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Bad Bosses
Sunday, 20 September 2009
Sexual Harassment on the Job

This is something that really ticks me off.  It isn't taken very seriously and often is joked about.  When I was in my early 20's I worked in the mortgage industry for a well respected company.  Like most women at the time, I worked in processing.  But I was given the opportunity to be one of the first women to work as a loan officer.  In fact the job title was just changing over.  Before women took on the job it was called Loan Solicitor (which is a more accurate description of the job).  But fearing that realtors (primarly men at that time) would conclude that the soliciting part was indecent the job title changed to Loan Officer. 

I was excited to be one of the first female Loan Officers in San Antonio.  I was the only woman in the position with my company.  My first day on the job, my boss and the other men in the company took bets on the bull pen blackboard on how long I would stay in my job, if I would sleep with the realtors, and if so who would be first. 

And I had it easy compared to so many other women.  This is what the laws were to designed to protect us from. 

Why do I bring this up today?  I recently had a personnel manager tell me that it was company policy that harassment complaints never go into the violators files because it would prevent them from being promoted.  The only thing worse than employing a violator is to promote the violator so that they have greater ability to force unwanted attention onto women. 

For those who think the law is too harsh, you are wrong.  Out of the thousands of women who complain each year less than 20 find protection by EEOC. 

Make sure to protect your rights and the rights of those you work with.  Report violations, each and every time they occur.  You can report violations even if you are not the person being harassed.  Report the violation to the immediate supervisor of the violator, with a copy going to the highest level of management within your organization and another copy going to the EEOC. 

There was a time, and in many places it still must be proven, that a woman must prove that she said NO in order for an assault to be considered rape.  Those rules apply to harassment,  if you or some other person doesn't tell the violator that their actions are inappropriate and unwanted it cannot be considered a violation of law.  EEOC does not understand the "reasonable person" theory.  And worse still it has to be proven that the violator was told that their actions were inappropriate and unwanted.  To prove this you must put the complaint in writing.  Do not rely on Witnesses to support you on this.  

Don't expect the EEOC to do anything, but it will force this company to contact their lawyers.  If their lawyers are any good they will make sure the company takes care of the problem and keeps records of everything they did to insure that the problem was removed. 

The best advice is to report the problem to the Burkman Project.  They will file a complaint for you with EEOC adding to your complaint any additional information supporting your claim that they may have on file. 


Posted by paburkm at 11:50 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 20 September 2009 12:57 PM EDT
Saturday, 29 August 2009
Insurance Disaster

We get a lot of bad boss stories here.  But here is one that effected about 2000 employees.  

 A Maryland based insurance company, selling insurance in Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC, hired a new manager to bring "new life" into an old and established business.  The new manager had never worked in the insurance business before, but was reported to be an expert at marketing and promotion.

The new manager immediately set about changing the image of the company.  Old managers were forced to retire when they objected and resisted the proposed changes. 

The new management team made important changes.  Memo's were sent out, no more pop-corn or fish in the lunch room. No leaning on or touching the walls.  

Any move this dramatic is always difficult on staff but the staff of about 40 employees made the transition as best they could.  Most of the remaining staff was always on the road working alongside employees of their parent company spread out in over 60 branches.

The complaints by some of the employees was reviewed by personnel and checked on by the legal department to make sure no laws were being violated.  And no EEOC or Labor laws were violated.  However, no one checked on State Insurance Laws.

By moving the company from Maryland to Virginia, new Company and employee insurance licenses had to be obtained, but the new Manager failed to apply for and secure them before the move.  More over the majority of the customers of the insurance company were customers obtained by their association with their parent company, a savings and loan. 

The ability to sell insurance products through the savings and loan had been disallowed for years, but because of the age of the savings and loan, this particular company had been allowed to continue to sell these products because of a "grand-father provision".  When the company moved across state lines, they also lost their grand-father priviledge  

But the problems did not end there.  Being a subsidary company of a Savings and Loan that was nearing 100 years old the company had been enjoying priviledges retained because of being grand-fathered in.  With the move the company lost their grand-fathered status and the resulting loss of those priviledges caused a massive reaction.  Within months the insurance company and it's parent company were out of business.


Posted by paburkm at 10:38 PM EDT

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