Don't mess with me!

I got home from work that fateful friday evening and slumped into my one and only chair and kicked off my only decent pair of shoes in disgust.

My creep of a boss had come onto me big time when the whole team were in the pub celebrating the birth of a child to one of our colleagues. I’d told him in front of everyone else that ‘I’d never be friends with you even if you were the last man on earth’.

That had caused much laughter but the look on his face told me in no uncertain terms that it was time to look for yet another job. This was a shame because for once I’d started to make some friends amongst my workmates. Still it was really only a temporary position.

I looked around my one room apartment with distain. One chair, a bed that had clearly seen better times and a single ancient suitcase that contained a few clothes was the sum total of my worldly goods. I sighed.

At least this was only for a few more months.

A few years previously and in another life, I’d had money and a family. Now I had virtually nothing, well nothing material but in herself I was happy for the first time in my life and with who I was. Well, apart from people like my current boss I was enjoying life being who I wanted to be.

A tear formed in my eyes as I tried to come to grips with the fact I was missing Ellie, the love of my life. She was away at a Convention and wouldn’t be back until next week. I couldn't wait for us to be able to setup home together but we were waiting for my divorce to be finalised before we started living together.

My self-flagellation was rudely interrupted by the trill of my mobile phone.

With some reluctance, I answered it.

“Hello?” I asked letting out a small sigh to myself.

Julie, this is Karen Richardson. I work in the HR department as Wilson’s”

Wilson’s was the company that I worked for.

“Your superior, Mr Austin has lodged a complaint against you for sexual harassment.”

That made me very angry.

“You are kidding right?

“I’m afraid not. Obviously we’d like to get to the bottom on the issue.”

“No, you look here. It is…” I looked at my watch.

“Almost 8pm. There is something wrong if you are already onto this when the incident happened less than an hour ago.”

I’m sorry?” came the voice at the other end of the phone.

“Mr Robert Austin sexually harassed me earlier this evening in a pub full of people. Several people there heard him proposition me. If anything, I should be the one consulting my lawyer.”

“Mr Austin filed his complaint with us yesterday. It relates to an alleged incident last Tuesday in the print room.”

“Why are you calling me this late of a Friday evening?”

I laughed.

“This is very serious. It is no laughing matter,”

“I am very well aware of that. I will see you at nine sharp on Monday Morning.”

Without waiting for her to answer, I hung up the call.

I was fuming. How dare they try to do this to me!

It took me most of the weekend to calm down and plan my approach for Monday. Even though my ‘other half’, Ellie was away at a conference, I called her on Sunday afternoon. To say that I poured my heart out to her would be an understatement. As usual her logical brain came to the rescue and a couple of hours later a long email arrived with just about all the help I would need for the ‘encounter’ the following day.
Monday morning arrived and I marched right into the HR Managers Office dead on Nine O’Clock. I hoped that I had a determined look on my face.
“Ah, Ms Robertson. Please sit down,” she said in a slightly dismissive way.

I sat and waited for her to get herself organised. I stared at her all the time. Ellie had said that eye contact was important in situations like this.

Eventually she had gathered all her thoughts together and addressed me.
“As I said to you on Friday, Mr Austin has made a very serious allegation against you. Here at Wilson’s we take sexual equality very seriously and any impropriety is not allowed.”

I smiled back at her.

“I understand where you are coming from. The allegation is indeed serious if it were true. As it is nothing more than a pack of lies then it is serious for him. If you took the opportunity to look at my HR File, you will see that I was not in the office on Tuesday. I was at the hospital all day. I’m sure my Consultant will vouch for me.”

There was a pause as she looked at her file.

“I see that you requested a day off for a hospital visit.”

“That’s right.”

“Sadly, Mr Austin didn’t approve it. His reason is that you didn’t give enough notice.”

“What? He never told me. Anyway, I put in the request six weeks ago. If that is not sufficient notice, then I don’t know what is.”

“He says he did tell you several times and that you propositioned him in order to let him give you the time off.”

“What time of day did this alleged proposition take place?”

There was more rustling of papers.

“At approximately 09:40 in the morning. In his office.”

I smiled. I’d got him.

“If this allegation proves to be false what happens to him?”

“He will be reported and given a written warning.”

“So he gets away with it and I’d get the sack. Is that the state of things we have here?”

She didn’t answer.

“I think I should tell you now that he is making all this up. At 09:34 I boarded the train to London in order to make my 11:00 Hospital Appointment. I also allege that he propositioned me on Friday in full view of at least four other employees of this company. What does he say about that then?”

Without waiting for a reply, I dug into my handbag and pulled out my purse.

It didn’t take me long to find what I was looking for.

“Here. This is my credit card receipt from the ticket machine at the railway station near to my home. See the timestamp. As this location is more than thirty miles from here I could hardly be in two places at once now could I?”

“This isn’t proof,” she snapped back at me.

“Oh really? Any Industrial Tribunal will side with me. I have the proof that I wasn’t here.”

She didn’t move.

“He’s obviously got you wrapped around his little finger.”

Her stare got more vicious.

“Why don’t you ask me why I was at the Hospital then?”

“That’s really none of my business even if you were really there.”

“Oh, but it is. It really is. Is he Gay?”

“What has that got to do with the matter in question?”

“It has everything to do with it.”

“Firstly, I don’t fancy men. I never have.  Secondly I was seeing my Gender Reassignment Consultant. I have a date for my Sex Change Operation. I’m a male to female transsexual.”

Her glare turned into a stare of amazement.

“Ask yourself, why would someone who lives as a woman and is shortly to become one and moreover only fancies other women proposition an ugly overweight, apology for a man as he is. Well?”

Her mouth opened but no sound came out of it.

“So, let me summarise the situation. You have an allegation based upon his word only. I have witnesses to him propositioning me a few days later. I have evidence proving that I was nowhere near him when the alleged offense took place.”

Still no sound came out of her mouth.

“When I take this case to the Industrial Tribunal, which side will they come down on eh?”

“Oh, and one final thing. I’m engaged to be married to a QC. She specialises in Employment Law. Now who is going to win?”

“W…what do you want?”

“I could ask for his job but I would not want any job that would mean me licking those MBA Idiots boots who seem to have taken over all the Middle management positions recently. No, my current role is fine for now.
He has to go though. Jim Reynolds would be ideal for his replacement.”

“And if he stays?”

“The company lose in court and gets a whole shed load of bad publicity and he is the one that becomes unemployable.”

“Then no company would employ you. You would be seen as a troublemaker.”

I grinned.

“I don’t care because I’ve got a place at University to study law starting in October. So, do you want to mess with me or not?”

Then I added,

“That is your choice but on the basis of the evidence presented I know what you should do. But the question is, ‘are you woman enough’ to do it. I certainly am.”

I didn’t wait for a reply. I left her fuming.

Mr Austin was escorted from the building less than an hour later. I got a lot of kudos for standing up and being counted.

[The End]

I’ll leave the answers you you dear readers.

This story was originally started in 2010 and was going to be a very different story. However, the issues that our very own Dorothycoleen had recently with getting time off from work made me think again and this is the result. I hope you like it.

[Edit 24-Feb-2016 18:00GMT] I think I have fixed all the 1st person/3rd person fopahs. Samantha

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