For the last two years, I had been working for a renowned Fortune 500 company. After working less than a year at entry-level, I was promoted to Supervisor. Little did I know, this would be the beginning of the end.
I reported another supervisor for sexual harassment. I had been dealing with it since I started working at the company. Of course, after a “thorough” investigation, the company “couldn’t” substantiate my claims. After a second investigation, the company still “couldn’t” substantiate my claims. Needless to say, this emboldened the harasser and the behaviors continued and got worse.
The harasser started telling everyone I “falsely” accused him, and began enlisting supporters to retaliate against me. He continued to stalk and harass me, and his supporters jumped in and started stalking and harassing me, too. The harasser kept pointing me out to people, spreading rumors about me, and calling me out of my name, among other harassing behaviors. I told my supervisor and my manager that I didn’t want to be around him, but they forced me to work with him anyway.
The worst part of it all was how the harasser even managed to turn my supervisor against me, the same supervisor who recommended me for the promotion in the first place. We had a really good working relationship until I started reporting the harassment.
This same harasser would come to work intoxicated, sold drugs on the premises to co-workers, and threatened our supervisor numerous times, but somehow, I was the one with the “bad attitude.”
Even after a third investigation, nothing changed. I filed another complaint after that, and the investigation-which would have been the fourth-was never conducted. I went to the highest level of management in the building for help, as he was my last hope, and even he turned his back on me.
I had no support and no one cared.
I ended up being forced on medical leave and was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder. I missed three months of work with no pay. I would’ve been back a month sooner, but the manager in my chain of command refused to let me come back because I had been in a car accident and needed accommodations while finishing physical therapy. I was told I couldn’t come back due to the company’s “full-duty” policy, but come to find out, there is no full-duty policy.
Eventually, I had to forfeit my sessions with my therapist who was treating my depression symptoms because I could no longer afford her and my insurance wouldn’t cover her because she was out-of-network.
When I got back to work, I was moved to a different department in a downgraded position. I asked for accommodations due to my failing mental health and was told I was being “difficult.” Worse than that, I was forced to choose between my accommodations and trying to get my old position back which I later found out was never going to happen. They just wanted to see me suffer and make a fool of myself.
The co-workers in my new department constantly accused me of being “negative” and “bitter” even though I was obviously hurt by everything that transpired. I ended up enrolling in the company’s EAP. Based on those evaluations, I may have PTSD. I don’t think I’ve come to terms with that possibility as I genuinely cannot afford another mental illness.
It’s been hard standing up for myself, and honestly, I feel so small against them.
We are talking about a Fortune 500 company with billions of dollars and millions of resources at their disposal to tarnish my character and humiliate me even further than it already has. In my experience, it is full of vile and vindictive people who will go to great lengths to spiritually kill you.
I feel lost, confused, and destitute.
What I’ve gone through is the worst and I wouldn’t wish it on anybody.
That’s why I think that advocating for workplace psychological safety is important. There are so many victims of workplace harassment, abuse, and mobbing that deserve to be heard, seen, and supported.
How fair is it to sacrifice your livelihood in the name of feeling safe at work?