It would be working in a large full service hotel.
Sexual Harassment in Work Place - The bubble busted…
Then it happened - the bubble busted.
Prior to starting the new position I received a call from a Sales Manager at the hotel I would be going to work for. She told me that she wanted to report something to me. She was claiming sexual harassment.
I reminded her that I was not working or an employee of the hotel yet - and that she should report the claim of sexual harassment to the current Human Resources Director (HRD).
She explained that the current HRD had already left the hotel for a new position. I was compassionate but I rejected her request for me to handle it.
She was claiming sexual harassment against the General Manager of the hotel. My heart just about stopped. I thought - what had I gotten myself into here. This was not good at all.
I again explained that she should report her claim to someone at the company’s regional office - that I was not the proper person to report it to - since I was not an employee or representative of the company yet.
Sexual Harassment in Work Place - Had I made the right decision…
Well now I was wondering if I had made the right decision to leave my current position - which I loved - for this new position that I thought had tremendous promise - until now.
I went to my current supervisor - and I asked him - if circumstances existed that I needed to change my mind and stay in my current job - was he comfortable with that decision. He said of course - but why would I asked the question.
I explained the situation and we talked about a lot of options - one which was that if after getting to the hotel things did not work out - I would always be welcome to return to them.
Though I had not solicited a statement from the Sales Manager - a few days later she provided one via mail to me anyway. I did not respond back to her though.
Sexual Harassment in Work Place - Just grow up…
I did read through her statement. She was claiming that the General Manager and a particular customer told sexual jokes during many of the meetings the three of them had.
It primarily was the Vendor that told the jokes - but the General Manager laughed along with him - never asking him to stop.
She had gone to the General Manager and asked if she could be excluded from any future meetings that the three of them had and explained why. He told her that she should grow up.
She called and told me that she was going to wait for me to report to the hotel.
I encouraged her one more time - that if she felt strongly about this - she should not wait. She told me that she appreciated it - but was going to wait for me.
Sexual Harassment in Work Place - This wasn’t good in so many ways!
I was going to have to report to a brand new job - and right out of the chute I would have to confront the General Manager - my new supervisor. All I could think was - Crap - why me.
Well - the day finally came that I had to report for my first day at the hotel.
I walked into the General Managers office and he greeted me with smiles and hand shakes. After that - within two minutes or so I told him that I have something very serious to speak with him about.
He said great - let’s go get some breakfast at the hotel restaurant.
We went from his office to the restaurant - which was just down the hall about hundred yards or so. We got a table and sat down.
Of course since it was the General Manager - the waitress was right over to take our order - which did not allow for me to address the issue just yet.
After she took the order and went to take care of it - he asked - you look serious - what did you need to speak with me about?
I told him that I had received a call from the Sales Manager and she had forwarded this statement to me. I handed him the statement - and he immediately read it.
Sexual Harassment in Work Place - Who the hell do you think you are…
What happened next was down right nerve racking.
The General Manager sat straight up in his chair - looked at me with an intense look - and said - Who in the Hell do you think you are coming into my hotel and giving me this!
Well - it was do or die time.
Was I going to step up to the plate - or - was I going to collapse like a house of cards.
Claiming sexual harassment was a very sensitive and serious charge - and here I was toe to toe with my new boss. How crazy does it get?
I sat up in my chair also - looked him right back in the eye - and said without wavering - You can either let me help - or you can do this on your own - your choice.
I will walk out of this hotel right now and leave this mess with you if you want - but I will tell you - that because you are the General Manager it places more significance on the charge - if it is true - and I will remind you that juries favor the employee.
He sat there for a moment - which seemed like about an hour - and said he wanted my help.
Sexual Harassment in Work Place - He was suppose to be the guiding light!
I first asked him if it was true. He said that it was.
I figured it was - so I was not that surprised.
I then took the opportunity to explain why this was such a serious issue.
After all - he was the senior person at the property. If anyone was suppose to know not to violate the sexual harassment policy - it should be him.
He was suppose to be the guiding light - the person that someone could ultimately go to if no one else was able to help.
After reviewing all the details - we together agreed that what he did do was certainly not appropriate and why.
The real problem was with his statement to her - to grow up. I went into great detail with him - about how that complicated and increased the problem. He understood.
I suggested the first course of action should be to address this issue straight up with her. He agreed.
Sexual Harassment in Work Place - Just apologize already…
We agreed that he needed to call her into his office and have me as a witness.
That he should address two issues and apologize sincerely for both - first issue was that he allowed the joke telling to happen in the first place - and second issue was that he should have never told her to grow up.
He did do both and she did except his apology - which is what she wanted all along - she told us that during the meeting.
He also told her that he would decline any of the customers future business - and that her respect was more important than his business.
She was very touched by this.
The relationship that I went on to have with the General Manager was a great one. He knew that I was not afraid to address any issue that I felt was placing the hotel at risk - even if it involved him.
I must say that I was very fortunate in this particular situation - and it could have ended very differently.
Don't run from problems like sexual harassment in work place - deal with them right away and in an up front manner.
Thank you for reviewing this article on Sexual Harassment in Work Place and May God Bless You!
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