I recently was asked to write an official claim for sexual harassment in the workplace. I had experienced sexual harassment before in the work environment, but this was only the second time that I felt the need to make an official complaint in writing, and the company I was working with encouraged and aided in the process. I know not everyone, especially those who do not have an HR department and understanding company will be able to take the same steps I did. I am writing this for those who might want an outline to go off of in case they decide to take similar action against the harassment they may come across.
As I mentioned previously, this was only the second time I felt the need to make an official complaint in writing, so I was more than a little nervous about any repercussions that might have come. This complaint was filed because I felt as a touring technician, the venue crew singled me out as the only female technician both on the touring crew and at the venue during my time working with them. Luckily the company I was touring with understood that what I experienced at the venue was unacceptable. I have taken names and many of the specific things said so as to keep the anonymity of everyone involved in this situation.
“In accordance with Discrimination Laws, Harassment is defined as creating an environment that:
- humiliates you
- offends you
- intimidates you
- is hostile
- is degrading
In the instances following, the Touring Technician of the visiting company experienced
Consistent comments from the venue crew about the technician’s sexual life which included comments such as her supervising manager must never get bored on the road and making vulgar gestures when discussing the technician when they thought no one could see or hear them.
Pestering and assumptions about the touring technician’s skill level, including being told to simply “deal with it” because that’s not how they have done things previously.
In instances that I have previously seen, it is highly unlikely that a male technician would have had this line of questioning and commentary directed to them even with less experience and as such I felt that I was being harassed as the only female on the entire crew at the venue.
In general, the behaviour of the venue crew made the touring technician feel that her gender, personal life, and professional skill set were called into question and mocked openly. This is by no means appropriate behaviour for the workplace, especially for visiting crew.”
After the Company Manager that I was on tour with had read my official complaint (with names stated, and specific things said added in), he assured me that he wanted to sit down with both myself and my supervising manager (our touring Technical Manager) so he can have a debrief from both of us of what exactly happened and how we would like to proceed. I was again quite nervous and for lack of better terms, felt that this was almost like being on trial. This was not the Company Manager’s intent to make me feel this way, but unfortunately, it is an easy train of thought to jump on.
Now I would like to make something quite clear, it is perfectly okay to not know what outcome you want or how you would like to proceed. It is also completely understandable if you do not feel comfortable reporting such matters publicly. I knew I didn’t want the venue crew to be fired, but I also knew I wanted to be treated with as much respect as any other touring crew they would have had. But that was about all I knew I wanted. Making such claims official can be nerve-racking and can oftentimes make you question if you should have even said anything in the first place, but every little bit helps with ensuring females feel they can legitimise future reports if needed.
Should you need any more help, SoundGirls has a useful guide that helped me when I wrote this claim above. Several of the steps I had already taken without realising it.