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Threatened with HR complaint for being gender critical

(137 Posts)
FuriousAndFrustrated Thu 28-Nov-19 01:06:28

(Namechanged for reasons which will become clear and apologies for length!)

On Sunday I shared a post on Facebook from Standing For Women.

"In order to believe in the crazy idea that men can have female brains you would have to think that the dna code got the sex right in every single cell in the entire body except in the brain where the XY made it female."

It's challenging to some people. but I don't think it's particularly outrageous.

There ensued a robust discussion amongst some of my "friends", along with the usual accusations of transphobia, denying the existence of trans people, denying the existence of gender identity, etc etc (I'm sure you all know the sort of thing!)

I staunchly (but politely) maintained my stance that womanhood is defined by biology, not feelings.

There were no insults and in the end the discussion dried up with the feeling that we'd agree to disagree, and neither "side" would ever understand the other's. In fact one of my friends went so far as to comment "I have no skin in this game, but can I just say that I enjoyed your discussion. No insults, no shouting, structured arguments, it was a very pleasant read, Thankyou!"

And that was an end to it.

Or so I thought.

Today, I received a private message on facebook from one of the main opponents to my stance. We share an employer.

He believes that my sharing of the post, and my "public approval" (ie a facebook like) of the group contravenes our employer's social media policy (which is basically don't post anything illegal or offensive). Although I did have my employer listed on my profile (not any more), that doesn't matter as they state that it can be inferred by being friends with colleagues.

He finished his message "....because I’ve seen it I can’t ignore it. Would it be possible for you to remove the post you shared and “unlike” that group?"

My response: "Are you threatening to report me to HR if I don't do that?"

His reply: "The content of that site is against policy and I will have no choice as per my role as LGBTQI lead for localdepartment"

I said he could just ignore it and move on. His reply was that he's only following process and would be complicit if he did that.

I'm so unbelievably angry. I feel bullied and intimidated and haven't really stopped shaking since our exchange. And that's not like me at all.

I've removed the post (after saving the comments) but I am not going to remove my like for the page. I know it can be a bit full on and I don't agree with everything that's on there, but it's a page supporting women's rights and that is to be applauded.

It goes without saying that I'm going to unfriend him (and his acolytes).

Ideally I would then post a calm, measured statement of what happened, and how I was bullied/intimidated into removing the post. But at the moment I feel anything but calm and measured - I'm still slightly shaky.

Common sense says I should just leave it but then he'll think he's won and I really don't want that!

Any bright ideas for what I should do next?

Aquamarine1029 Thu 28-Nov-19 01:30:05

Live your life and ignore the thought police. If he approaches you again, I would report him for harassment.

IWantADifferentName Thu 28-Nov-19 01:32:23

Beat him to it - report his comments to HR ‘just to make sure it is on their radar’ and mention Maya Forstater’s employment tribunal. Also mention Harry Miller’s case regarding free speech and that the decision is due before Christmas. Say that you will be happy to leave the matter in abeyance for now and, if necessary, take appropriate action after the ET decision is made public.

DuMondeB Thu 28-Nov-19 01:37:29

He sounds like a bully for sure. Delete him or make a restricted friend list and put him on it, so you can easily exclude him from seeing anything except pictures of your dinner.
Back up all the messages he sent you, just in case you need them in future.

Perhaps you/we could ask your work if they have a ‘women’s lead’ seeing as they have an LGBTQIA++ person?

Let’s hope Maya’s case shakes out well.

FuriousAndFrustrated Thu 28-Nov-19 01:46:08

I've just been reading through Maya's witness statement. I'm not to the end yet (that's a job for tomorrow) but I'm completely in awe!

I just can't understand the mentality of people who would do this. It's my personal fb page and has no bearing on my employment at all, so just why be such a complete arsehole?

I guess he hasn't noticed that I also like "Fair Play For Women" and "A Woman's Place UK" !!

I'm tempted to make his head explode by liking LGB Alliance before defriending him grin

FuriousAndFrustrated Thu 28-Nov-19 01:47:15

And thanks all for replying tonight..... it's nice to know that I'm not alone in thinking his behaviour is utterly twattish. Hopefully I'll get some sleep now x

Aquamarine1029 Thu 28-Nov-19 01:49:55

This whole situation is a very good example of why you should never friend colleagues on any of your social media. Block all of them.

EBearhug Thu 28-Nov-19 01:55:17

Although I did have my employer listed on my profile (not any more), that doesn't matter as they state that it can be inferred by being friends with colleagues.

I communicate more with former colleagues than current ones on FB. People would probably infer the wrong employer, if they looked at my profile.

I don't have colleagues in FB unless they're someone I would willingly go to the pub with. That means I avoid most of the real dickheads.

TowelNumber42 Thu 28-Nov-19 01:58:31

Pre-emptive strike with HR. A man has attempted to bully you into withdrawing from discussions of women's rights in your private life. Highly inappropriate behaviour on his part. Then offer your services as LBGQAbCDEF?+& officer seeing as having a white? Middle class? Man in post isn't working out too well as they tend to think they can boss actual oppressed groups, like women, about.

sprouts21 Thu 28-Nov-19 02:28:34

I agree with towel.

Creepster Thu 28-Nov-19 03:02:25

You need to report him for harassment and bullying on the basis of sex.

Fallingirl Thu 28-Nov-19 04:09:05

Agree with all the above posters, report him to HR for bullying. And remind HR that sex is a protected charateristic in the Equality Act 2010.

Doryhunky Thu 28-Nov-19 04:41:22

What does the policy say? Ensure you have a copy of the original post and his response etc. Seek employment advice. I think you are in the right and should report him but you want to be prepared for any investigation.

Lamahaha Thu 28-Nov-19 05:15:32

Slight derail here.... but might be useful to others re who to be wary of and how to manage friends lists.

If I comment on a post in a public GC group, say Standing for Women, does that post pop up on all of my friends' timeline? If I like such pages, or comments on threads? If so, that makes me uncomfortable. I don't like my activity to be seen by others.

I'm asking because someone I used to be on a forum with in pre-social media days, a forum full of woke Americans, commented on a Standing for Women post I had also commented on. As he's American and male, it's likely he got there through me. His comment was mild, just doubting that GC issues are connected to MRAs.

I'm not worried about this particular man. I know he's basically a right-wing Christian who was once anti gay marriage, but listened to people on the forum and tried to understand. I would think his natural leaning would be GC.

I'm more worried about others in that group. I've kept them as friends because they have interesting views, and for old times sake. But some of them are vociferously trans allies and have been for years.

I'm currently building a public profile in the publishing world and it's well known that woke folk in that world are like hyenas once they sniff GC attitudes.

I've put the known suspects on disabled lists but a few may have slipped through. I've started to only like and comment on groups and posts that are not public.

JustTurtlesAllTheWayDown Thu 28-Nov-19 05:35:54

If I were you, I'd be utterly furious. A man threatening a woman for speaking up for womens rights. How original. I wonder how many times hes done it to the other women?
I think you have a few options. HR is definitely one of them. I think you'd need to weigh that up based on your company and how they usually deal with complaints.
Personally, I'd be deciding whether to screenshot his message and then share that as an example of how women are being shut down, although it's definitely the riskier move if you want to take it to HR.
The fact that he sent you a message instead of commenting on your post shows he knows that if his threat was visible to others, they'd recognise it as bullying and intimidation.

Lamahaha Thu 28-Nov-19 05:40:35

The fact that he sent you a message instead of commenting on your post shows he knows that if his threat was visible to others, they'd recognise it as bullying and intimidation.

I agree with others that such bullying of employees should be exposed.

Siameasy Thu 28-Nov-19 06:26:07

I was also going to say I would tell HR yourself and you shouldn’t have had to remove the post or unlike the page.

Forgotthebins Thu 28-Nov-19 06:26:41

I think it depends a lot what your HR team is like but you should certainly consider reporting it. The HR team might prefer to respond by tightening the company's social media policy rather than have to arbitrate a lengthy grievance between colleagues but it would show you trying to deal with it proactively. I would say "I'm pretty sure I didn't break the social media policy but colleague is threatening to report me, can you advise on the policy and I'll act accordingly.". There needs to be more than one event for harassment to be invoked, so start documenting your interactions with the colleague and if he has ever made you feel bullied before, that could well mean this is a harrassment complaint, which is a different conversation with HR.

Hearhoovesthinkzebras Thu 28-Nov-19 06:48:45

If I comment on a post in a public GC group, say Standing for Women, does that post pop up on all of my friends' timeline

It is possible, I think. I was surprised when my husband mentioned a comment that I'd posted on my hairdresser's page (so nothing controversial or private). He's not friends with her, has no friends in common other than me and yet because I'd commented on her post it had appeared on his news feed.

MsRomanoff Thu 28-Nov-19 06:53:34

If it's a group, it doesnt pop up on time line.

If the post is public it would.

Hearhoovesthinkzebras Thu 28-Nov-19 06:55:59

If it's a group, it doesnt pop up on time line.

I think that depends on the.privacy settings of the group though. I'm on a few health related groups who are at pains to say that the group is a private group and that very limited information is visible to non members. Other groups are public and so they do.appear on timelines.

BovaryX Thu 28-Nov-19 06:56:51

You feel bullied and intimidated because you are being bullied and intimidated. I agree with Towel’s advice and what PP have said about including colleagues on your social media. It’s also interesting that you thought there had been a robust debate which had concluded with an agreement to respect each other’s differences. Unfortunately, at least one of your debaters doesn’t subscribe to that classic liberal position at all. He wants to forcibly and permanently any record of your dissent. And this is the theme which defines these increasingly totalitarian times.

BovaryX Thu 28-Nov-19 06:57:49

‘remove’ is the missing word!

SophoclesTheFox Thu 28-Nov-19 06:58:11

Nothing worse than a righteous bully. It really does say something about the state of the world that men have free rein to shut down women talking about women’s concerns in the name of progress.

I would definitely consider getting a pre emptive strike in with HR, but obviously that has some risk attached.

I’d also delete the bawbag so quickly his head would spin, to be honest. I hate Facebook monitors. Sorry you’ve been put in this shitty place, OP.

hopelesssuitcase Thu 28-Nov-19 07:00:48

Massive facebook purge needed.
To those saying to stand up to him, there are no guarantees this will go in the direction of reason if it is brought to HR.

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