Back into the Closet.... work issues

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    Jan 06, 2011 2:49 PM GMT
    Couple of weeks ago my boss asked me, so Jim do you have a wife or kids?...I said nope... then he asked, do you have a girlfriend?...I said nada.... Then he was kinda joking around and asked, do you have a boyfriend?....I said YES. Then it got real tense and quiet and he said, we welcome all types here but you might wana keep that quiet and he walked away.

    Several managers constantly make seriously wrong comments like, here comes some fruits, there's royalty ie queen, grab a fire extinguisher here comes a flamer...two guys in a prius just pulled up they must be gay... fag, freaks, etc and it goes on and on

    This is a 200m year location and we have an HR department, its complicated and if I say anything, it'll get me into trouble.

    I've been out my entire life, for all observations few people have a clue that I'm gay, don't advertise it but if you ask I will tell you I'm gay.

    Now I find myself limiting my conversations with co-workers, keep to myself and refuse to talk about my life outside work. Keep everything generic and find myself not wanting to interact with co-workers for fear of letting a comment slip

    Yes I have every comment, date, time, people and who said what documentd.

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    Jan 06, 2011 3:00 PM GMT
    Nothing inherently wrong with keeping work completely separate, compartmentalizing things. There are a few opinionated blow-hards here who cannot understand anyone else's situation. They will claim if you are not completely open, then you are scared. Just ignore suggestions that don't seem appropriate to your situation.
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    Jan 06, 2011 3:19 PM GMT
    You MUST report this to HR immediately. Take that list and what was said. It is clearly sexual harassment.

    When I worked in the corporate world, I left my office one day to go work at a client's place. When I came back, someone had draped a Washington Blade (the gay paper) over my trash basket so anyone who walked by my office could see it. I never even picked up the Blade unless in DC, so they made a special attempt to get one and put it there.

    I immediately shut my office door and called HR. I told them to make a record of this, but do nothing further unless something more happened. I regret not making this an investigation because when I left the company by choice, the new HR person (my boss's wife) said they had no record of that incident.

    You must report this because it is affecting your work relationships.

    I want to add that you already outted yourself by saying "Yes" to that guy. So everyone knows now, trust me, he's told everyone.
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    Jan 06, 2011 3:19 PM GMT
    Regardless of sexual orientation, there are laws against discrimination... People have sued many a corporation for that... If I were you if the environment is uncomfortable to you, find another place to work or take it up with HR...
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    Jan 06, 2011 3:29 PM GMT
    dragondevil saidRegardless of sexual orientation, there are laws against discrimination... People have sued many a corporation for that... If I were you if the environment is uncomfortable to you, find another place to work or take it up with HR...


    Well, he's in Florida, which has no state level protection for gays facing employee discrimination.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_the_United_States
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    Jan 06, 2011 3:47 PM GMT
    I'm not sure what recourse the OP has in an ultra-red state like Florida. Nothing much from the State itself, I believe. Orlando has lots of gay-friendly employers, mostly the theme parks, but for whom does he work?

    I'm very out myself, almost gay-militant, but I also understand that we can't always control the agenda. Therefore I counsel caution when jobs and livelihoods are at stake. I don't support taking stands if the loser is going to be us, not them.

    I learned in the Army to pick my battles carefully, only the ones I think I can win. I have no problem with running away and lying low, until I can choose the time to strike back. These are the tactics we teach today, versus Civil War strategy, of suicidal full frontal assaults until the last man.

    If the goal is my own welfare, why should I deliberately destroy it? To make a point? Rather, bide your time, and hit back from a position of strength. Your ultimate success is the greatest victory, if you have clearly-defined objectives. All that matters at the end of the day is who has won, no matter how. That's what we teach in the War College, and I've learned it has many applications in our personal lives, as well.

    Beyond this, the OP may have found that this is simply a gay-hostile work environment, that isn't going to change. Perhaps he has to bail. But plan that, too. Leave with a good job performance rating, and rejoice in a better career somewhere else. We always have options, if we make them.
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    Jan 06, 2011 3:52 PM GMT
    shortmuscleguy saidNow I find myself limiting my conversations with co-workers, keep to myself and refuse to talk about my life outside work


    I've found this to be the best bet anyway. You've already outed yourself, but since these people are obviously uncomfortable with your faggotry, why talk to them anyway? People don't ask me about my faggotry, and I don't ask them about their wives. Better to keep conversations at work, work-related.
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    Jan 06, 2011 4:31 PM GMT
    i don't think it could be called sexual harassment, wrestlervic... it upsets me that this has happened to you, shortmuscleguy. we all know what it's like to be in the closet and it must feel somewhat humiliating to have to go back there within your work environment. it is just advice, though, you don't have to do what your boss said if you don't want to.
    i work at a place where it would be a VERY bad idea to answer that question truthfully, so i have just accepted that i will never admit it to any coworkers.. i don't like it (in fact i hate it because ppl get really nosy like your boss) but if i couldn't live with it i'd have found somewhere else to work.
    ppl won't stop discriminating cuz you get HR involved, and they will stop you from advancing and it will be difficult to prove that it is because you're gay.. so you need to decide if you can live with being in the closet at work, or if you want to find another place to work where you don't have to be. you can try fighting it through HR of course, but be prepared for a long and personally degrading battle. i'm sure that if you wanted to go that route you would have the strength of character to do it, though icon_smile.gif
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    Jan 06, 2011 5:03 PM GMT
    The fact that you said "Yes" to your boss and be proud of who you are says that you were willing to fight for yourself.
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    Jan 06, 2011 5:18 PM GMT
    mkubwa has some very valid points. What seems to work in theory fails miserably in practice. When you are against the majority, they have wonderful ways of skirting issues and holding up red herrings.

    Reporting to HR means nothing if the attitude of the boss prevails in that department. What they are supposed to do, is not always what they actually do.

    Never report a problem via voce. Always put it in memo form and cc a copy to at least one other source. That way you have a record of your complaint.
    If all else within the company fails, perhaps you can check into a human rights commission in your area, but to echoe mkubwa, you may be in for a long arduous and useless fight................................................Keith
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    Jan 06, 2011 9:28 PM GMT
    Reporting to HR is not an option, the person making the worst comments is a longterm and protected friend of the owner.

    In a perfect world, reporting this to HR would be my first option. In the REAL world, nothing would be accomplished in my situation.

    I actually cleaned out my desk a few days ago and was ready to quit, I was sitting at my desk totally lost in thoughts of walking away from a decent job. One of the managers I respect walked over and asked me if I was about to quit and I went off about everything (there are other issues involved as well) after my rant, in a low voice he told me, never repeat what you just told me if you want to keep your job. Then he did the zipper thing across his lips.. "so I have to decided if I can keep my mouth shut in order to keep my job?" He put his hands up in the air, shrugged his sholders, smiled and walked away.

    What sux is that I've been told I have a lot of potential, so far I've exceeded all the expectations they placed on me, don't make mistakes, rarely need any assistance and more capable than some who have been with the company for many years.

    I guess I just needed a good venting and scream at the world, I feel better now
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    Jan 06, 2011 9:31 PM GMT
    shortmuscleguy saidCouple of weeks ago my boss asked me, so Jim do you have a wife or kids?...I said nope... then he asked, do you have a girlfriend?...I said nada.... Then he was kinda joking around and asked, do you have a boyfriend?....I said YES. Then it got real tense and quiet and he said, we welcome all types here but you might wana keep that quiet and he walked away.
    That's what the boss told me last year when I was sent out to Savannah for the summer...he told me "it's not very gay-friendly there, so keep it professional and don't mention it."

    I looked him in the eye and said "go fuck yourself. I haven't been out of the closet for 20 years just to go back in. If they can't handle it, they can kiss my fucking ass."

    Well, I'm going back to Savannah this summer. They didn't give a fuck that I'm gay. icon_biggrin.gif
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    Jan 06, 2011 9:37 PM GMT
    Hopefully you can find another job elsewhere as soon as you can. Nothing worse than having to work in a cancerous environment.
    Said this before here.. HR depts are not there to help the employees, they are there to protect the company and that is all. It's Human Resources not the Employee Protection Department.
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    Jan 06, 2011 9:39 PM GMT
    beneful1 saidHopefully you can find another job elsewhere as soon as you can. Nothing worse than having to work in a cancerous environment.
    No. The boss has already expressed "acceptance" of his sexuality. Now it's up to him to continue expanding on that until the entire company accepts it, and embraces it.

    It took me two years to get to that point with my job, but now the company is very gay-friendly.
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    Jan 06, 2011 9:46 PM GMT
    Pyrotech said
    shortmuscleguy saidNow I find myself limiting my conversations with co-workers, keep to myself and refuse to talk about my life outside work


    I've found this to be the best bet anyway. You've already outed yourself, but since these people are obviously uncomfortable with your faggotry, why talk to them anyway? People don't ask me about my faggotry, and I don't ask them about their wives. Better to keep conversations at work, work-related.

    I agree with this and follow it.
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    Jan 06, 2011 9:49 PM GMT
    beneful1 saidHopefully you can find another job elsewhere as soon as you can. Nothing worse than having to work in a cancerous environment.
    Said this before here.. HR depts are not there to help the employees, they are there to protect the company and that is all. It's Human Resources not the Employee Protection Department.

    Reminds me of when I went to visit the "Patient Representative" at the local VA hospital here in Florida, when I had a problem getting care. I walked through her office door, and the first thing she said to me, before I had even been invited to sit down, was:

    "I want you to know I work for the VA hospital, not for you. I'm not here to solve your problems."

    WTF??? Then why doesn't the sign on your office door say "VA HOSPITAL Representative"? What kind of of a fucking patient representative is that? Needless to say, none of my issues were ever answered.

    Well, most veterans here in the US know what a horrible travesty the VA is. And I can believe the same thing exists in the private sector, and worse. So I agree, HR departments are not created to help employees, but to herd them, and to nominally comply with applicable governmental regulations. HR is never your ally, more often your enemy.
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    Jan 06, 2011 9:53 PM GMT
    Just sue them for failing to provide a non-hostile working environment.
    Chalk it up to enabling dangerous and abusive conditions make a couple of million and start your own company.
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    Jan 06, 2011 10:16 PM GMT
    paulflexes said
    shortmuscleguy saidCouple of weeks ago my boss asked me, so Jim do you have a wife or kids?...I said nope... then he asked, do you have a girlfriend?...I said nada.... Then he was kinda joking around and asked, do you have a boyfriend?....I said YES. Then it got real tense and quiet and he said, we welcome all types here but you might wana keep that quiet and he walked away.


    That's what the boss told me last year when I was sent out to Savannah for the summer...he told me "it's not very gay-friendly there, so keep it professional and don't mention it."

    I looked him in the eye and said "go fuck yourself. I haven't been out of the closet for 20 years just to go back in. If they can't handle it, they can kiss my fucking ass."

    Well, I'm going back to Savannah this summer. They didn't give a fuck that I'm gay. icon_biggrin.gif


    Not exactly Paul. (Judging from your posts) You are fortunately blessed with the ability to overwhelm homophobes to the extent that they learn to like or respect you immediately after you shoot off your mouth. Somehow you know exactly how and when to say your stuff - and succeed. Few people are as lucky as you in such things, and ShortMuscleGuy is not you. Paul, you're a very intelligent guy, but as the saying goes, you have more luck than brains. (Please take it as the compliment it is meant to be.)

    I really feel for ShortMuscleGuy and wish there was something constructive to resolve his predicament. (SMG is very successful at his work but works with dreadful people.) In the meanwhile- hugs, thinking about you, and wishing you the best.
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    Jan 06, 2011 11:21 PM GMT
    My workplace may have its flaws, but I'm happy to say they are very gay-friendly. But I understand having to keep quiet to keep a job. You do what you have to do to keep a roof over your head and food on the table. But if i worked in a less friendly or hostile environment, I'd quietly make other plans while not burning any bridges.
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    Jan 06, 2011 11:27 PM GMT
    Discrimination can be so subtle. Just withholding information from you could affect your performance.

    I would be curious why your boss launched into that inquiry in the first place. I would ask him about what prompted it. Maybe there is talk going on behind your back. I would ask why he said to keep your gayness quiet.

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    Jan 06, 2011 11:34 PM GMT
    I've been out 45 years, I guess I'm more frustrated than anything else. What really blows my mind is that I left a job where it's was totally cool, everyone was seriously ok with it, we openly talked about gay marriage, there was some lighthearted kidding around, my bosses would ask me questions about being openly gay, we talked about my 12year breakup, if I was dating anyone, even wanted me to bring my boyfriend to work to meet him (now he's an x lol).... All of his started when a boss asked me if I was gay, I said yes, he then asked me if I was cool about kidding around, I said yes and he jumped on the PA system, blurted out "Mark you owe me $20" lmao. The fact that somebody lost $20 because they thought I was non-homo still makes me laugh

    I left that job to go work at our competitors, I was struggling to make sales due to it being managed horribly, sales people were leaving left and right, rumors of it closing doors due to massive market share loss etc...

    I'm actually cool with everything now, not happy, but a good job in this market is not that easy to find, maybe over a period of time I can slowly educate them

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    Jan 06, 2011 11:58 PM GMT
    flipside is that it's an awesome place to work, minus the don't ask don't tell. Ultra modern, exceptional training, lots of team work and motivational meetings every morning, all in all it's a very positive place to work as long as the focus and talk is about "work"... they really will bend over backwards to make you succeed, if you need help, someone is always willing to assist or give advice. I will add that this location is one of the most admired in the industry for it's growth and profit margins.
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    Jan 07, 2011 12:21 AM GMT
    beneful1 saidHopefully you can find another job elsewhere as soon as you can. Nothing worse than having to work in a cancerous environment.
    Said this before here.. HR depts are not there to help the employees, they are there to protect the company and that is all. It's Human Resources not the Employee Protection Department.


    Well said, and I wish more people knew this. I see too many people that think they can run to HR with their problems. Please, for the love of cheese, don't expect HR to protect you! They work and are held accountable to the company, not you. They will always work in the best interest of the company. Don't get me wrong, they are normally lovely, kind, welcoming people that will listen, and often give good advice, but everything you say will be talked about with the HR person's boss, and probably yours too.

    If you really think you have a really severe problem, don't go to HR, go to a lawyer. To the OP on this issue? I honestly don't know.
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    Jan 07, 2011 12:35 AM GMT
    This occurred to me the other day actually. I'm currently looking at getting some work in the US for about 2+ years and although under normal circumstances it's no ones business what my sexuality is, I'm not sure how my choice in location will be affected by my sexuality.

    I've received 3 different job descriptions to apply for so far each in Phoenix, yet I know little about the place and what the culture there is like. Will I be affected in my work lifestyle by this if it's found out?

    I don't want to have to make a point of it especially since it's not really supposed to be part of the job description is it?

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    Jan 07, 2011 4:27 AM GMT
    HR works for the ownership. Report it and you will be labeled a trouble maker.

    Depending on your state you may have no recourse if you're terminated.