Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Accommodating the disability.

I used to work at a place where there was one client who was mentally competent but was extremely grabby with female caregivers and on at least one instance masturbated in front of one. (He once grabbed me by the back of the head and shoved me down towards his crotch, urggh. I was able to break free before making contact, but urggh.) Management's solution was to put a note in his chart: "MALE CAREGIVERS ONLY." Not "we will no longer be providing service to this person," and certainly not "we will be pursuing legal action," but just a simple accommodation of his little problem.

I was reminded of this yesterday when I went to HR to complain about a coworker who had been treating me extremely disrespectfully because--although I'm more than a year senior to him in the organization--I'm just a little girl. HR's response: "Hm, it sounds like he needs to work with a man." No, it sounds like he needs to work somewhere else, dammit. I know firing and hiring aren't as easy as all that, I understand where she's coming from, but it still pisses me off.

Being an asshole isn't a special need.


  1. When the asshole is a paying customer business will usually try to "accommodate" the customer so that they can continue to collect money from them. I have been asked to do all sorts of stupid shit at work in the name of "The Customer"

    However with an employee it's a different story. That jackass needs to either figure out how to deal with you on equal terms or go find another job.

  2. Yes, Keith makes a good point. You have a lot of leverage with HR because from the sound of it, you have evidence to go tribunal for sex discrimination? Maybe if you make the right scary noises at them, they'll take action without the need for that - but if they don't do something about the situation, they are liable, too.

  3. RE: "Being an asshole is not a special need."

    Amen to that.

    Here's a brilliant idea: what if we held males in this society to the same standards of behavior we hold females? So instead of saying to the females, "boys will be boys - we have to accomodate them," we say to the males, "No. No, you can't do that." Wouldn't that be lovely?

    P.S.: I use "female" and "male" here simply to apply the concepts to individuals of all ages, e.g.: women and girls, men and boys.

  4. Not cool at all. On the other hand, I would think you have an excellent basis for a sexual-harassment lawsuit against the company if things progress at all and you're feeling litigious... now there is a paper trail that shows you complained and the company failed to take action.

  5. my county has a sure fire way to prevent this kind of shit. Zero tolerance. first time is the last time, no problem. i have worked in EMS for over 20 years and this is the solution for this type of employee.(other than non PC disposal)
    Lawrence is right, you have got 'em by the short hairs. put it in writing (i don't believe in verbal complaints) and don't tolerate a brush off from HR.

  6. In my country it's pretty hard to fire people (which most of the time I consider a good thing). But I'd still be annoyed with "He needs to work with a male colleague." I'd figure, no, he needs to be taught proper human behaviour so he doesn't pull this rubbish with other colleagues in future, or with friends or family.

  7. The guy was, indeed, moved to working with a man. It kind of ticks me off that he still works here, but I don't have the authority to ask for that--he's no longer my problem, so I don't have grounds to complain.

  8. I used to work at a bar where one of the general managers was a sleazy guy who was notorious for groping the female servers. For some reason, they'd always vent about it to me and this male bartender. I sympathized for a while, but then I started telling them that I didn't want to hear about it and that they should stand up for themselves. In hindsight, the bartender and I probably should've said something to the owner, but we never did and the guy was enough of a jackass that he got fired all by himself a few months later.

    Kudos to you for having the backbone and self-respect to do something about it. I say take it as far as you can.

  9. "Being an asshole isn't a special need."