Me Too Has Been Needed For Decades

, , , , | Working | October 25, 2020

It is the 1990s. I work in media. Occasionally, many of us who work together attend events in the city.

After work, several of us attend an event downtown. There is quite a bit of alcohol and everyone’s having a lot of fun. I happen to hear the local sales manager, who is pretty drunk, tell my female coworker, who is bisexual and has a girlfriend:

Local Sales Manager: “You should let me join you for a three-way!”

She laughs him off and goes on with her evening. The next day, I ask her about it.

Coworker #1: “He has asked me that several times but I haven’t done anything about it since he’s my boss.”

I mention this to another coworker.

Coworker #2: “[Local Sales Manager] has told me that I would be really hot in bed if I would lose weight.”

She also didn’t do anything about it since he was also her boss! He is not my boss. The general manager is, but he is also the local sales manager’s boss, and they’re also buddies.

I mention to my boss, the general manager, what happened.

General Manager: “It wasn’t a work event, and [Local Sales Manager] didn’t mean anything by it; they were just having fun.”

The usual cover-up crap. I decide to mention it to the head of HR.

Two days later, the local sales manager is given the option to resign or be fired. He chooses to resign. I’m still annoyed by this, but it’s the mid-90s. I mention to the general manager that he should have been straight-out fired but he tells me that they wanted him to be able to find another job, especially since he’s married and has small children.

General Manager: “If anyone calls and asks about him, our company policy is just to verify that they have worked there and point them to HR.”

Two weeks later, I receive a call from a general sales manager from a different media company.

Other Company Manager: “[Ex-Local Sales Manager] has applied here and put down [General Manager] as his reference, but I can’t get a hold of him. I figured that local sales managers usually work closely with someone in your position and so I am wondering if you could give me a reference?”

My brain takes a moment to implode. After a shortish pause, I tell him in the most “you know what I mean” voice ever:

Me: “I would love to tell you how I personally feel about [Ex-Local Sales Manager] and why he left his position here. But unfortunately, our policy is to only tell you that he was employed here and you should contact HR for any additional information.”

Other Company Manager: “…I totally understand. Thank you for your time.”

I tell the general manager that he missed the call and I spoke with him. He looks like he is going to soil himself. I tell him exactly what I said but without the emphasis or tone. Color returns to his face.

General Manager: “Okay, good.”

Our ex-local sales manager did not get the job. I’m sure he eventually got one but I was very pleased that I hopefully made it a little harder for him.


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