I have never sexually harassed anyone at work, I don’t like to inflict myself on people. I like to treat people the way I want to be treated, so I try not to bother people. I’m not a narcissist and I haven’t been in a power situation where this may come up.
Despite the fact that I haven’t sexually harassed anyone, it didn’t stop someone from complaining about me once. It was absolutely absurd and was something straight out of Curb Your Enthusiasm and it inadvertently caused the end of my employment at a certain employer and it also caused the end of that employer.
I was a third party administration (TPA) firm attorney and I tried to have a good rapport with our administrators because a good relationship went a long way in avoiding people complaining about me. I tried my best to help administrators out with their issues because it would help our client in the long run.
One day, a female plan administrator came to my office and asked me why I called her a butthead. I told her I said no such thing and I would never say that about a fellow employee. I don’t know where she would come up with such a statement. After this administrator left my office, I went to the file room to talk to my friends who worked there. For some reason, wherever I worked, I always had a good relationship with the office workers. So I asked the file room guy whether he remembered anything about what this administrator claimed I said. Well, Ken (the file room guy) said that I was in the file room, talking to him and the other office worker (also named Ken) about the last Jets game. Ken said I called Chad Pennington a butthead and it was possible that the administrator in question misheard what I said and thought I called her a butthead. I was glad that Ken refreshed my memory and I was able to remember that that’s where the butthead comment from.
I thought the story was laid to rest, but the partner of the TPA firm who ran the office confronted me about it. Apparently, the administrator went to complain to Manny, the partner who was so wealthy that he kept on wearing the same clothes every day. Manny actually went through the trouble of interviewing Ken who reiterated the story. I was just amazed that I was being called to the carpet over something I didn’t say. Manny, who let’s just say didn’t know how to talk to employees, said that I should apologize to this administrator. I was annoyed that she still went to complain about me even after I reassured her that I didn’t call her a butthead, so I told Manny that no apology was forthcoming. Like Larry David, I was going to hold my ground.
I always mention the snowball effect where something small can grow into something bigger. Well, it did. Less than a year later, Manny thought I was a little too independent and a little too opinionated, that he decided that marginalizing me was a good idea. So one day, Manny decided he needed an administrator who could make a complaint about me. Well, guess who Manny found? Let’s just say that when the chief operating officer is trying to get you, it’s time to go. So I left for greener pastures and thanks to a lot of fighting (as detailed in my Kindle book that about 25 of you bought) that started with that butthead comment, that TPA doesn’t exist.
The point is that even if you behave yourself in a workplace, It doesn’t mean you’re immune from a complaint about your behavior. Watch what you say and never use the word butthead even if you’re talking about the latest Jets quarterback.