Revolution at work comes in small ways

One of the posts on my blog that gets a lot of angry comments is the one where I explain why women should not report sexual harassment at work. The problem with reporting workplace sexual harassment is that none of us is going to change policy single-handedly. There is a huge risk with little reward if you report the harassment to human resources, because the law dictates that HR doesn’t focus on your problems — HR must protect the company, not you. When you report harassment, you become the company’s problem.

So a lot of people naturally ask, “How are we going to change things if no one reports the problem?” But no one changes corporate America by sacrificing her career. Which is what you end up doing if you report harassment. You lose your job. Not legally, but for some other reason. Because it’s so easy to fire someone and so smart for the company to fire anyone who complains about harassment.

You can say that’s unfair but you can’t say it’s not reality. You are better off taking care of harassment yourself, and staying in the game and getting power at work to make change.

Here’s a great example of how that happens: Judge Kimba Wood, of NYC, receive a request to be excused from court for a Bris (the Jewish circumcision ceremony). Judge Wood’s response (which I verified) is a great moment for girls, and women, and for everyone, really. She shows us that if you do a great job at work, you can use your stature to make small earthquakes when you have the chance:

Posted in Diversity, Women
78 comments on “Revolution at work comes in small ways
  1. Mark W. says:

    LOL

    I hope “all counsel” got the memo!

  2. Sarah says:

    I hope he prints out this post and gives it to his granddaughter!

  3. juliette says:

    Right on. That is brilliant.

  4. PamN says:

    That was awesome!

  5. rb says:

    I had never heard of Kimba Wood before today, and now I would say I’m one of her biggest fans!

    • KateNonymous says:

      I’m guessing she’s the same Kimba Wood (because, really, what are the odds?) who did not become U.S. Attorney General during the Clinton administration.

  6. Rebecca S. says:

    My mother, who experienced her share of sexual harassment and pay discrimination as the only female copy writer at mostly all-male advertising agencies in Texas during the Mad Men era (1950s and 60s) said that women had to fight their battles silently back in the day because there were no laws protecting women in the workplace.

    She was thrilled when the ERA came to pass, knowing that my sister and I would have a better chance than she did at succeeding in our careers without the heartache and trauma that comes with being demoted, fired, or harassed at work because we’re women.

    Now that we have these laws in place to protect women, we are supposed to be quiet and not rock the boat? My mom would say, been there, done that.

    • John says:

      The ERA? That still hasn’t passed.

      • Shannon says:

        “On March 22, 1972, the ERA finally passed the Senate and the House of Representatives by the required two-thirds majority and was sent to the states for ratification. An original seven-year deadline was later extended by Congress to June 30, 1982. When this deadline expired, only 35 of the necessary 38 states (the constitutionally required three-fourths) had ratified the ERA. It is therefore not yet included in the U.S. Constitution.” from http://www.equalrightsamendment.org/

        I disagree with the the idea that no one person changes corporate America by sacrificing her career. During the Civil Rights movement, people were willing to be arrested and beaten in order to eliminate segregation and win the right to vote. People rallied behind Rosa Parks and the four African-American students who first sat down at a lunch counter and asked to be served. Sometimes one person has to be brave in order to inspire courage and hope in others.

  7. Harriet May says:

    I love that. I never thought there was much difference between how girls and boys are treated nowadays, especially as adults, until I was one. And, then, oh! how I learned that everything preached in grade school is not quite so. I think every strong woman makes small revolutions every day, but we all wish for the opportunity to stand up and let our opinions known in big ways, too. I’m glad sometimes we earn that chance.

  8. Sonia Jaspal says:

    This is the case in India today also, if a son is born there is celebration and if a daughter is born there is a stigma, specially if the couple have no other boy.

    And if a couple have two daughters and say they are happy with them and don’t want a son, they are consdiered crazy.

    Women still are hugely mistreated in India and male bias is considerable, and I would say that women have to fight it out silently and vocally, with all possible means available.

    Sonia

  9. Mira says:

    For the record, more liberal/egalitarian Jewish denominations do indeed have public readings and celebrations for newborn daughters. I find myself rather hoping the child in question – boy or girl – gravitates toward one of these when s/he grows up.

    • Steve says:

      It’s not just liberal Jews who celebrate the birth of a daughter — many observant ones do as well.

      This guy’s just being a putz about having a boy vs. a girl.

  10. Jim C. says:

    A co-worker of mine at a State agency was being harrassed a few years ago by a dirty old man. He retired but continued to hang around the workplace and started stalking her.
    She didn’t mess with complaining to HR — that wouldn’t have done her any good, as Penelope rightly points out. She filed a complaint with the police and got a restraining order forbidding him to approach within 1500 feet of her workplace. What really made it sting was the fact that the D.O.M. had gone to work consulting for companies regulated by our agency. Now he could not come within 3 blocks of the State offices, which cut him out of a lot of work. Well done!

    • Chris says:

      Thanks for point out this alternative to HR. I work in a company where the HR department is so ineffective as to be completely pointless. There’s quite honestly no where to turn other than to the police.

  11. billy flynn says:

    I am amazed that an individual would have the audacity to even put that sort of stupidity in writing.

    It's unfortunate that he couldn't be charged for it, but that said, I must applaud Judge Wood's solution.

    Would you keep us posted on the fate of Mr. Epstein and his yet unborn child? Good story!

  12. Irina I says:

    This is SUCH true advice. I hope all girls read it and follow it. Not because it tells them to not report harassment, but because it empowers them to make a more strategic decision.

    Also, this letter is so great.

  13. Maureen Sharib says:

    TRUE STORY
    On February 8, 1983 I was in labor with my second daughter. My husband and I were in a “labor room” with another couple throughout the process (that’s how they did it in those days).

    They took us to delivery first.

    On our way out we passed the other couple’s gurney going in.

    “What’d you have?” the first time father, wringing his hands, anxiously asked my husband.

    “A girl!” my husband beamed.

    “OH. I hope we have better luck,” the hapless moron answered.

    Like I said, it’s a true story.

    • MJ says:

      That reminds me of parent-teacher open house at my (expensive, private, well equipped) high school in the 1980s, when the father of a very smart classmate asked the physics teacher, in front of a packed room, if physics wasn’t really too hard for girls. To my parents’ credit they both thought he was an ass then and now. As I recall, his daughter eventually graduated from Top 10 engineering and MBA programs. Is her dad still an ass?

      • Maureen Sharib says:

        You reminded me of another true story.

        Both my daughters attended the same Catholic parochial grade school. My eldest was in eighth grade (so this would be about 1993) and struggling w/ some math. It was necessary for her to score well to be admitted to another highly rated Catholic private (girls) high school.

        Her teacher, a young man in his late 20s-early 30s, met with both my husband and myself about her dilemma. After a bit, this particular hapless moron looked at us and said, “It’s not really that important, is it? It’s not like she’s going to be an engineer or something…”

        My husband and I just looked at each other. We should have sued.

  14. Don says:

    With five sons and six grandsons I assure if someone in this family had a girl there would be a raucous celebration. May everyone enjoy their little girl babies and accept the blessing.

  15. Lee says:

    I have a contrarian story to tell. Not about the joy of girls (I wanted at least one, but family genetics got in the way and we got boys instead), but about reporting sexual harassment.

    I worked as IT person at a mid-sized law firm when one of the secretaries reported her boss, a male partner in the firm, was harassing her and threatened to sue unless management did something about it. I was tasked with inspecting and laying traps on his work computer (but that’s not the point of the story). Sufficient evidence was found of inappropriate use of the computer to fire him, as well as sufficient evidence of physical harassment. He was forced to resign.

    The secretary, who was at the firm before I was, is still working there, long after I have moved on. The firm has been with her through this incident as well as a bout of breast cancer. She made was has NOT been a career-limiting move, and I’m proud to have been part of taking down her sleazy boss.

    • Liza says:

      Thank you for this.

      I do believe that there are companies where rocking the boat would be ineffective, but that is not the case for all companies and I think Penelope can forget about that when she writes. Maybe some more pertinent information to back up her claim would be wise advice for her.

  16. lb says:

    Touche`.

    Well played, Judge!

  17. Mylinda says:

    Great post. I have a friend with her doctorate who has kept through the wringer as far as sexual harassment at the university she works at. She handles it on her own. She is still there. Many women have left or been fired. She has moved along quite nicely.

  18. Tzipporah says:

    Look, as women we learn that you can’t always run to the teacher when things go wrong. And it’s great to know there are other strategic ways of dealing with crap you will not take.

    But every company’s different. And not every company is even big enough to have an HR department. Harrassment or bullying of any kind doesn’t have to be tolerated. But it does require you to pull on your big-girl panties and find a way to deal with conflict.

  19. Rebecca S. says:

    Discrimination against women is not different than discrimination against blacks or anyone else of color. I wonder if the topic had been about blacks rather than women if some of the comments made on this blog would have been made: “As women we learn that you can’t always run to the teacher when things go wrong.” No, we don’t run to the teacher and whine. We seek protection from the law, just as it should be. Would you tell a black man he should keep his mouth shut at work if he’s being discriminated against? I doubt it.

    What if lawyer Epstein had said he was requesting a brief recess in the middle of trial to celebrate his daughter bringing home a white baby as opposed to the chance that she might go to Africa and bring home a black one? Do you think Judge Wood would have said in that case they’d hold poetry readings by Maya Angelou to celebrate? No, she’d sanction his ass.

  20. Kathryn Colas says:

    Big companies, too many people to tell the story to and explain, explain, explain. Surely it’s better in smaller companies where staff are treated as ‘family’?

    But, yes, there’s power in numbers but so many people are frightened to get noticed. It’s a tough one.

    • KateNonymous says:

      I can imagine that it could be worse in some small companies, because there’s less opportunity for avoidance.

  21. John says:

    There’s something really sick about throwing a party to celebrate the mutilation of your son’s genitalia. Sorry if that makes me anti-Semitic.

  22. KateNonymous says:

    Penelope, I get your point, but I’d really like to see an alternative method to addressing harassment. And if you have one, I’ll probably be sorry I didn’t know about it 15 years ago, when the company’s “golden boy” made me his target. I put up with it rather than report it because I knew that the company would protect him rather than me.

    But putting up with it didn’t change it, and I had no leverage, so I never really came up with an alternative. The result was that his bad behavior continued without consequence, and I worked in an increasingly uncomfortable environment.

    Come to think of it, how is that not bullying?

    • Penelope Trunk says:

      Advice: If you benefit from the job, then dealing with the guy’s behavior seems ok. No job is perfect. And if you don’t like the job, leave. You don’t need to worry yourself about teaching him a lesson. Who cares if he never learns another thing in his life: His loss.

      Penelope

      • KateNonymous says:

        Ultimately, yes. And it was a sucky job in general, that I left as soon as I had the experience I needed to get a better job (it was a sign of how bad that company was that it took me so long to get that experience).

        But if we just stay silent, how does anyone know there’s a problem? Doesn’t keeping silent say, “This is acceptable to me”? And if it isn’t, how will anyone else learn? It isn’t necessarily just about the perpetrator, but about other people who can see what happens on all sides, and the lessons they take away from it.

  23. Rebecca S. says:

    John, the ERA passed out of Congress in 1972. It’s been ratified by 35 of the necessary 38 states needed to become an amendment to the Constitution. As you so correctly point out, we may be in the 21st century, but the only constitutionally protected rights women have are to vote. People like KateNonymous really could have used Constitutional protection rather than suffering and stagnating in a job just become some man wanted to keep his thumb over her.

    • John says:

      You’re absolutely right. I shouldn’t have used the word “passed”, since it was passed by Congress.

    • Kevin says:

      “[T]he only constitutionally protected rights women have are to vote.”

      Really? Silly me believing the rest of the Constitution applied to women too.

      • Rebecca S. says:

        The Constitution applies in theory to everyone. If it applied in real life, there would have been no need for amendments such as assuring women the right to vote. Prior, men created laws that prevented women and blacks from voting, among many other things. So, we had to get Constitutional amendments to assure us of the very rights that men take for granted and that are assumed as inalienable under the Constitution. All men are created equal as long as they are men.

        Other rights, such as equal pay for equal work, are rights white men also take for granted under the Constitution, but women and minorities are still struggling mightily to achieve.

      • Kevin says:

        Thanks Rebecca. It is true that in the Constitution originally did not extend all rights to all people, however I don't think you'd find anyone today who could credibly argue that our rights somehow do not extend to all people due to some race, creed, color, or what have you. Where the Constitution once specifically excluded women or black people, these areas have been addressed through amendments so as to affirm that today the rights it enumerates cover everyone.

        Where we would probably disagree is as to what rights it actually confers, starting with whether the Constitution requires "equal pay for equal work". As a father of two fantastic daughters, I vehemently agree that you can't pay someone less *simply because* she is a woman. But even as a white man I recognize that some people get paid more than me and work the same or less, and I have no inherent right for the courts to sort that out. It would be a quagmire for the Judicial System to sort out whether two people – €“ even with the same title and responsibilities – €“ actually work the same, contribute the same, or should be paid the same.

        Thus the concept of nondiscrimination is clearly embedded in our Constitution, while the right for "equal pay for equal work" sounds nice in theory but both in the letter and spirit, is not, and would not be even had the ERA passed.

  24. KateNonymous says:

    “But no one changes corporate America by sacrificing her career.”

    Martin Luther, anyone? (No, I’m not Lutheran.)

  25. Bob says:

    If you think that’s bad, wait till you see Asian corporate culture.

    The Chinese (Japanese/Malaysian/etc) motto: Shut up and get back to work.

  26. Rebecca S. says:

    History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

  27. Jessi says:

    This post may apply to mom & pop shops.

    In Corporate America is different-unfounded accusations of sexual harrasment, and the accusers are super-protected.

    Heck, there was this one chick I knew that reported 3 different cases of sexual harrasment in less than 2 years.
    The accussed (2 guys and then one gal) had clean records, the supposedly behaviors were unexpected by all the co-workers, yet HR gave all the benefit of the doubt to the accuser. Summary-one guy fired, another resigned, and yet the ‘harrassed’ girl is still there.

    And that’s only one case.
    There are a bunch of absurd unfounded cases of sexual harassment, that would be funny to talk about, but then, the real, valid cases, may go underreported, as this post suggest.

  28. Rebecca S. says:

    Penelope,
    Are you actually trying to dispense credible advice or just fan the flames? That’s a cheap thing to do just to get comments on your blog. Your advice to KateNonymous is ignorant. Answer this: If a black man were being harassed at work because of his color, what would you say to him? And explain how’s its different than what you advise women to do. I’m interested.
    Rebecca

    • Penelope Trunk says:

      Rebecca, newsflash: Black people are discriminated against at work all the time, and generally, they say nothing. If a black person complained every time someone made a racist comment, they would never have time to get anything done at work. Seriously. I know this because my ex-husband is latino, and so are my kids, and the racial slurs are incredible. From people who I would consider generally enlightened and tolerant.

      Penelope

      • Jessi says:

        @ Penelope
        See, if you are offended by a racist comment, handle it like an adult-be direct and express your opinion. No need to be quiet; have a backbone.

        If the jokes persist, or you are not getting the same job opportunities that others, then that would be a hostile environment, and you could have a case.
        At least, in bigger organizations; maybe it doesn’t apply for start ups and small family business

      • divaliscious11 says:

        @Jessi-
        As a woman of color, I can tell you that is career suicide, just as being advised. Unless you have the kind of case that will make you financially independent for life, all you will succeed in doing is, being called too sensitive, make everyone afraid to say anything around you, and hope it doesn’t get out in your field so that you can get a job elsewhere. I realize you mean well, but you are speaking from a place of privilege that doesn’t quite translate to reality for most. The individual who CAN do the “speaking up” is the non-affected party, ie.. the man when is gender based harassment (or woman, depending on the harasser) or the non-person of color. But my experience is that they don’t want to risk THEIR career…..

  29. Lois says:

    I’d say that you have to know your organization. At my employer there is a person whose sole duty and responsiblity is to deal with harassment complaints. Not because there are floods of them, but because a) she knows the state and federal statutes cold b) she knows organizational policy cold and c) she has a “direct line” to the organization’s legal counsel. Complaints made to her do not go to HR until she has vetted the complaint and devised a course of action. This has put HR in the position of acting based on the case, not based on who the complainant is. So far (2 years) cases are not being ignored and are being resolved with less rancor.

  30. Becca says:

    Too bad all concerned don’t seem to know anything about the Simchat Bat, a celebration for baby girls, which arose out of the public naming ceremony for daughters and is fairly common in its modern incarnation among committed Jews. I suppose Judge Wood is planning one without even knowing it.

    http://judaism.about.com/od/namingceremony/a/simchatbat.htm

  31. Laura says:

    Just recently there was a very high profile sexual harassment case in Australia. Australia's 2nd biggest department store David Jones (its US equivalent would be say Bloomingdales) was sued for $37 million dollars because its CEO sexually harassed a junior publicist on numerous occasions. The reason the figure was so high was that she sued for punitive damages. According to Kristy Fraser-Kirk she did complain to the HR department and they ignored it/didn't take it seriously. The board of directors knew about what was happening and did nothing.

    http://www.theage.com.au/business/no-gets-no-firmer-than-a-37-million-lawsuit-20100803-115el.html

    Coming from a PR background Ms Fraser-Kirk knew it would get the continued media attention because the claim was so outrageous. She ended up settling for $850,000.

    http://www.dynamicbusiness.com.au/articles/articles-hr-and-staff/david-jones-sexual-harassment-airservices-australia-1872.html

    It's sad that so many lives have been affected in a negative way by this situation.

    http://www.smartcompany.com.au/legal/20101018-five-lessons-from-the-david-jones-sexual-harassment-case.html

    I have been sexually harassed by a high profile CEO when I was in my early 20's. I ended up leaving the company a few months after the incident because when I rejected him he made my environment so toxic to work in. I knew the HR woman was not in a position to help me because she would have protected the company first and foremost. I will be forever grateful and I applaud Kristy Fraser-Kirk for taking a stand so publicly against intolerable behavior. I certainly wouldn't have had the courage to do what she did. My plan is get enough power so I can start my own revolution like Kimba Wood.

  32. Audrey says:

    Great response, Judge Wood! She was on the short list for the Supreme Court in this last round… perhaps we can expect great things if she eventually makes it there!

    • Jim C. says:

      Unfortunately for her, Judge Wood got caught hiring an illegal alien as a nanny. The violations of labor law and immigration law eliminated her from consideration for the Attorney General job. As a result, we got Janet Reno instead, who gave us the Waco massacre and Ruby Ridge.

      • KateNonymous says:

        Everything she did was legal at the time she did it–it’s just that her name came up right after Zoe Baird’s, and Baird had failed to pay social security taxes for her employees. Wood had not, but the fallout from Baird’s case also eliminated Wood.

  33. Rebecca S. says:

    Penelope,

    I wasn’t looking for you to tell me how it really is — I know that blacks and Latinos get discriminated against every day and say nothing. They do this out of fear. You have a Latino ex-husband and kids, I have a black niece. Hooray for us.

    I was asking you to give your advice. What would you tell a black man to do if he’s being overlooked for a promotion because he’s black, or if he’s not getting equal pay for equal work?

    Basically you’re preaching fear. You’ve told women that we ought to keep silent for fear of loosing our jobs, or, if we don’t like it, get a new job somewhere else, if we can. That’s not a career path, it’s make-do.

    Martin Luther King, Jr. based an entire revolution on empowering people to speak up, despite the consequences. Tremendous changes came about for blacks that otherwise would not have been.

    “History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Penolope, was he wrong?

    • Mark W. says:

      Rebecca S., you ask some good questions and quote a great man – Martin Luther King, Jr. Your entries and another entry above (lunch counter reference) reminded me of a talk I recently attended given by Condoleezza Rice at Hamilton College. Condoleeza is a very smart and black woman who was raised in Birmingham, Alabama in the ’60’s. She has a new book out (Extraordinary, Ordinary People) where she tells of her experiences. Her advice is to use education as armor against racism. It’s necessary to be at least twice as good and don’t play the victim. There’s an article and a couple of audio clips on NPR’s web site at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130425923 . You may not agree with her politics but it would be very difficult to ignore her spirit and spunk.

  34. ASH says:

    I have tears in my eyes after reading the Judge’s response. Thanks for posting this, it made my day!

  35. divaliscious11 says:

    I think this was brilliant of Judge Wood.

  36. Rebecca Sherman says:

    I think what ultimately disappoints me about the comments Judge Kimba Wood made on lawyer Epstein’s request for recess, and what advice that Penelope Trunk has to give women about discrimination against them, is that fundamentally they would have been very different if we’d been talking about minorities, not women. And that neither Kimba Wood nor Penelope Trunk realizes or acknowledges that a double standard exists. If the subject had been a black baby not a female baby, their comments, as many others, would have been different. This is a very important distinction.

    Kimba Wood wouldn’t have dared be so clever with her pronouncement that she’d hold poetry readings in lieu of outrage, and Penelope — well, we really don’t know because she hasn’t said what she’d say in her column to a black man who’s being discriminated against. Shut up? I doubt it.

    A fear that some women have — perhaps Kimba Wood and Penelope Trunk share this fear — is that men they admire and men in power will see them as strident feminists. They work in a man’s world, after all. So they don’t say what they might say if they were defending a black baby’s right to be celebrated when the grandfather really wanted a white one, or when publishing advice in a column to a black man with a discrimination problem perpetuated by his white colleagues.

    While so many commenters on this blog think what Kimba Wood said in her notes to the jerk lawyer was delightfully impudent for a judge, it’s actually unfortunately biased. She’d have said a whole hell of a lot more — the rafters would have rattled over it– if the baby were black not female.

    A double standard exists, and it’s too bad that Penelope Trunk’s career advice column didn’t explore that. Instead, women were told to perpetuate the staus quo, as if our careers depended on it.

  37. Jessi says:

    @ divaliscious11 –

    In fact, as a woman of color, I’m telling you that speaking out is not a career suicide.

    So what if “they” call you sensitive?
    You do need to know how to communicate your disagreement with confidence, and maybe even use humor. You don’t want to look whiny or petty.

    These websites may have some interesting stuff for you:
    http://www.theglasshammer.com/ (for Finance/High Tech) or http://www.fortefoundation.org/ (for MBAs)

    I find so weird the advice of not reporting real sexual harrassment. It sounds so anachronic; it’s like saying do not report rape because you will not find a good husband.

    Just weird.

    • Penelope Trunk says:

      I spoke at the Forte Foundation — the link you give for good advice. And guess what? I told all those women who were going for MBAs that they should not report harassment because it will be career suicide. And the Forte Foundation invited me to speak there because it’s such an important message for women to hear, and so few people will talk openly about it.

      Penelope

      • Jessi says:

        If so, you were not talking about real sexual harassment.

        We need to talk openly about
        a) what really constitute sexual harassment at work
        b) how to protect themselves against it
        c) how to handle other unwanted behaviors

        Most of those claims you mention, are not sexual harassment on themselves. Freaking out because somebody made a pass at you, or told an sexist joke? Learn to face the person, or let it go. Like an adult.

        On the other hand, lumping everything together and calling it sexual harassment trivialize the real cases, and really, it does not help.

  38. Cheryl Morris says:

    Yay, found this website about writing a letter to the harasser that you-all may find useful: http://www.adm.uwaterloo.ca/infocmahro/writingalettertoaharasser.html
    I’d read about this technique years ago, and had to use it once, verbally, with an abusive co-worker, who then stopped abusing me.

  39. afadingfan says:

    Penelope,

    You may feel better if you actually research sexual harassment law.

    P.S. I would love to hear what you are thankful for today.

    • Penelope Trunk says:

      The link at the top of this post is to the research I did about sexual harassment law. I interviewed labor lawyers. They are quoted in the post I linked to.

      During this Thanksgiving weekend, I feel grateful for people who read my links before criticizing my conclusions :)

      Penelope

  40. Ishita says:

    Nowadays girls are working in any field along with the boys. But Sexual harassment at the workplace is now very common. Every day we read in news paper that a number of girls are victim of Sexual harassment at the workplace. Day by day an improvement occurs slowly, which is a ray of light to us…

  41. Erica says:

    I appreciate this posting and I tend to agree with Ms. Trunk HOWEVER, I think it’s pretty clear that Mr. Epstein is joking. Even if he was a misogynist, he would NEVER say these things to a female judge unless in jest (and I think it’s clear that she understood the joke — otherwise she would have been, understandably, furious.)

    • Mark W. says:

      An update and more background on this case can be found at law.com – http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1202475381981&Judge_Says_Mazel_Tov_Whether_Its_A_Boy_or_a_Girl .

      An excerpt from the above link –
      “In a phone interview yesterday (11/23/10), Mr. Epstein said that he has appeared before Judge Wood several times, and did not think the light tone of his letter, or his “secret hope” for a boy, would offend.
      “It was tongue in cheek and also heart on sleeve,” Mr. Epstein said. “I think she has a sense of humor.”
      Mr. Epstein said he has also begun to prepare for the celebration of girls and women in Judge Woods’ court, just in case.
      “There’s a poem from the book of proverbs, ‘aishes chayil,'” Mr. Epstein said. “It’s read on Friday nights, and at weddings grooms sing it to brides. It’s a beautiful poem that honors the role of women.”

      It’s also important to note this blog post was published 11/22/10 – one day before the above comments from Mr. Epstein.

  42. Amy says:

    What this shows to me is the importance of women being in leadership and then acting to improve their organization’s culture for women and, well, everyone. Healthy organizations do not enable harassers. They respect everyone’s work. And when women get in leadership positions, some take the attitude that they had to put up with crap and had to work twice as hard as men to get respect, so other women have to do so as well, but others make real changes to the organizations. Besides having a no-tolerance position on harassment, leaders support people who combine work and family with both family-friendly policies and by demonstrating it on a day to day basis.

    In focusing on women leaders, I do not mean to imply that men can’t make similar improvements in organizations. They can and should be encouraged to do so.

  43. Shumyle says:

    are you antisemitic?

    • lk says:

      Shumyle, please don’t dilute the meaning of antisemitism, it makes our work that much harder when a true case comes to light.

  44. Cheryl Ahmed says:

    I agree with Penelope 100%. She is not saying that standing up against sexual harrasment is wrong; she is merely pointing out the reality that the victim is the one who will most likely end up being hurt, not the perpetrator. A few of the posters here have said that they went to the police. I would caution against this.
    In my case, I was the only female cab driver in town, and was being ganged up on, bullied and sexually harassed by the male drivers. After a year and a half of complaining and nothing being done, I finally threatened to sue if the owner of the cab company did not stop it. I went to the EEOC, but they told me to go to the MCAD. The MCAD told me that since cabbies pay leases instead of get paychecks, they would not take my case. I called several attorneys, but they would either not take my case, or wanted $10,000 up front. So I went to the police 3 times asking for assistance. I was unaware that they were being sued for sexual harrasment by their own female police officers, and that the police had retaliated against the female officers by falsely accusing them. The police officers yelled at me and told me that I was “probably asking for it.” I called the district attorney, who would do nothing.
    I was informed by one cabbie that the other cab drivers were conspiring to destroy my sexual harrasment case, and that the owner of the cab company went to see his cop friend.
    One night, I was chased down by a cabbie who tried to punch me. When the police arrived, they made me stay in my car while they and the cabbies concocted a ridiculous story about how I beat them up. To humiliate and degrade me in front of the sexual harrassers, the police handcuffed me and arrested me, then threw me into a jail cell overnight. The cabbies took out a restraining order against me, and the DA who had refused to help me prosecuted me on false charges, threatening to put me in prison for 2 years and take away my house if I didn’t agree to go on probation. I was so terrified that I almost agreed to this.
    There is a police surveillance camera in the cab stand, but the police destroyed the videotape, and then fabricated evidence against me.
    I tried to file charges against the cab drivers who did this to me, for assault and battery and filing false police reports, but the DA refuses to prosecute them. The court just took my money, and these cabbies didn’t even have to show up to court.
    I tried filing a civil suit in Superior Court, but the same thing happened. The judge refused to give me a restraining order, refused to allow the video to be shown, and didn’t even make the cabbie show up for court. They just sent me a notice of dismissal.
    The police officer took my Hackney license away, so I lost my job. Since the charges against me were eventually dismissed, I tried to bring the police officer to court, since I was being punished without due process. The judge backed the police officer, even though he filed a false police report, and even used a fake name.
    The police and judges have rewarded all the sexual harrassers by writing off all of their traffic tickets, and ignoring all crimes they commit.
    On the other hand, I nearly lost my home to foreclosure, had my credit ruined, was publicly humiliated, and I now have a criminal record that keeps me from getting a job. There is no lawyer who is willing to bring the police to court, and since the cabbies are all scared of the police, I have no witnesses for the sexual harrasment.
    The female officers were not able to get justice either, as the judge intimidated their lawyer into not going to trial.
    Sexual harrasment laws are just a lot of propaganda. They are rarely enforced. Winning a case is so rare that when it happens, they put it in the newspaper, which gives women false hope. The reality is that you are more likely to win the lottery than to prevail in a sexual harrasment lawsuit.

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