Quietly's Story... Mysterious Woman: Discrimination In The Work Place
This is my story.
Hi, I will go by the name of Quietly and where do I start? I am a full time career Fire Lieutenant, the first female
officer ever on the " Fire" side of this organization. This is a metropolitan
department that serves over a million people.
I have been in this
line of work for 9 years. In this time I have experienced many
positive experiences. These experiences though have been clouded with
various incidents of discrimination/harassment. I always prided
myself in confronting an individual if something happened, and then I
would go on with my life. This is a male dominated field.
Some of these incidents included; having things stolen from my
locker, my car keys got "misplaced" one day and when I came in the
next day with the spare keys, my car was stolen from the parking lot.
I was threatened with physical harm, including basically a death
threat. This all happened BEFORE I was promoted.
After my promotion, which I was the First Female to take this
role I encountered more things. My reports, which are legal documents
began to "Disappear". My boss was paying very close attention to any
overtime I was working but not to the other male co-workers. Then he
began to degrade me. Making off color remarks implying, I was a lewd
woman. This label then carried over to my new assignment. Again I was
subjected to threats, but this time it was more blatant and included
more then one individual. Mind you, during this time I am married to a
Man in the same job. This went as far as one individual, a superior
actually coming after me. When I reported this I was told I was thin
skinned. I began to believe it. He also suggested I should just "stay
in my office". I still tried to handle this basically by myself.
Then my world came crashing down. I was ordered to give a
deposition regarding another woman who was fired. I did not want to
go. When I went to my union for help, they said I was not in trouble,
so they could not represent me and felt I did not need a attorney. I
knew in doing this it would only make my world even more difficult. I
felt like a woman who was forced to testify about a rape. But in that
instance at least the woman has some legal protection or the right to
refuse to testify, I did not have this luxury. I was thrust back into
my work environment with no protection. Then the backlash began.
My personal work items were being messed with, to the point
where I could not do my job. I was threatened to be reported if I
testified at this court case. I was pressured to disclose this
information to the administration and was told " I didn't want to
make a enemy out of boss" and that " The boss was going to pursue
these allegations with or without my cooperation". With this pressure
and a promise of confidentiality I relented and told my story. What a
mistake!!!! The boss said after getting my signed statement he could
not keep this confidential. Word spread like wild fire. I was a "Rat".
I was ostrasized even more then before. I began to have panic
attacks. I was scared to death. I began to think I was crazy. In
desperation I went to our Employees Assistance Program. This program
is run interdepartmentally. After speaking to the counselor, about a
week later, as I would walk by a member would whistle the "Looney
Tunes" theme. I was a wreak. My only avenue to discuss this was also
I was at the breaking point. I would jump if some
knocked on the door. The last straw was when I received a phone call
at home from a co-worker who told me I was being set-up at work, he
was very upset and said they were trying to get him involved. I
couldn't take anymore, ironically I was also scheduled to see
the "Big Boss" about the same time regarding my testimony. I began to
shake, I am a strong woman who has endured some tough times growing
up, but this was just too much. I shook like someone who had been
exposed to freezing temperatures for hours. After years in this job I
finally " fell apart". I began to think like a desperate person. I
knew I could not work and be affective in this state of mind. I went
and got help. I was going to quit and was encouraged to do so by my
counselor. But I did not. I stayed out for 3 months and then went
back to work in a different area.
I am slowly recovering from this, and ironically I never filed a
claim with the EEOC, although everyone thinks I should. I still
proceed with caution, I will never be the same , happy go lucky
person I was, but I'll continue to love my work, and try to protect
myself from those who want to hurt me.
Thank you for your time and I am a survivor of discrimination.