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Sexual harasament allegation


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Hi there. I'm actually shacking as I type this as it is hard for me to admit/talk about.

 

On Thursday I am to attend a Disciplinary hearing. Last October the 30th I was involved in some banter with two of my colleagues. The first subject we were talking about was equal opportunities. I had said 'If you were a coloured female ? in a wheelchair it would tick all the boxes employers seem to have to cover these days' I had then gone onto say 'I ticked I was bisexual on my application.'

 

Both colleges then gave each other side ward looks. I panicked and said 'only to tick a box'. The conversation then went on to talking about the dating app Tinder. My colleague asked why I was on it as I had a partner. I told her I had downloaded it with a friend when we were having a glass of wine just to see who we knew on there. I told them that I had even ticked male and female and had put in the information just looking for friends. Colleague A then said 'I think you are bisexual' after the looks I had receive just minuets before I panicked at their reaction and tried to turn it into a joke. now here's the bit im totally ashamed of and even embarrassed to type.

 

I replied why. she said she thought I was very tactile. I replied 'what its not like I go around doing this all the time' and placed my hand on colleague B's breast for literally a tap. Both colleagues laughed and colleague B went for her lunch. I did apologise to colleague B after twice and thought the matter to be resolved. I was then called into see the manager two days later to be told I had been suspended pending investigation. Here are my problems:

 

A/ I thought honesty was the best policy. I put my hands up strait away and admitted I was wrong. But I didn't want to play the blame game so although they know about colleague A calling me out on being bisexual I hadn't spoken about the previous conversation. If I bring it up on Thursday will I look like I'm making up stories?

 

B/I received their statements and both have wiped out the second part of the conversation making me look like I'm a complete liar for a. saying about my application and b.my statement being different. Can I really address this professionally without looking like a liar. There are no other witnesses.

 

C/I am sorry for my actions and this is why I didn't bring up about the previous conversation or give empathies to how being questioned about my sexuality made me feel. I am so angry after reading their statements that the whole truth hasn't been told. Can I bring it up this late into things?

 

D/I was told that the colleague had gone to management but after reading the statements it seems to have got there through word of mouth. Not only has this broken confidentiality but its made working for the company very awkward for me in the future. especially the points about my sexuality. I have been repositioned since the end of dec while the investigation went on but staff move around a lot and with rumours my anxiety is through the roof. Especially as this has gone on so long.

 

There are other facts I have had to leave out that don't really affect the big picture or overview but I have admitted to save the reputation of the company I work for. I have never been accused of anything like this before.

 

sorry its so long many thanks for reading

Edited by honeybee13
Paras.
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Hi there. I'm actually shacking as I type this as it is hard for me to admit/talk about. On Thursday I am to attend a Disciplinary hearing. Last October the 30th I was involved in some banter with two of my colleagues. The first subject we were talking about was equal opportunities. I had said 'If you were a coloured female ? in a wheelchair it would tick all the boxes employers seem to have to cover these days' I had then gone onto say 'I ticked I was bisexual on my application.' Both colleges then gave each other side ward looks. I panicked and said 'only to tick a box'. The conversation then went on to talking about the dating app Tinder. My colleague asked why I was on it as I had a partner. I told her I had downloaded it with a friend when we were having a glass of wine just to see who we knew on there. I told them that I had even ticked male and female and had put in the information just looking for friends. Colleague A then said 'I think you are bisexual' after the looks I had receive just minuets before I panicked at their reaction and tried to turn it into a joke. now here's the bit im totally ashamed of and even embarrassed to type. I replied why. she said she thought I was very tactile. I replied 'what its not like I go around doing this all the time' and placed my hand on colleague B's breast for literally a tap. Both colleagues laughed and colleague B went for her lunch. I did apologise to colleague B after twice and thought the matter to be resolved. I was then called into see the manager two days later to be told I had been suspended pending investigation. Here are my problems:

A/ I thought honesty was the best policy. I put my hands up strait away and admitted I was wrong. But I didn't want to play the blame game so although they know about colleague A calling me out on being bisexual I hadn't spoken about the previous conversation. If I bring it up on Thursday will I look like I'm making up stories?

B/I received their statements and both have wiped out the second part of the conversation making me look like I'm a complete liar for a. saying about my application and b.my statement being different. Can I really address this professionally without looking like a liar. There are no other witnesses.

C/I am sorry for my actions and this is why I didn't bring up about the previous conversation or give empathies to how being questioned about my sexuality made me feel. I am so angry after reading their statements that the whole truth hasn't been told. Can I bring it up this late into things?

D/I was told that the colleague had gone to management but after reading the statements it seems to have got there through word of mouth. Not only has this broken confidentiality but its made working for the company very awkward for me in the future. especially the points about my sexuality. I have been repositioned since the end of dec while the investigation went on but staff move around a lot and with rumours my anxiety is through the roof. Especially as this has gone on so long.

 

There are other facts I have had to leave out that don't really affect the big picture or overview but I have admitted to save the reputation of the company I work for. I have never been accused of anything like this before.

 

sorry its so long many thanks for reading

 

This isn't likely what you want to hear, but I think you will have an uphill struggle to show unfair dismissal.

 

How long have you worked at the company?.

 

You are facing two major challenges.

A) there are statements that you dispute : but they have been made by two people, and you are just one.

B) on the face of it, from your posting, you may have thought you were "only joking", but you could well have been accused of sexual assault!.

 

The conversation was sexual in its nature. You touched a colleagues breast (even a brief / light "tap" is touching!). You aren't claiming they consented (indeed, you apologised to them after).

 

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/42/section/3

 

3 Sexual assault

 

(1) A person (A) commits an offence if—

(a) he intentionally touches another person (B),

(b) the touching is sexual,

© B does not consent to the touching, and

(d) A does not reasonably believe that B consents.

(2) Whether a belief is reasonable is to be determined having regard to all the circumstances, including any steps A has taken to ascertain whether B consents.

 

Even though no-one is suggesting this needs to be a police matter, the company can reasonably conclude you sexually assaulted a colleague, making a dismissal for gross misconduct entirely fair. I take it your statement didn't try to claim that the touching was accidental or that they had consented?

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Hi, I am afraid I agree. No amount of context will make this action acceptable. In fact having "banter" about serious diversity issues makes you sounds racist/sexist too. Your colleagues have done you a favour if they have left that out of the statements.

 

Grovel and claim a moment of madness with no sexual intent.

 

And this matter of whether you are bisexual or not? Would not matter if you believed in equality for bisexual people and that they were normal. No decent person would see it as something to have a laugh about. Stop using that as a defence too!

 

Sincere grovelling is really the only option.

Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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I think you can explain the context without feeling too ebarrassed. E.g your colleagues noticed you on Tinder/ Bi listing and about the general conversation. The contact was not sexual and related to the conversation that all 3 of you were engaged in. The touching of the breast was a response to them saying that you were very tactile and they thought you were Bi. You could say that the slight sexual nature of the conversation by all 3 people involved was in hindsight not appropriate for the workplace.

 

Reading between the lines, I think the girl whose breast you touched has been embarrassed into making the complaint by other colleagues. It may be the case that they did not think much about it, but have been subject to banter by colleagues, so thought they had to complain about it.

 

You should take someone to the meeting with you who you trust to be able to guide you where needed and to take notes.

We could do with some help from you.

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BazzaS- I'm hoping I'm not dismissed yet. Im trying to show my feelings to the investigation which I didn't do before due to a.being embarrassed about my sexuality and b.not wanting to make it about me but admit I was wrong. I have worked for them 18 months so know I won't be able to go for unfair dismissal any way. The fact that they got together and obviously discussed what they were going to say really upset me. This really was a moment of complete stupidity that I regret but I have tried to be honest and complient from the start. This will be harder to show now

 

Emmzzi-They missed out the bit that we were talking about Tinder when the event took place. The only bit they left in there statement was the equal opportunity part. I'm starting to think there is more than the event that took place as why else would they only mention the worse part of that whole conversation. Not that for any moment I don't agree it's my actions that got me here.

 

I am female and bisexual. The part about equality wasn't something we were joking about but discussing. Thank you for pointing out that it comes across like that and I will look at wording it better if I need to again. I do believe there SHOULD be equality for everyone. After growing up in a Catholic household where my mother's own words (when she was discussing someone else) were 'bisexuality is just greed' I have always struggled with telling people.

 

unclebulgaria67- Thank you for your wording. And sadly I do think your rite about being pressured into making a complaint, as I have made a complaint about the other colleague before but management didn't want to take it further. If they had it would have been gross misconduct as well. After my complaint 6 different complaints were made about me. Even as stupid as I put my coat on their hanger and didn't seem to care?!

 

I am bringing the assistant manager of the position I've been temporarily placed in.

 

Many thanks for your kind thought..many thanks to you all

Edited by honeybee13
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Just a note here.

 

*IF* the management found out indirectly eg gossip about the event they would be duty bound to investigate, if they failed to do so, they would potentially be found liable. So do not yet assume that there has been a deliberate complaint against you that triggered this.

 

Sadly the 18 months service weakens your case substantially :(

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I think you have a broader question here about whether you are "in" or "out" at work. That's your personal choice, but being undecided seems to have confounded matters :(

Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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Just wanted to update all those who kindly gave advice. I wont go through everything but there were some holes in the allegations told. Due to me being honest and remorseful (and I challenged my disagreements delicately) I was given a written warning.

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A decent enough outcome I would say.

 

Take it easy.

Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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A Good result.

 

I learned the hard way to keep personal life and work life separate. It definitely reduces problems in the long run. :)

PLEASE HELP US TO KEEP THIS SITE RUNNING

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The SabreSheep, All information is offered on good faith and based on mine and others experiences. I am not a qualified legal professional and you should always seek legal advice if you are unsure of your position.

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