Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I think I'm being Sexually Harrassed

So I have been working in a very small company for over 8 years now.  They were great with my pregnancy.  Allowing me the time I needed for my appointments and giving me 3 months off work. 

With my son Matt I was unable to breastfeed him for the entire year.  He was a lazy eater and since he really didn't latch on, it dried up.  So with my daughter I was on a mission to try again.  It was rough trying to nurse my baby in the NICU but with the help of her nurse I was able to get her to latch on eventually.  And by the time we left the hospital my milk was coming in.

Because of my Placenta Previa the doctor decided to do an early c-section delivery.  So I really wanted her to get all the benefits from the breastmilk.  When I was home I followed the same feeding schedule she had in the hospital, every 3 hours. 

Fast Forward....I returned to work when she was 3 months.  I bring my pump with me everyday to work and try to pump at 9:30 am, noon, and at 3:30 pm.  It is hard to pump at work.  Not only do I have to deal with working around my work schedule, meetings, and unexpectedness, but Sexual Harrassment?  Tell me what you think.

I carry my pump in a black bag.  I pump in a conference room that no one really uses.  It is the only place with a lock that I would be able to use.  When it is time for me to pump I inform my assistant that I am going up and she knows why.  In case anyone is looking for me, they all know what I am doing.  I store the milk in our community refrigerator in our mini breakroom.  And at the end of the day, I collect my bottles, stick them in my bag, and leave.

But here is where the SEXUAL HARRASSMENT or some kind of HARRASSMENT comes to place.  When I go to pump there is one co-worker who always has jokes.  And lately I had either ignored it, laughed it off, or just played along but let me tell you what broke the camel's back.  Please keep in mind I have been doing this for 3 months already. 

Yesterday, I had just finished pumping.  I went to store my milk in the refrigerator, and guess who was in the breakroom.  He was grabbing at his boob acting as if he was squeezing milk out into a container he had on the table.  I laughed it off like usual.  Put my milk in the refrigerator and when to wash my pump.  As I was in the restroom, I wondered enough is enough.  Should I be offended, would someone else be offended.  Would you like to be called a cow?  Would you like jokes being told about you every time you go pump?  Would you say something?  Do you think this is harrassment?  What if one of the owners is in on the jokes too?  Who do you go to then? 

Breastfeeding my baby is very important to me.  That is why I pump everyday, drink Mother's milk tea to keep producing milk, and even take pills so keep the milk flowing.  I face those kinds challenges everyday, why should I have to put up with this too.  I have 6 more months of this, what to do?  What would you do?


Jessica S. said...

I am not sure this falls under "sexual" harassment, but it IS harassment!

First of all, good for you pumping at work! It is an inspiration to mom's every where to see other women have such dedication to doing what is right for there babies!

Secondly, this man is an ass hat. I am so sorry you have to deal with this. Something needs to be done. Have you spoken with HR? I recommend calling them and letting them know what is going on. They will be able to tell you for sure which category of harassment this falls under and help you take the steps necessary to insure this does not continue. In Oregon, we have a zero tolerance policy which means any type of harassment is not "He said, She said". It is cut and dry and something will be done.

You are in my thoughts :-)

The Digital Latina said...

I'm so sorry you're going through this hassle of dealing with a jerk. Can you bring these series of incidents to your HR department?

Eva Smith said...

Definitely seems like some type of workplace harassment. First of all make sure you document all of the incidents that occurred on paper. Approach your coworker and let him know that his behavior is unacceptable. If it continues don't keep reminding him, just go straight to HR department to mediate the situation. Best of luck.

Unknown said...

This really sucks! And yes I would say you are being harassed. You are not comfortable minding your own business and you're not hurting anyone. It may not be in a sexual way but your peace of mind in someway is being taken away. So i would say to say something even if the owners are in on it. You shouldn't be feeling this way. In my prayers XOXO

Maria Amelia said...

I have to say I am with Eva on this. Any behavior which makes you feel uncomfortable is not appropriate. Document, let the guy know you don't like it, and if it doesn't improve head to HR. They will take this seriously if they are worth their salt.

Ruby said...

I'm with Eva document it all It is not ok what they are doing.

Anonymous said...

Wow...that is not cool. If you are uncomfortable with it...I would say something. What a jerk. Patricia

Independentmami said...

Thanks for your comments, concerns, advice, prayers...I def know what I must do now. Thanks ladies!!

Carmen Ortiz said...

Debe ser muy dificil para ti pasar por todo eso. Pero debes sentirte orgullosa de ser mama lactante y que tu nenita este muy bien alimentada. Que no te importen los demas, no hagas caso, y si sigue asi, lo mas conveniente seria hablar a HR para q ellos tomen las medidas de caso. Tu estas en todo tu derecho. Suerte!

Ericka said...

I would say that you are being harrassed but talk to your coworker first and if it continues then take it up to HR. They'll put an end to this right away.

Ana L. Flores said...

Oh, you should not have to go through this at all. It looks like this guy needs a serious warning and talk about breastfeeding in the workplace rights.
Let us know how it goes!!