Sexual harassment crosses all boundaries

Yours truly victim of three incidents of sexual harassment as waiter

By Stu Salkeld The Stettler Independent

About 25 years ago I put myself through college. If you’ve ever had to balance 40 hours of class, plus one or two part-time jobs and a personal life of some kind, you know how much work it can be.

If you add into that equation unwanted personal advances from co-workers, it makes life that much more complicated. The “Me Too” campaign underway across North American right now thus struck a chord with me because while I was in college I was the target of unwanted personal advances, some bordering on harassment, from three co-workers.

The first one occurred at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology’s bar and lounge called “Sparty’s.” As I was living in the dorm at the time, working at the on-campus bar was a convenient way to make a little extra money. Once class was over I could head straight to work instead of taking a bus or train to find employment.

I worked as a security guard at the bar, and while it didn’t pay very well, it wasn’t very hard work either. The most difficult thing for a country boy like me to get used to was a time card machine.

It was working here that first semester that I was sexually harassed by a waitress who also worked there. I and all of the other guards noticed she spent a lot of time talking to me and hanging around with me, and after a few weeks she got even friendlier. She started leaning on me, hugging me and giving me “massages.” She told me I was too tense and needed a massage. All the while this went on in front of other staff and the bar patrons.

I spoke to my manager and told him this behavior made me very uncomfortable and I would like it to stop. The manager spoke to the waitress, and it never happened again. In fact, she never spoke to me again.

Next, I was working as a waiter at a restaurant about a year later when a waitress I worked with began confiding in me about her marriage problems. Apparently her husband had been cheating on her. Over the next few weeks she began to get much more personal with me, even though I was just there to do my job. Eventually, in front of several other staff members and customers, she told me she was ready to have an affair on her husband and guess who the lucky guy was? I felt a little bad for her as she must have been in bad shape to speak so publically about her personal problems, but I also resented the fact that she thought so little of my moral character that she’d make an assumption like that in front of strangers. Very embarrassing for me, and I immediately told her “Look, I just work with you. I am not interested and never said that I was.”

Lastly, some months later at the very same restaurant another waitress who was also married but a little less diplomatic decided she was going to harass me right in front of other staff and customers, using nasty language and comments plus grabbing me in rather personal ways despite the fact I showed absolutely no interest in her. Again, I had to go to the boss and ask that she do something to stop the harassment. This particular boss gave me the impression that this wasn’t a big deal and that I should just ignore it.

I’m not going to ignore things like sexual harassment plus the judgments being made about my morals…that, for example, married women are fair game.

Not in my world they’re not.

Stu Salkeld is the editor of The Pipestone Flyer and writes a regular column for the newspaper.

Just Posted

Producers losing money on every barrel sold

Price for Western Canadian Oilsands bitumen so low

Castor man killed in collision

Pronounced deceased at scene

Our Town Stettler: An aerial view

Shows a larger picture of evolution of community

Liberals take aim at responsible gun owners

E-petition against Bill C-71 is largest in history of Parliament

Singer k.d. lang receives Alberta’s highest honour

Celebrated singer-songwriter k.d. lang received the Alberta Order of Excellence in Edmonton

‘Mom, I’m in trouble:’ Canadian faces 10 years for alleged graffiti

Brittney Schneider, another tourist caught spraying message on walls of Tha Pae Gate in Thailand

Feds consulting on national anti-racism strategy behind closed doors

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez says people still face systemic racism in some communities

Pot sales down by nearly 70% on Day 2 of legalization in B.C.

Several products on BC Cannabis Store are still sold out

Colourfully named cannabis products appeal to youth, Tory health critic says

Conservative health critic Marilyn Gladu says the Liberal government needs to do more to ensure cannabis products available online are not enticing to young people

B.C. high school teacher faces sexual assault charges

A Mt. Boucherie teacher has been charged with child luring, sexual exploitation and sexual assault.

Fashion Fridays: You can never have enough shoes

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Migrants, police mass in town on Guatemala-Mexico border

Many of the more than 2,000 Hondurans in a migrant caravan trying to wend its way to the United States left spontaneously with little more than the clothes on their backs and what they could quickly throw into backpacks.

Trump: ‘Severe’ consequences if Saudis murdered Khashoggi

Pro-government newspaper Yeni Safak on Wednesday said it had obtained audio recordings of the alleged killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

Most Read