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What In The Archaic Social Expectations?

, , , , , | Working | June 23, 2022

I am a married woman working in construction. Most of my coworkers are men. As such, most of my work interactions are with men. Human Resources rarely leaves the office, so when they do, you know something is up.

I was in the middle of a task when a well-dressed woman came up and tapped me on the shoulder.

Me: “Yes?”

Human Resources: “[My Name]? I need you to come with me.”

Me: “Okay.”

We go to the main office where the site foreman is waiting.

Foreman: “Okay, [My Name]. You’re not in any trouble.”

Human Resources: “I just need to verify some things with you.”

Me: “Okay.”

Human Resources: “You’re close with [Male Installer], correct?”

Me: “I guess so. We work together.”

Human Resources: “But you also see each other outside of work?”

Me: “We go to lunch. What is this about?”

Foreman: “Do you eat alone?”

Me: “No, I just told you we go to lunch. It’s cheaper to carpool everyone.”

Human Resources: “So, you eat together?”

Me: “Me and [Male Installer] specifically? No. We all eat together.”

Human Resources: *With a disbelieving tone* “Never?”

Me: “No. Why?”

Human Resources: “If you are involved with someone at work, you know you need to notify HR.”

Me: “You think I’m involved with [Male Installer]?”

Human Resources: “Are you?”

Me: “No! Where did you come up with that?”

Foreman: “There was an anonymous tip that you two were… spending more time together than others.”

Me: “I never hang out one-on-one with any men who aren’t my husband or family.”

Human Resources: “Your coworkers are 95% men and you never see any of them exclusively?”

Me: “No.”

Human Resources: “Is there a reason for that?”

Me: “Up until now, it seemed like a good plan to avoid stupid questions.”

Foreman: “[My Name]!”

Human Resources: “I am only following up on an issue that was brought to our attention. There is no reason for name-calling.”

Me: “I didn’t call any names. I said this questioning is stupid. Did you ask [Male Installer] or any of the other guys I eat with every day?”

Human Resources: “Let’s just stay on task.”

Me: *Standing up* “Have a nice day, [Human Resources].”

Foreman: “[My Name], please sit down. Just let us get through this and you can go back to work.”

Me: “Unless you’re going to ask every single man I work with, it seems like you are targeting and harassing me.”

Human Resources: “[My Name], we are—”

Me: “Asking a married woman if she’s having an affair, but not asking the men she is accused of being involved with. I got it.”

Human Resources: “We have information based on an anonymous tip.”

Me: “I would love to see what I’ve been doing that is so damning.”

Human Resources: “We do not have to provide anything.”

Me: “Either fire me for misconduct on the job site or let me go back to work.”

[Human Resources] glared at me while [Foreman] looked at the floor. I walked out and went back to work without another word. Nobody asked me about [Male Installer] again, and as far as I know, none of the men were asked about our alleged affairs, either. I never found out who submitted this anonymous tip, but I sure would like to.

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