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To ask for advice on what I should do re work/harassment/stress.

(19 Posts)
Clueing4looks Sat 05-Dec-15 18:22:26

I've been in a new job for 8 months I a customer orientated role. Was very happy at work and got a promotion after 3 months.
One of the people I work with is very touchy feely with everyone. This is something I wasn't comfortable with and I asked him to not do this numerous times, which he did stop for a while, but every so often would slap my bum or try to cuddle me and I'd have to remind him not to. A few weeks After I got my promotion he touched me again but on my breasts. I told him sternly that I didn't like it and if he did it again I would go to the manager. He responded by saying 'some people like it' and since that day he has been really shitty to me and making snide comments and making it difficult for me.
While all this had been going on, he had been having an unrelated dispute with another colleague. She went to the managers and complained about him, and told them what he was doing to me. I was called up to hr and asked to make an informal or formal complaint of sexual harassment against him. I said I would go down the informal route, but when I spoke afterwards to this other colleague, she persuaded me to make a formal complaint and helped me draft a statement, which I handed in the next day.
This was a month ago. The incident where he grabbed my breast was directly in front of the CCTV camera so I was confident it would be dealt with quickly. I knew that they would be speaking to other staff members as they were aware of what had been going on. I have been working with this man every day and I don't know if he knows that I've put in a grievance.
For the last week, HR have been calling staff upstairs for a meeting. They have come down from their meeting and not spoken a word to me since. There's lots of whispering going on and one woman just outright blanked me when I spoke to her.
I texted one colleague who said they were told not to repeat anything said in the meetings, but, reading between the lines, to him it seems like they are making me out to be a troublemaker and a bitch. They asked if i had ever said anything negative about anyone, whether I was a main instigator of gossip and that in their opinion is the touching in a 'sexual' way or 'harmless fun'

I don't know what to do. I don't want to get this colleague into trouble but I don't like the way they did these interviews. It seems like '(Me) is a nasty bitch and (he) is a playful scamp'
Ive taken a few days emergency annual leave as I needed to sort out what I was thinking.
I am angry that it's taking so long. There is concrete evidence he has done this, as it's on CCTV, yet they expect me to still work with him. I can't help but feel that they are dragging this out til after xmas as it's out busiest time in business, our sales increase by 1000% in the 2 weeks prior. I'm also angry with the girl who reported this, who has incidently stopped talking to me (and removed me from all social media). She would gain tremendously by him losing his job as she would get his job with a huge pay rise. I feel like she has feigned concern for me and used what was happening to me to benefit her cause.
I went to my GP yesterday and she signed me off with a fit note, for work related stress for the rest of this year, reasoning that they are unlikely to get this sorted before xmas. She also suggested I report what happened to the police, as in her opinion it was sexual assault. I haven't spoken to work about it yet as I can't really afford to have the time off, will only get SSP, but for my health and peace of mind I am considering using it. It's a very hostile atmosphere at work and I feel like I'm walking into a party that I haven't Been invited to every time I go in.

Sorry for the long rant. I have no one to talk to in real life. I'm having palpatations and my hair is falling out as I'm so worried I'm going to lose my job.

EllieJayJay Sat 05-Dec-15 18:26:35

That is awful!! And yes 100% it's sexual assault and very very unacceptable

Nobody has the right to touch you if you don't want to be touched

I just really feel for you and I'm so sorry you have to deal with this X your HR department should be supporting you and that excuse for a man should be kicked out

Clueing4looks Sat 05-Dec-15 18:54:45

I just feel so embarrassed and ashamed and don't know what I should do. If I do report to the police will my employers have to give them access to the CCTV? It's my proof and I will want them to see it.

Heatherplant Sat 05-Dec-15 18:57:37

That's a sexual assault. In a perfect world he should be the one whose hair is falling out with stress, he committed a criminal offence right in front of CCTV! EllieJayJay is right, your HR should be supporting you. Do you have access to any legal advice via a union/insurance policy?

Clueing4looks Sat 05-Dec-15 19:48:52

No, no union as such. I used to be with unison in a previous job with the nhs a few years back so could possibly restart my membership. This job is hospitality though so don't know if it transfers over.

Thanks for replying. I just feel so alone. My HR manager seems angry with me and keeps trying to get me to downgrade the complaint to informal.
I keep making silly little mistakes at work like dropping stuff, and I put a display up and the director basically said it was shit. I feel like I'm being undermined (I'm assistant manager but, we don't actually have a manager so I'm not actually assisting anyone) and even the new xmas temps are off with me. I don't know if I'm just being paranoid or not.

EllieJayJay Sat 05-Dec-15 19:57:14

That is terrible form of the HR department - I'm shocked beyond belief.

You need to report it to the police, what if he does this to some poor woman who doesn't stand up for herself and tell him to F off.

I had this with a bloke when I was much younger and very innocent... Dirty old man kept harrasing me, these days I would shame the arse but back then I was lucky someone noticed and supported me

He's an arse and shouldn't be allowed to get away with this

IonaNE Sat 05-Dec-15 20:04:40

His behaviour has been unacceptable, OP. You won't be losing your job, probably he will. Stick to your guns - and try to enjoy your time off.

DaphneGaffney Sat 05-Dec-15 20:26:43

OP - the wall of silence from your colleagues may, in part, be down to the fact that in a grievance procedure your colleagues will be interviewed about the member of staff but will be told they are NOT allowed to speak to you or the colleague about it. In that respect HR are running things exactly as they should. Your colleague who was interviewed should not have told you anything they asked. HR will ask questions about you as you have made an accusation about a colleague (in some respects these things can be a he said, she said unless there is concrete proof eg emails etc. Of course in your case there is concrete proof so perhaps they are overplaying their 'even handed' role by asking a lot about you as it is obvious the outcome will be in your favour). It must feel horrible to have all your colleagues distancing themselves from you but honestly, it may be that they are trying to do the 'right' thing. Also, the woman who is making a separate claim against him has also probably been instructed to keep her distance from you. If it looks as if members of staff (you and her) are colluding against him then HR could be in a difficult position so they are probably trying to keep things as clear cut as possible.

Personally I think it was sexual assault and if it was caught on cctv then you can easily make your case to the police too. I would do that now and ask the police to obtain a copy of the cctv ASAP.

I hope some of that helps, he sounds like a sad, pathetic little wanker and if I was HR I would try to get rid of him as quickly as possible.

blueballoon79 Sat 05-Dec-15 20:59:47

I have no advice to give you but can see other's above have given great advice. I just felt compelled to post to say sorry you're having to go through this. It sounds dreadful. I hope you get something sorted out soon.

redexpat Sat 05-Dec-15 21:05:30

Have you established that they actually have the cctv footage?

CrazyCatLady13 Sat 05-Dec-15 21:28:20

Judging by what you have written you have a case for constructive dismissal - they're refusing to protect you from harassment.

Speak to ACAS - they have a good website and a helpline - to get some good advice.

About your colleagues, it can be really uncomfortable giving statements about your work colleagues, so they might just be recovering from that. When I run an investigation people are always told that their statements are confidential, not to talk to anyone about what they've told me etc but I always respect that they feel awkward doing this.

Your HR manager is being very unprofessional, all harassment cases MUST be taken seriously. It will be more work for them to deal with a formal case than an informal case, and the consequences are more severe, but that's no excuse to fail you in this way.

In your situation, if you can afford to, I'd take sick pay for at least a few days and try to get my thoughts straight. I'd write a clear account of everything that has been said and done so far, keeping it factual and adding names, dates and times as much as possible.

Does the HR manager have anyone senior to them? Can you approach them?

They're treating you terribly and as a HR professional I find it disturbing. Feel free to PM me if you need any info.

CrazyCatLady13 Sat 05-Dec-15 21:31:18

I forgot to mention - don't be surprised if the CCTV footage goes missing. Based on how they've been with you so far, they're likely to minimise what has happened.

If you go to the police, it might help prove your case but it's something to consider carefully as it might make the atmosphere at work worse. I'm sure if you call the non emergency line you'd be able to chat with someone at the police station to discuss the issues in confidence - would you feel comfortable doing this? They wouldn't proceed without your consent.

maddening Sat 05-Dec-15 21:36:47

I think you can ask for a copy of the CCTV act as you appear in the footage

TiredButFineODFOJ Sat 05-Dec-15 22:26:28

I do think that there is a chance HR are handling it correctly, as others have said no-one should be discussing the facts whilst they are under investigation. The questions your mate repeated to you may well have been based on what mr perv had said "I touched her in a jokey way whilst we were having a gossip, she loves a gas, she always starts it, in fact she distracts me all the time I can't get anything done, if anything she's the problem in that office"
I think you should write/email HR stating that under the data protection act you would like a copy of the cctv.
Go off sick for a week- you might be ok to be signed as fit after some breathing space.
Give ACAS a call and ask for their advice.
I'd also let HR know that the sexual assault and bullying by this man have contributed to your absence from work, how much longer will their investigation take?

Clueing4looks Sat 05-Dec-15 23:15:09

Thank you all so much for your advice. It makes me feel a bit better that it could possibly be because they've been told not to discuss it so feel awkward speaking to me.

Regarding CCTV, I told her where and when it was and 2 weeks ago she said she couldn't find it. I took her to the place it happened and it turned out she was looking at the wrong camera feed so had to run through it again. She said that it only picks up every 3 seconds so it may not show up but it was for at least 10/15 seconds when he did it so it's 100% on there.

It's a smallish but very successful family run business. It's a 1 person HR team and she's it. She reports directly to the owner/director. I really don't know how long it will take. She said that they have 3 months to investigate from when I raised the complaint, which was the 3rd of November. As I said before, I think they'll try and hang it out until after the Christmas holidays. Without giving too much away, he's the head chef and it will be in the businesses best interest to wait.
With a few belt tightenings, I can probably afford to take these few weeks off. I know it will give me a chance to get my head and emotions in check but I just don't know whether it's the right thing with regards to pissing off a manager who i already feel is angry with me. I don't want to leave - Im good at my job and actually really enjoy the work I do but I just feel stuck in a situation that I really don't want to be in.

mimishimmi Sun 06-Dec-15 04:49:16

Ugh, what a slime! And why are the others defending him? Is he in a position of power? Hate guys like this..

Truckingalong Sun 06-Dec-15 06:04:54

He touched your breast for 10-15 seconds?

Preciousxbane Sun 06-Dec-15 10:02:20

Your colleagues will not be allowed to discuss their meetings with you at all as it is a formal ongoing investigation.

I agree to ring ACAS and unions cannot take on ongoing cases usually though they can advise they couldn't go in with you to a meeting as a rep.

OneMoreCasualty Sun 06-Dec-15 10:43:27

Echo others saying they will be required to keep it confidential.

Hugs for you x

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