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Date Posted: 07:36:17 08/04/05 Thu
Author: Chuck in ND
Subject: What do you think?

What is your reaction to this:

Our neighbor and good friend, T, works (with dh) for the Post Office--he has a 21yr spotless record. About 2-3 mos ago he was accused of sexual harassment and yesterday, after a lengthy "investigation" was fired.

Here's what happened: A young pregnant coworker was going around the plant, pulling up her shirt and inviting male co-workers to touch her pregnant belly. This friend of ours went a little too far--he touched her breast. OK--immediately he knew he blew it and was very embarrassed. Within an hr he was escorted off the premises and had a 2-wk suspension without pay. The last 6-7 wks he's not been allowed back to work but has been paid.

Here's what makes me mad about this: At least 20 other men say she did this to them--pulled up her shirt and asked them to touch her belly. The PO investigation ignores this, they say it has nothing to do with what T did. Instead of his 21yr spotless record being a mitigating factor for him, it actually works against him. The PO says since he was such a good employee for so long he knew better, making what he did even more egregious.

They also say he cannot be rehabilitated, so he must be fired. I asked T if they offered him any "sensitivity courses" or an opportunity to apologize or set things right. They didn't. He's just "unrehabilatable", period.

She says he held her arm and wouldn't let her go. But both T and a witness deny that happened. Still, they believe her and say since he "held her against her will" what he did was too egregious to be forgivable.

Since this happened, she has had other "shirt raising" incidents. One night she was mad that a supervisor was going to write her up for her "inappropriate dress" and so she went to this guy, pulled up her shirt, supposedly to show him her shorts and ask his opinion. He was terrified that she was going to do more or might accuse him of something. So he just kept his eyes on the paper he was reading, told her he wasn't going to get involved. This man reported it to the PO as sexual harrasment. The PO said it isn't because she was just reporting a problem to a union steward. They totally disregarded the fact that he hasn't been a steward or anything with the union for over 3 yrs.

So here's this woman who goes around pulling up her shirt for men all over the place, invites them to touch her and when one guy went a little too far, he's fired but nothing happens to her.

Everyone agrees that what T did was wrong. But no one thinks he should be fired (except for management, that is)--maybe a month or two unpaid leave, some "training", probabtion, but NOT firing. So one woman started a petition and over 150 employees--men and woman--have said they support T and want him back and think this whole thing has been very biased and unfair. So guess what? Management uses that as another reason to fire T!! They say he has adversly affected employee moral!

I know why they are being so hard on T--the PO here went through a very ugly, very public sexual harrasment law suit, settled just 3-4 mos ago. The plaintif lost (she was something of a nut case, made all sorts of bizarr and conflicting acusations, witnesses disagreed on what really happened) but I think the PO is still very jittery about all the bad PR, so they are going to make an example of T. I'd like to ask the Postmaster if he'd like the publicity the PO would get if everyone knew a woman goes around lifting up her shirt and nothing happens to her.

T came over last night with the official results of the "investigation" (where everything she said was true, and everything T said was either disbelieved or twisted to use against him and everthing that led up to the incedent and everything she's done since is disregarded as "not material") and the letter firing him. He is devestated. He's 52yo, it's not like he can get a new job that easily. Twice while talking to us he was near tears, I felt so bad for him. After reading this letter I am so steamed. I think T has been badly mistreated.

But maybe I am biased because he is a friend. Maybe others agree that what he did really is unforgivable and he deserves losing his job.

So, what do you think? Am I way off here?

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