James claims to be a victim of sexual discrimination at his workplace. Here is his story.
James:- I am in an unusual situation here. I have a contract for a film company in Hammersmith. All the bosses here are women, from the Project Leaders and Business Analysts to the Project Manager and also the Head of IT.
I don‘t know how it happened that way, but perhaps it is because it is a film company.
All the males there are at the bottom rung of the ladder, i.e. they are developers etc.
There are a few contractors here, but the permies, male and female, seem, for the most part, unfriendly towards the contractors. They never get an invite out for the Friday lunchtime drink in the pub.
Banter With Pakistani Guy
Anyway there is this Pakistani guy that I always have some banter with. It‘s typical male banter, you know the type of thing.
The IT manager called me in on Friday for a dressing down. She said that someone told her that I was very insulting to the Pakistani guy and it had to stop.
I told her that this astonished me as I was very friendly with him and that it was only a bit of banter. She wouldn‘t have any of it and said that it would have to stop or my contract would terminate immediately.
So, I had to promise to stop it!
I must say this stunned me quite a bit.
Spoke to Pakistani Guy
I spoke to the Pakistani guy and told him what had happened and he seemed very surprised. He even asked me to repeat it again it surprised him so much.
I asked anything I‘d said had offended him and he said very definitely and effusively that it hadn‘t. He said I was the person that he could get on with best in the place and that he wanted to keep in touch with me after I‘d left.
It looks as if someone was making trouble for me.
It also looks like the male banter that goes on between consenting males at most offices is fair game there.
Blatant Sexual Discrimination
I feel that this is a blatant piece of discrimination!
My worry is that I‘ve only got 5 weeks left to go on my contract, and I can‘t afford to be out of work for any length of time.
Any ideas on what I should do?
Dr. McLaughlin’s IT Surgery
The answer is obvious here, Eddie. You have to get your Pakistani friend to go and speak to the boss and tell her what he told you, i.e. that he considers you to be a friend, and that it is just banter and that he took no offence. Otherwise you‘re out on your ear Eddie boy.
They don‘t like contractors at any workplace who they think that are insulting the employees. That’s especially if they think that there is a possible racial connotation there.
Don‘t assume that your boss is discriminating against you on a sexual basis. She may just think that you‘ve been insulting him and that he doesn‘t like it but hasn‘t complained. She may feel that you are bullying him.
Worst Kind of Person
What you‘ve got here is the worst kind of person in any office. You‘ve got someone who is trying to cause trouble for you, either because you are a contractor, or because they are the kind of person who just likes to do this.
I think that once your Pakistani co-worker explains the situation, then I would expect that the IT manager would accept his word. She would then be pretty upset that one of her employees had given her some wrong information and embarrassed her.
You shouldn‘t let the scoundrel get away with it – and it is also your only hope of getting your contract renewed.
Now don‘t hang about. Do it straight away, or she‘ll think that you‘ve been stewing on it for days. The sooner you get the whole thing sorted out, the better.
Remember, you are totally in the right. You are not to blame in any way. You are a victim of sexual discrimination.
Get it sorted!
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