Yes, Virginia, women as well as men can act the role of the sexually bullying boss. We tend to be surprised about this only because of our benevolent biases about women – in this case – that they are too inhibited or “nice” to use sex as a tool for workplace bullying.
My suspicion is that women simply haven’t been in a position to sexually harass their subordinates for long enough to bring this pan-gender problem to light.
The story giving rise to this meditation on women sexually harassing men in the workplace is the case of former Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Chief of Staff, Suzanne Barr. The news is that the sexual discrimination and retaliation claims made against her by workers in the ICE’s New York field office are about to be mediated by a federal magistrate judge in Washington, D.C.
This case, like most, is he said-she said, but better than most because there are at least three he-saids against Barr’s single she-said.
As HSToday.US reported yesterday,
At least three ICE employees made serious complaints alleging inappropriate sexual behavior by Barr . . . and a letter describing the claims . . . were submitted to a congressional oversight committee and reported by the Associated Press and Homeland Security Today last week.
Barr has resigned and denied wrong-doing.