A Long Island woman has filed suit against Banc of America Securities, alleging the company “left her to hang out to dry and get punished by her co-workers” after she made a sexual-harassment complaint.
Clerk Dawn Clark was working on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange when a co-worker, Dennis Burke, began giving her notes proposing deals that went beyond the realm of finance. “I want your sweet little tush,” Burke wrote. “Your cute little toes would look good . . . wrapped around my shoulders,” another note said. Clark complained, and Banc of America promptly fired Burke.
Clark says she was assured her complaint would be kept confidential. But once Burke was fired, Clark’s co-workers began giving her the silent treatment and ultimately sent her a plate of cheese to send a message that she was a “rat.”
Clark asked to be transferred but was ignored, her lawsuit contends. She finally quit last November. “The firm did the right thing by firing Burke,” her attorney said, “but they have an affirmative duty to keep the workplace free of retaliation as well.”
Final note: We can’t say it enough—every employee should be trained in what constitutes sexual harassment and retaliation. Just as the “no snitch” attitude in the criminal world interferes with law enforcement, so the “no snitch” attitude in the workplace stifles enforcement of HR policies. Make sure co-workers and supervisors understand you have a zero tolerance for any retaliation, including the silent treatment.