My Experience with Sexual Harassment Training in California

When I first arrived in Los Angeles, I had just finished college. I was young and looking for a job for the first time in the big city.

I can still remember my job interview. I was so nervous. I had practiced what I was going to say for hours the night before. I was an absolute wreck. But the morning of the interview, I managed to pull it together.

I put on my new business-Barbie type suit – a pencil skirt, a new white blouse, and my jacket. I inspected myself in the mirror. I really looked at the part. I was sure that my interviewer was going to see what an asset I would make to the company.

Starting Off on a Bad Foot

I waited for what felt like an hour in the company’s reception area. Finally, the door to the hiring manager’s office opened, and out came a young man. He looked about my age. He was smiling and laughing as he left.

“Oh, shoot,” I thought to myself. “He must have really wowed them. Why else would he have been in there for so long?

It seemed pointless to continue, but I was already there and had to give it a shot.

When I was called into the hiring manager’s office, he looked me up and down. It felt a little like stepping into a frat party like I was being evaluated on my looks. I pushed the thought to the back of my mind. “You’re just overreacting,” I told myself.

If I had only listened to myself at that moment, I might have saved myself a lot of heartaches.

The manager waved me in and told me to take a seat. He introduced himself. Let’s say his name was Greg.

The next thing out of his mouth seemed a little strange. “Where are you from?” He asked.

“I moved from Chicago,” I explained.

“No, no,” he said, waving his hand in front of his face. “I mean, what are you? With that blond hair, you look like you could be Russian. My wife is Russian,” he added with a smirk.

What was that? Was it a compliment? I had no idea. I hadn’t prepared for questions like these in my sessions.

So, I laughed it off and continued on with the interview.

There were a few other red flags I missed. Greg told me that I would “be some nice eye candy for the office.” I had never heard the term before and didn’t want to ask. Check out this link for more information about the types of sexual harassment.

“I like you,” he finally said. “I’ll give you a chance. Come in on Monday. And don’t wear such a long skirt,” and he winked at me.

All I heard was “Come in on Monday.” I was over the moon.

“You got it!” I told him. I cringe now, thinking about my enthusiastic response to being sexually harassed.

When Someone Tells You Who They Are, Let Them

It didn’t take long for Greg to make me uncomfortable at work. He would find excuses to come by my desk and lay his hand on my shoulder or press it against my lower back. I felt trapped; there was no way to move away in my tiny cubicle without making it apparent that I felt fouled by his touch.

But I loved the job. My other coworkers were great, I was learning a lot, and most importantly, I was making good money. But I knew I couldn’t take it much longer. Something had to change.

Finally, I went to my HR representative. I was nervous at first. I thought that somehow it would get back to Greg that I was “telling on him” and it would make him angry. He might even seek retribution. Learn more about California’s sexual harassment code by clicking the link.

Luckily, my HR representative understood the issue immediately.

“Look,” she said. “You’re a good worker and we don’t want to lose you. I’ll see what I can do.”

A Little Knowledge

The next week, everyone was called into the conference room. It seemed that my voice had been heard, and the company had scheduled a sexual harassment training session to help address my concerns. Click the link: for more information about sexual harassment training.

It was a long day. I felt uncomfortable. But as I looked around, I saw that I wasn’t the only one. Other women looked as though they had been undergoing the same things as I had.

Finally, we walked out of the conference room at the end of the day. One of my male coworkers was quick to complain. “What a pain,” he said.

Luckily, Greg shut him down. “Not everyone knows this,” he said. “It’s important information.”

I felt a weight lift from my shoulders. From that day on, Greg never touched me again.