Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Case #2:

I was working at a different company, a little older, not much wiser. At an official company dinner, I found myself seated next to a 60-ish high-ranking administrator — let’s call him X — who became progressively inebriated. When I felt his hand slip onto my thigh under the table, gently squeeze and start to slide upward, I quickly stood up and said I needed a refill from the bar. And I stayed in the bar for the rest of the evening, enduring the ribbing of several co-workers, who guessed why I had left my seat. The man had a reputation as an incorrigible horndog.

At first I had no intention of reporting him. I’d gotten a bit more jaded by then, intent on playing the role of Post-Feminist Free Spirit. (Spoiler alert: it really didn’t suit me.) A spot of drunken groping paled in comparison to the PR rep who insisted on meeting at his home office to discuss the freelance article I was writing. That guy answered the door wearing nothing but a bathrobe, and promptly laid down on the oversized sofa, suggesting that if I wanted access to his client, perhaps I could “massage” his legs — especially the upper inner thigh region.

An influential science blogger named Bora Zivkovic recently resigned from Scientific American after three women came forward with sexual harrassment claims against him. In light of this news, Jennifer Ouellette, one of Zivokovic’s former colleagues, put up a post yesterday about sexual harassment in the workplace, providing some examples from her own experience. It’s a great piece. [Thanks to Meagan for sharing the story with us.]

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