Names and minor details have been changed, but otherwise this story is 100% true:
My friend Greg is an eminently employable fellow with a graduate degree in an in-demand field. In his management-level position paying well into six figures, he was responsible with overseeing both technical and customer-facing facets of a business. He was also forced to work alongside office managers who were retail-lifers that resented the salary and power commanded by a younger man. Greg’s particular office manager was a late 30s twice-divorced single mother, who had been terminated from her last job for having sex with a subordinate on the premises. Despite her worthlessness as a person, Greg’s relationship with her was cordial leading up to the incident that cost him his job.
One day, a young girl was sent on a temp job to be managed by Greg. The girl was incapable of doing even basic tasks. Greg’s office was understaffed to begin with, but he had to put up with someone who made stupid mistakes that could have led to serious liability for the company. Nonetheless, my friend was patient with her for a while, until he decided to be honest after she made the same mistake several times in a row. All Greg said was “This isn’t difficult. I need you to start doing this the right way.” The girl started crying immediately and wouldn’t work for the rest of the day.
Greg explained the situation to the office manager divorcée and asked her to send the emotional girl home because she wasn’t contributing anything and was causing a scene. Greg was forced to grind out the rest of the day solo. He chalked it up to a bad day and thought the matter was finished.
When he arrived to work later that week, Greg was barraged by district, regional, and loss prevention managers. Unbeknownst to him, the two women had discussed the matter and gave a statement to HR that Greg was a terror to work for and created the nebulous and dreaded “hostile work environment” for females. My friend was astonished — he had a clean record, never had a formal complaint, and had in fact increased profitability at his location. The death blow came when the office manager alleged that Greg had called her a certain offensive word for the female anatomy. The young girl subordinate lied and corroborated this story, and he was promptly terminated.
Greg asked for notice, explanation, or rebuttal. He was afforded none of these things. The company maintained that they did not owe him an exit interview and because he was in an at-will employment state. He also requested a formal hearing and was turned down.
Greg collected only four weeks of unemployment before he found another job, but was later sued by the company for the money because he was terminated for misconduct. He didn’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a lawyer to fight for a piddling $1700 in unemployment, so he elected to defend himself in the case. He attended a hearing via conference call, where the crying girl didn’t even show up. The office manager and company personnel assailed his character until Greg was allowed to ask questions to the sworn-in office manager:
Greg: “Did I ever directly or indirectly call you that word?”
(there was a long silence on the line)
Judge: “Answer the question please”
Office Manager: “Well…I don’t remember.”
Judge: “You gave a statement and another employee corroborated it. Did it or did it not happen?
Office Manager: “…Well…it didn’t really happen EXACTLY that way…but he made me feel really bad at work.”
The judge confirmed that he never actually said the word that got him fired. Greg was allowed to keep the unemployment he had collected to that point, but never received reinstatement, compensation, or even an apology from his old company despite being fired for allegations were obviously false.
Greg was obviously pissed off and considered suing the company for wrongful termination, but ultimately did nothing. Many employers in his industry ask about prior wrongful termination suits in job interviews, and a friend in the industry advised that it was doubly damning if you were fired for creating a work environment hostile to women. He investigated the possible monetary settlements and, factoring in the attorney fees and extended litigation necessary for a relatively small dollar figure, decided to move on with his life.
A woman replaced him at his position.
Corporations are now so bent on political correctness that they will take an unsubstantiated claim from a woman and end a man’s job or even career over it. This is a frighteningly common occurrence in a society that protects perceived “rights” of women in the workplace at the cost of truth, honor, or justice.
Things ultimately worked out well for Greg. He has a skill that is highly-paid and in-demand, so he was able to find another job almost immediately. Most men who are victims of HR terrorism are not so lucky. The moral of Greg’s story: if you must work a corporate job, always cover your ass at work and remember who your true masters are. If you wish to keep your job you must document everything and fly as far under the radar of the female-dominated culture as possible, because there is rarely a good way to fight back.
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