Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

My ongoing workplace harassment

My supervisor emailed me the following today: It has come fettywap07/03/18
email HR and ask for guidance dingbat07/03/18
I agree with your supervisor in light of the recent third-pa john0907/03/18
That's fine. You're allowed to have your beliefs. The questi fettywap07/03/18
If it is a private employer, no, you do not have the right t tcpaul07/03/18
Fettywap, your right to free speech depends on whether you w john0907/03/18
The Hatch Act makes sure that employees of the federal gover karma07/04/18
Two things: 1) the Hatch Act only applies to federal employe john0907/04/18
leave your political statement at the door. dietcoke07/03/18
Con Law 101 - the government can't regulate speech. you work ipesq07/03/18
Free speech is not absolute for public employees - it's a ba john0907/03/18
I was not referring to the 1st Amendment. That is an old f fettywap07/03/18
OP - you're clearly not understanding or are ignoring what p tcpaul07/03/18
I was asking about protected speech under Title VII, not abo fettywap07/03/18
Still not protected. Why would it be? Can you think of a sin tcpaul07/03/18
Feminism is not a religion, so the discrimination angle by b pisces21307/03/18
Would you be okay with a sign condemning gays to hell? Becau underemployedlawyer07/04/18
Private employers will get rid of batsh1t-crazy. Be aware of whipster07/03/18
Based on prior posts, you hate this job. If you want out, ju snowday7507/03/18
I'm trying to find another job. I can't just quit and go wit fettywap07/03/18
So the NFL players can't kneel during the anthem as Trump sa cantimaginenocountry07/03/18
If you tell someone, "you weren't harassed," they'll never s orgdonor07/03/18
Fettywap, people can be petty, small-minded, and hypocritica dupednontraditional07/04/18
Ur an attorney take down ur sign. Why give them a reason. No esquirewalletsmatter07/04/18
“There’s a special place in Hell for women who don’t s fettywap07/04/18
Keep this in mind. Millions of American men have been drafte underemployedlawyer07/04/18
You're once again blatantly ignoring the real issue. It does thirdtierlaw07/04/18
Precisely. Have a field day on this one in my former career. esquirewalletsmatter07/04/18
That's not true. Women get drafted in Israel. Women who serv fettywap07/04/18
Again ur an attorney. Religion and 1A. Come on. Ur acting li esquirewalletsmatter07/04/18
In the USA women don’t get drafted and I’m israel they d underemployedlawyer07/04/18
That's not entirely true. Some of the things were in writing fettywap07/04/18
Keep in mind that it might not be that your boss has specifi jeffm07/04/18
It's not towards me alone. It's toward most of the women in fettywap07/04/18
OP - I know you know this, but do anything you can to kick y jd4hire07/05/18
Yes. I hear you. There is a job closing next week that I cou fettywap07/05/18
Yeah, enough about that... are you still feeling threatened trollfeeder07/05/18
LOL. No, those health problems have cleared up. We're actual fettywap07/05/18
So wait, a statement like this: “The drag queen at work ha notiers07/05/18
It's not intelligent to have a sign that mentions hell hangi loser1207/05/18
I’ll add that if clients are walking through the office, y loser1207/05/18
There are no clients near my office. She would have had to l fettywap07/05/18
You’re kind of an idiot. notiers07/05/18
Be kind. She's stuck inside the situation and not viewing it wutwutwut07/06/18
Fetty think like a lawyer. As a person that used to both de esquirewalletsmatter07/06/18
I like how OP doesn’t ask whether the sign is appropriate themapmaster07/06/18
Leave politics out of the workplace, unless you work in poli dieter07/06/18
Does fettywap = dharmsala? lawyer197207/07/18
Fettywap has actually passed the bar and has a legit job. Op downwardslope07/07/18
Fettywap, no question is not jewel/opal/dharamshala. Also, wutwutwut07/07/18
You sound really annoying. jddidtie07/08/18

fettywap (Jul 3, 2018 - 7:03 pm)

My supervisor emailed me the following today:

It has come to my attention that you have displayed above your desk a sign that reads “[t]here is a special place in Hell for women who do not support other women.” This is not an appropriate display for the workplace. Given that we just completed a third-party discrimination investigation in which multiple women provided information, it might also be perceived as threatening and/or retaliatory. To avoid making that appearance, please take the sign down.

This is a cross stitch I printed from a web site. It has Madeline Albright at the bottom of it. She's too stupid to know what it is. Isn't this protected speech? Some of the other women at work display religious items that I don't like, but I assume they are protected speech. The drag queen at work has nasty pictures of himself on his monitor. One is him back view in a very tight miniskirt that just barely covers his ass. He's been over and holding a cigarette. That doesn't follow her dress code.


She waited until right when the boss left to email that to me. I think he's off the rest of the week.

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dingbat (Jul 3, 2018 - 7:09 pm)

email HR and ask for guidance

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john09 (Jul 3, 2018 - 7:51 pm)

I agree with your supervisor in light of the recent third-party discrimination investigation. I could see how someone could interpret your sign as a warning towards women who have given statements that are adverse to the female complainant.

Further, dietcoke has a good point - leave your political statements/viewpoints at the door.

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fettywap (Jul 3, 2018 - 7:56 pm)

That's fine. You're allowed to have your beliefs. The question is, am I allowed to express mine? Considering that others put up religious beliefs and making fun of women at their desks.

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tcpaul (Jul 3, 2018 - 8:08 pm)

If it is a private employer, no, you do not have the right to display it. The 1st Amendment applies to government suppression of speech.

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john09 (Jul 3, 2018 - 8:23 pm)

Fettywap, your right to free speech depends on whether you work for the government or a private employer. Private employers can limit your right to free speech (First Amendment prohibits suppression of free speech by the government, not private actors). If you work for a government employer, then your right to free speech is weighed against the employer's interests. In your case, I think most courts would rule in favor of your employer for the reasons noted above, even if you are a government employee.

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karma (Jul 4, 2018 - 7:29 pm)

The Hatch Act makes sure that employees of the federal government don't bring political speech into the workplace. The 1st amendment allows for reasonable restrictions on the time and manner of speech and government employees, in the government workplace and working on government time, is neither the place nor time for political speech.

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john09 (Jul 4, 2018 - 7:35 pm)

Two things: 1) the Hatch Act only applies to federal employees; and 2) OP's situation does not have anything to do with the Hatch Act - the Pickering-Connick Balancing Test applies.

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dietcoke (Jul 3, 2018 - 7:27 pm)

leave your political statement at the door.

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ipesq (Jul 3, 2018 - 8:10 pm)

Con Law 101 - the government can't regulate speech. you work for a private firm right? Private actors can put restrictions on your speech.

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john09 (Jul 3, 2018 - 8:19 pm)

Free speech is not absolute for public employees - it's a balancing test between the employee's right to free speech and the employer's right to operational efficiency.

In any event, dietcoke's comment is still good advice for everyone.

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fettywap (Jul 3, 2018 - 8:29 pm)

I was not referring to the 1st Amendment.
That is an old feminist saying that Madeline Albright and other women have been using for over 25 years. She's used it in many public speeches and never been censored for it.
I think the law is pretty clear that if I said that to a co-worker in objection to those at my office who support gender discrimination/harassment, the law says the speech is protected. So is hanging it on the wall any different, if other people are allowed to hang statements on their walls?
Although it's really just an old feminist statement that I like and believe in generally. It's for me to remind me that I will never become like them and won't change my beliefs.

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tcpaul (Jul 3, 2018 - 9:00 pm)

OP - you're clearly not understanding or are ignoring what people are saying. You have ZERO free speech rights as an employee of a private employer. It doesn't matter where the quote came from. If your employer wants you to take it down, you must take it down.

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fettywap (Jul 3, 2018 - 9:14 pm)

I was asking about protected speech under Title VII, not about free speech.

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tcpaul (Jul 3, 2018 - 10:33 pm)

Still not protected. Why would it be? Can you think of a single plausible argument for its protection?

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pisces213 (Jul 3, 2018 - 10:41 pm)

Feminism is not a religion, so the discrimination angle by bringing up religious verses will likely not work. You are also not in the same situation as Madeline Albright; you are working for a private employer and making your speech within the workplace. As for the statement itself, in your context, it sounds passive-aggressive and a bit petty; but even if not, it could be seen as divisive in the workplace.

I get your frustration, but you are not dealing with this professionally. I am also worried that you will burn this bridge once you cross it, which is not wise - especially in a country where people can own guns.

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underemployedlawyer (Jul 4, 2018 - 9:33 am)

Would you be okay with a sign condemning gays to hell? Because the sign you display condemns women to hell if they don’t hold certain viewpoints.

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whipster (Jul 3, 2018 - 8:33 pm)

Private employers will get rid of batsh1t-crazy. Be aware of that and get back to work and quit with the political crap.

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snowday75 (Jul 3, 2018 - 8:48 pm)

Based on prior posts, you hate this job. If you want out, just quit. It is unlikely they will accomodate you based on previous posts.

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fettywap (Jul 3, 2018 - 8:53 pm)

I'm trying to find another job. I can't just quit and go without any income. No, this supervisor will never stop harassing me.

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cantimaginenocountry (Jul 3, 2018 - 10:28 pm)

So the NFL players can't kneel during the anthem as Trump said?

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orgdonor (Jul 3, 2018 - 11:02 pm)

If you tell someone, "you weren't harassed," they'll never say - good point - I wasn't. Even if the whole office thinks no harrassment occurred fetty will still think it did. Maybe ask them to fire you and give you a severance.

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dupednontraditional (Jul 4, 2018 - 7:40 am)

Fettywap, people can be petty, small-minded, and hypocritical. The sooner you embrace this, the sooner you can Stop Caring, which is the next-level of JDU enlightenment.

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esquirewalletsmatter (Jul 4, 2018 - 10:05 am)

Ur an attorney take down ur sign. Why give them a reason. Not amateur hour here.

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fettywap (Jul 4, 2018 - 10:20 am)

“There’s a special place in Hell for women who don’t support other women.” This expression is originally attributed to former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who uttered the quip during a 2004 panel at Wellesley College while reflecting on women’s leadership. Albright originally intended for the quote to serve as a counterpoint to stereotypical workplace dynamics where women have been forced to function as adversaries in order to survive in a male-dominated world. For, in a patriarchal society where women’s opportunities are far too limited, how can women expect to effectively fight against gendered inequalities if they’re too busy fighting one another?

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underemployedlawyer (Jul 4, 2018 - 10:31 am)

Keep this in mind. Millions of American men have been drafted. Of those millions hundreds of thousands were killed in combat in which they were drafted . Zero women have been drafted. Keep that in mind when you think of the patriarchy

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thirdtierlaw (Jul 4, 2018 - 10:59 am)

You're once again blatantly ignoring the real issue. It doesn't matter where the quote came from or it's original meaning. Had you put the sign up a year ago there wouldn't be a problem. But you didn't. You put it up either during an investigation or right after an investigation into a sexual harassment allegation you made.

Your boss is correct, it appears you're trying to coerce or intimidate potential witnesses, or if the investigation is over, made women who didn't agree with you or back you up feel uncomfortable.

It's really stretching the limits of credibility to claim that it didn't even cross your mind that the quote could be relevant to your ongoing sexual harassment claim.

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esquirewalletsmatter (Jul 4, 2018 - 11:27 am)

Precisely. Have a field day on this one in my former career. For someone wanting litigation, ur certainly not thinking like a litigant who happens to be an attorney.

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fettywap (Jul 4, 2018 - 10:53 am)

That's not true. Women get drafted in Israel. Women who serve in the American military have been killed too.
I think I was wrong about religion. You can have a Bible at your desk and read it on breaks by law. Your employer does not have to allow you to put up religious decorations at your desk. One woman at my job has all kinds of religious crap at her desk.

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esquirewalletsmatter (Jul 4, 2018 - 11:29 am)

Again ur an attorney. Religion and 1A. Come on. Ur acting like a pro se person focusing on ur feelings and irrelevancy. Uve been posting about this for a year and ur now torpedoing it bc of pride. Of course the investigation by the employer is fixed. Of course people didn’t snitch bc their career is more important to them. How is this a shock? It’s law. It’s dirty, it’s ugly and u kno better. Get it together and lock it up.

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underemployedlawyer (Jul 4, 2018 - 4:55 pm)

In the USA women don’t get drafted and I’m israel they don’t serve in combat. In the USA only a handful of women gave died in military conflicts compared to men. Hundreds of thousands of American men have been killed in combat and to this day men have the selective service requirement or you become a felon if convicted, denied the vote and student loans etc.

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fettywap (Jul 4, 2018 - 11:52 am)

That's not entirely true. Some of the things were in writing or so well known around the office that they couldn't really deny them. I think some changes were made and she's mad about it. It must be physically painful for her that she can't call employees the b word anymore or do other things she was doing.
It's only two, maybe three people in the office who are hostile to me. Others are probably happy somebody told her to stop.

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jeffm (Jul 4, 2018 - 6:08 pm)

Keep in mind that it might not be that your boss has specific animus toward you. She might just be irritated because office politics is a distraction and does not bring in money. To her, it's a huge waste of time.

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fettywap (Jul 4, 2018 - 6:55 pm)

It's not towards me alone. It's toward most of the women in the office. I wasn't a target until I got fed up with listening to her trash all the other women in the office. I told her not to go tell one of the women she had to wear toenail polish to work, and she went nuts on me. She confronted me in her office about my sexual harassment complaints. I wasn't really planning to report them at all, until she became more hostile toward me after I got questioned about it. She never ever goes after the men. The men do very little and just got their workloads reduced because they weren't keeping up with them.

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jd4hire (Jul 5, 2018 - 10:50 am)

OP - I know you know this, but do anything you can to kick your job search into hyperdrive. Hit the networks, craigslist, job school banks, indeed, word of mouth, monster, bar journals, martindale job search aspect, CPCU society job search, and any others I may have missed. You're at a toxic place that's no good for you (and it seems like they are not a fan of you either).

Until you find something else, be neither seen nor heard at your current gig. Don't stir the pot, don't socialize, don't interject yourself, etc. Clock in, do your work, clock out.

And while I love the quote you have hanging up (my wife has it framed on her desk), given the context of what went down, it doesn't seem like a smart thing to have up. And you're an at will, you really have no rights to express yourself in that arena whether it be under federal law (Title VII, Hatch Act, or any other federal law), the constitution, or common law. You might have some state/ local protections (I say that as I don't know where you are, but would find it highly unlikely), but again, given the context, most likely no. Your quote could be construed as hostile towards others. And I'd also say, sometimes you need to run the cost-benefit analysis before you take action - the nail polish sounds ridiculous, but it sounds like by saying something, it cost you a fair amount and you (or your fellow women) gained nothing.

And my last opinion - same-sex sexual discrimination definitely takes place, but it doesn't resonate with people. In short, I think it's a loser. It just comes down to the female being a brat to other females. And I understand there can be a unique dynamic of women who hold different job titles and came into their career at different times. There is a woman at my wive's job who thinks all young female attorneys don't understand the plight she had to fight the good old boys network and make it as a female attorney in the 80s. She thinks they are all weak and whiney.

Good luck on the job search.

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fettywap (Jul 5, 2018 - 11:13 am)

Yes. I hear you. There is a job closing next week that I could probably get interviewed for. *fingers crossed*

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trollfeeder (Jul 5, 2018 - 12:26 pm)

Yeah, enough about that... are you still feeling threatened by smokers?

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fettywap (Jul 5, 2018 - 12:31 pm)

LOL. No, those health problems have cleared up. We're actually moving to a new building soon and the smokers will be on the other side of the building where I never have to see or smell them.

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notiers (Jul 5, 2018 - 1:01 pm)

So wait, a statement like this: “The drag queen at work has nasty pictures of himself on his monitor” just rolls right off of your digital tongue, totally unsolicited - yet you’re also claiming to be harassed at work.

Awesome.

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loser12 (Jul 5, 2018 - 3:45 pm)

It's not intelligent to have a sign that mentions hell hanging in any office. There's a big difference between peeps showcasing a rainbow or symbol for a cause, and making a statement "you're with us or going to hell". It's just poor social intelligence.

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loser12 (Jul 5, 2018 - 7:17 pm)

I’ll add that if clients are walking through the office, you don’t want to have any divisive sign up. This isn’t like a salesgirl at Abercrombie wearing a burqa. It’s like if she worea shirt saying, “you are with the caliphate or you’re going to hell”. Some Abercrombie shoppers would support her message, some wouldn’t but people are likelier to not to buy because of politics than to buy because of them.

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fettywap (Jul 5, 2018 - 7:33 pm)

There are no clients near my office. She would have had to lean over my desk while I was out to even read it. It's not very big.

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notiers (Jul 5, 2018 - 11:23 pm)

You’re kind of an idiot.

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wutwutwut (Jul 6, 2018 - 11:57 am)

Be kind. She's stuck inside the situation and not viewing it rationally from the outside like the rest of us are.

Fortunately, she's getting good advice here. Hopefully the weight of it will convince her to take 3 or 4 steps back view it a little more dispassionately.

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esquirewalletsmatter (Jul 6, 2018 - 6:27 am)

Fetty think like a lawyer. As a person that used to both defend and litigate against those in ur situation, u need to get back on point. Ur screwing urself. Any retaliation claim will be dead in the water to boot.

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themapmaster (Jul 6, 2018 - 12:32 am)

I like how OP doesn’t ask whether the sign is appropriate (because obviously it is not) and instead raises the issue of protected speech. Grasping at straws..

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dieter (Jul 6, 2018 - 10:02 pm)

Leave politics out of the workplace, unless you work in politics. Is this really a hill you're ready to die on?

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lawyer1972 (Jul 7, 2018 - 11:43 am)

Does fettywap = dharmsala?

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downwardslope (Jul 7, 2018 - 1:51 pm)

Fettywap has actually passed the bar and has a legit job. Opal did come back recently though and there was a crazed post about the Illinois bar that I am not convinced wasn’t her... it seemed very familiar.

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wutwutwut (Jul 7, 2018 - 11:52 pm)

Fettywap, no question is not jewel/opal/dharamshala. Also, the lady mad at the IL bar (boredgirl) switching tests is not either of them. Jewel/opal/d (etc.) is in NJ, not ILL. Three separate characters. I chose that last word with a modicum of care, by the way.

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jddidtie (Jul 8, 2018 - 11:27 am)

You sound really annoying.

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