A Redditor explained how a coworker who insisted that she hug him ended up learning a long-overdue lesson about consent and workplace harassment.
Women have found themselves having to ward off uncomfortable advances from colleagues or superiors in the workplace since pretty much the dawn of time. However, since the #MeToo movement wiped out a slew of sexual predators in positions of power, the conversation about workplace harassment and consent has gained quite a bit of traction. The movement also gave women the strength to call out such behavior without hesitation and stand their ground when a coworker forgets that 'no' does indeed mean 'no'. That's exactly what Reddit user subtleglow87 did when a new guy at her workplace insisted that she give him a hug despite her repeatedly refusing.
Recounting the incident on Reddit, she explained how the coworker ended up learning a very important and extremely delayed lesson in consent. I'm a server. I was in the kitchen to clock out after doing a double and fairly new guy from the kitchen asked me for a hug. I said, "no thank you." That should have been the end of it. It wasn't. Instead, he tries turning it into a debate and says, "well you hugged [other female coworker], you can hug me too! Come on, it is just a hug," the Redditor began.
She explained that since she'd decided she didn't have to justify, defend, or explain her actions in such situations, she simply told him "I said 'no' and I meant it," and attempted to walk past him. However, the guy refused to take no for an answer and blocked her path. He says he will hug me anyway. I stop trying to get passed him, look at him straight in his face and with a polite smile I tell him that no, he will not hug me against my will and if he does try to I will not only punch him in his face but that I will get away with it and he will end up the one fired, the Redditor recounted.
However, when the man still didn't seem to fully grasp the concept and importance of consent, the kitchen manager decided to step in and set him straight. He gives me a confused look and just says "No, you would get fired?" Which is when the kitchen manager (who could overhear our conversation from the prep area) grabbed him, removed him from the time card area, and told him "Noooo, she's right, you would get fired and she more than likely wouldn't even get a write-up." I clocked out and left pleased with how I handled myself, the woman explained.
This morning while I'm clocking in for my shift the kitchen manager asks if I have a second to talk. I say sure cause I'm a little early. He tells me he had a very quick conversation with the new cook about sexual harassment. He said because of the complete lack of understanding on this guy's part, he called the owner and set up a mandatory company-wide meeting with a specialist to go over not just sexual harassment but consent as well. He said if this guy gives me or anyone trouble to let him know, she revealed. So I left work last night proud of how I handled myself and left today proud of how my employers are handling themselves. This is a meeting I'm actually looking forward to going to.
The woman's experience resonated with Redditors who'd been in similar situations or heard stories about rampant workplace sexual harassment in the service industry. I'm reminded of what one of my exes went through at a serving job. That was 10 years ago and there was no effort to address it, she was just told that "service industry culture" wasn't for everyone and required putting up with bullshit sometimes. I'm glad to read that this story has a different track. Hopefully "service industry culture" will no longer allow people to think they can disrespect coworkers' boundaries, wrote u/pickemupputemdown.