The purpose of this Web Site is twofold. (1) I am in the process of posting items on the Internet that will hopefully inform, enlighten and help women as they go through the process, after an incident of workplace sexual harassment and the inherent retaliation and (2) help other women decide if standing up for what they believe is right and protected under the law, is worth the price and pain that they will have to suffer in their quest to correct an injustice.
The posting will take my personal experiences and hopefully describe “what really happens” when you decide that “enough is enough” and that you have the responsibility to yourself and others to stand up and be counted. It is not a pretty picture.
This site is not a commercial venture. The purpose of telling my story, and the stories of others, is to give us a voice and is in the furtherance of our constitutional rights of free speech. The Internet is a place open to the public and/or is a public forum and enjoys full first amendment protection.
If NavCom sues me over this Web Site, they will have to prove that something I said is false. I do not believe that they will ever be able to do that. If they try to get my Web Site removed from the Internet, I will host the site with an offshore company, that is beyond their reach. I want nothing from NavCom. I only want to tell my story and hopefully help others tell their stories. Maybe together we can make a difference.
Another personal benefit of this Web Site is to clear my name. Since I left the company the only story told, was by management. It is now my turn.
There becomes a time or moment in your life that either YOU define YOUR life or life defines it for YOU. I believe my moment came in January/February 1996. I went with what I knew was right, not what was probably the most prudent decision. I could have ducted and weave through the generally accepted NavCom corporate structure of keeping your mouth shut, or stood up for what I believed was right. I took what I believed was the high road, but this road led me to financial ruin and open ended questions of an uncertain future.
Legal documents and forms that I have used or have been used against me (court filings and papers, letters, etc.) will be posted on this site to help you understand the process facing you.
If any of you have read the book or seen the movie, A Civil Action, you will have a better understanding of what I am trying to accomplish. I recommend both the book and the movie. A Civil Action is a non-fictional account of a civil trial that includes personal profiles of the individuals from both sides, and an insightful glance at our legal system. The story, as presented in the book, is not about sexual harassment, but about the legal process. Before anyone decides if they want to put themselves at the mercy of the court system, and most notably on the firing line against the highly paid, but in my opinion, ethically bankrupt corporate attorneys, who will be challenging you, you must first understand the path upon which you may or may not want to travel. Can you take the heat and the retaliation?
Probably a better book would be The Insider, published this year and made into an award winning movie. It is about Jeffery Wigand, who tried to “out” the tobacco industry for their lies and deceit regarding the potential dangers of their product. I believe what happen to him, as he tried to fight an opponent with vast financial resources, parallels the tactics used by NavCom Defense Electronics, Inc. against me and anyone else who has tried to right an injustice. The tobacco industry dug into his personal life, spread lies, ruined his chances for employment in his field of expertise and generally retaliated against him unfairly and with malicious intent.
After visiting this Web Site, you may be inspired to fight or you may decide that the fight is not worth what it does to your life. Only you can decide. My decision was to fight. That may not be the best course for you.
Your story is important. I plan to present the stories of others in order to help us all understand what happens to women in the workplace, when they report sexual harassment or any wrongdoing by a powerful management structure . Each story is at the same time different and similar, depending on the circumstances. The more information that we have, the more informed decisions that we can make. Informed women, make better decisions. If you decide to fight, it can alter your life in ways that you cannot imagine.
Fighting is NOT fun. It is not for the light of heart. But I believe that I have no choice. I can not spend the millions of dollars nor have the resources of a law firm of 250 attorneys at my disposal. My other choice would be to put my tail between my legs and crawl off into the sunset. That I will not do. Collectively, we can fight these justices with information. Information and public disclosure, will be the tool used in ensure a future cure of workplace equality.
You can reach me at my email address. The questions listed below are just a suggestion, a starting place. The questions are applicable to someone who has just been harassed and doesn’t know where to turn to someone in the middle of the process, or to someone who has already experienced the where, what, who, and how, of workplace sexual harassment and retaliation.. Each story is important. You can provide your personal information, or just remain anonymous, your identity will not be used without your permission. It is your story I need, I have no desire to make you feel uncomfortable, or make a public disclosure of your life. I am using my story as an example, this will include many public court documents, to help and give you a better understanding of the process.
Some women are fighting and putting their lives on the line. Just recently, Lt. General Claudia Kennedy really put herself on the firing line for all of us. As the highest ranking female Army officer, she just could have retired, and walked off into retirement and possibly a high paying job in private industry. But instead, she went public with a cause that she believes in. Her choice to do the right thing, probably cost her post retirement employment (corporate boys don’t like women who speak out), her privacy and the spotlight of public scrutiny.
In 1996, Lt. General Kennedy was harassed by a another General. She informally reported the harassment to her superior and then took the Army’s word that the accused General would be reprimanded. Then to her surprise and dismay, the General was recently promoted to the post of Deputy Inspector General. His new job would put him in charge of investigating Army wrongdoing, including sexual harassment. This General Kennedy could not stomach, so she made a formal complaint and the headlines. What a brave thing to do.
Collectively we can make a difference. Please help yourself and others by standing up and being counted. Let’s not leave heroines like General Kennedy fight for us, we should doing everything to help her and others.
Samples of information needed:
By Who? Where?
Did you report it to the company?
What did they do?
Did you feel threatened, after coming forward?
Did they protect the abuser?
Did your job change after you reported the harassment?
Was the abuser disciplined?
Did they believe you? Or try to blame you?
Did the company have policies in place against harassment? Did they follow those policies?
Did the company stand by you or the abuser?
How did the report change your life?
Did your family emotionally support you?
Did your co-workers support you?
Did you ever take the action further? To the EEOC?, An Attorney?, The Courts?, Mediation?, Arbitration? If so, what was the outcome?
Knowing now what you would face, would you do the right thing again?
Did the action or inaction of the company have any impact on your mental or physical well being?
Did the abuser threaten you?
Do you still have your job? Has your job status changed?
Generally, how do you feel today? Do you feel the process re-victimized the victim? Or was your report handled professionally and resolved to your satisfaction?
What did you learn from this experience?
If you would like to read other stories, visit the National Organization for Women (NOW) Web Site. NOW has a posting board for the stories of other women. I believe to date, there are over 300 postings. My plan, with your help, is to have thousands of stories, so I can report trends of corporate behavior, improve my and your understanding of the pitfalls and the processes we face as individuals, when you talk about and report workplace abuses. Men are welcome to respond, as sexual harassment against men, is becoming a more common occurrence.
My aim for the book, is to give and receive fair insight. There are companies out there, that act in a responsible and responsive manner, when faced with workplace sexual abuse and there are companies that do not. I need both sides of the story. This is my story. During the telling of my story, I will make references to a Elizabeth. These references will be made only as they apply to my story, and my participation as a witness in her case, and mentioned only so you can understand the how’s, where’s and why of my journey. Elizabeth’s case is still in the courts. It can only be her decision to share her story, upon the completion of her case, if she chooses.