My company partners with another company that trains people to use their software. We provide our training room, they train people. The students (these are adult students, usually approximately 30+) are usually a mild annoyance – personal calls in our lobby while we are trying to work, wandering into secured spaces, etc, but generally are polite and leave us alone unless they are asking where the bathroom is, what restaurants are nearby, etc.
We were getting ready to have lunch one day and I walked to the kitchen with my tupperware to heat it up. Two students were standing in the hall. As I walked by (wearing jeans a plain black cotton shirt, showing nothing) and flip flops (it was casual Friday), one of the men said “mmmm you bring enough for two?” I turned around and looked at him. He looked me up and down and said “mmmmm” I rushed to the kitchen not sure what to do – I was at work! I get harassed on the street and in bars quite often, and I always stand up for myself – I will tell a guy he is gross, he is disrespectful, he needs to not touch me, I will call the police, etc- but at work, I didn’t know what to do. I can’t push him, or scream anything, because it’s my OFFICE.
I sat down to have lunch still fuming, while my (male) coworker laughed – he didnt understand – and I decided I was reporting it as best I could – I called upstairs, spoke to our office manager, and “reported” the incident, but the class w as over and he was leaving for good. He was waiting for the elevator down as I waited for the elevator up to report him. He gave me a little wave, knowing there was nothing I could do, while his buddy stood by looking visibly uncomfortable with what happened but not saying anything. I did, at that point, give him the finger. We don’t have any control over the students, so we couldn’t find out who he was or where he was from or do anything, which was, of course, frustrating but understandable.
All that has happened since is that students are no longer supposed to be in the lobby, but no one can enforce it.
It was my work. If there’s one place I should feel safe from this nonsense it’s in my locked up office that requires a badge to access it. Awful day. Was a few months ago now and I still get anxious if students are in the hall.
Submitted by Anonymous on 06/08/2010
Location: Office in Reston, VA
Time of Harassment: Day Time (9:30A-3:30P)
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