9to5 | I missed my opportunity to fight back, but you don’t have to!
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I missed my opportunity to fight back, but you don’t have to!

I missed my opportunity to fight back, but you don’t have to!

Most people don’t know who the EEOC is or what they do. I didn’t, and it destroyed my life. My hope is that if you are being sexually harassed in the workplace, you’ll read this and take action.

I worked in a call center for a major national bank.  Shortly after I was hired, a male supervisor started making sexual comments to me. He often asked me to touch his genitals, along with other sexual comments, all in front of co-workers.  Day after day it brought me to tears.

Throughout the next three years I reached out for help from three supervisors, two Assistant Vice Presidents, one Vice President and one Sr. Vice President, and HR on 5 different occasions. I was only met with retaliation. In September 2015 I hired a lawyer, who waited weeks after I’d paid him to inquire about whether or not I’d filed a complaint with the EEOC.  After the bank was notified that I hired a lawyer my counsel warned that I would lose my job. They were right – two months later, I was fired.

In the spring of 2016, the bank admitted fault, but only offered me a meager one month of pay as compensation. I declined, stating again that I wanted to go to court. Until this time, my attorney had led me to believe that this was a possibility.

It was then that I was finally told about my fatal mistake.  In order to file suit against my employer, I first needed to go to the EEOC within 180 days of the incident. I had no case and the bank had known it all along.  The EEOC told me that if I had gone to them in the legal timeframe, the bank would have settled the case for ‘a million dollars’. Instead, the best I can get is their offer of one month’s pay.

Two and a half years later and still unable to find employment, I decided to do some research, and I found out that the bank marked my file as TERMINATED, just like the attorney said they would.  I lost my home, my pension, my 401K, my truck and my insurance, all because I wouldn’t put up with the sexual harassment, and because I didn’t reach out to the EEOC in time.

To date, the bank admits fault for not protecting me and for the horrible ways that HR and all of the upper-level management dropped the ball. Why does one of the biggest banks in the world with a net worth of over 25 trillion dollars think it is ok to allow this to go on in the workplace and to destroy the life of an employee, just because I tried to stop it?

If you are being sexually harassed or discriminated against, please go to the EEOC immediately.  Take good notes with timelines and get copies of all emails important to your case. Don’t wait.

-Charisse

For further questions about fighting back against workplace harassment, call the Job Survival Helpline at 1-800-522-0925!