We recently asked women in our BuzzFeed Community to share their work horror stories, and we received hundreds of submissions. Here are 25, all centered around sexual harassment.
"I got fired from a retail job because I'm a lesbian and wouldn't sleep with my MALE boss!!" —k407af6697
"I worked as an office manager, and the only woman, for an industrial insulation company. I had just come back from maternity leave and I was worried about my milk supply. I went into the bathroom to pump for about 15 minutes every two hours, and all of the men in the office would stand in the break area (right in front of the bathroom door) and make baby crying noises to make fun of me. Eventually it progressed to the point that they would make crying noises every time they passed my desk in hopes that I would leak through my shirt.
They would also make comments about how much larger my breasts were since having a baby. I felt so harassed and unsafe that I would dread going to work every day, and I even had more than a few nervous breakdowns. My husband was furious and I had to convince him not to take any drastic action so that I could be sure to have a good reference if I needed to find another job. We had a long conversation and looked at our finances and decided the extra money wasn't worth the emotional distress. I ended up quitting my job and staying home with our kids." —heatherl48707a22c
"I used to work for a call center and the men there were extremely disgusting, always muttering sexual comments. The worst one I had was from a co-worker who used to message me on the work chat room, asking me to come blow him under his desk. When I reported it to HR they said I was the one causing the issue." —l4fa6997be
"I work in law enforcement. I started out as a correctional officer in an all-male prison. When I was walking to my post one day an inmate screamed at me, 'Bitch, I'll beat your pussy so hard it'll put you in the hospital.' I called a unit code because to me, that is harassment. Violent sexual harassment. But because I worked in a male prison, I was supposed to let it go in one ear and out the other." —kaciej
"I work as an administrator in higher education, and the financial aid liaison constantly made advances, despite me constantly telling him 'no.' One day he told me a horrible story about jacking off in his friend's sperm sample he found in the fridge (apparently the friend and his wife were trying fertility treatments), and the wife ended up pregnant. I shortly thereafter left that school to work at a different campus. It would've been way too much political BS to go through to report someone of his position." —ldempsey09
"I’m a waitress, and I get harassed daily by customers trying to order. Sexual harassment is part of the culture in every restaurant I’ve worked for. The kitchen staff openly comments on female servers and female managers. The saddest thing is that it’s never properly addressed because cooks always have more job security than servers. I’ve even had a male manager tell me straight up that anybody can take that Coke to that table, but not everyone can make an omelette." —virginianunnv
"I was 21 bartending at a restaurant, and my manager told me I needed to show more boob to draw in a more steady group of regulars. It was like 7:00 P.M. on a week night, and there were many kids around. I laughed it off and told him maybe after the children were gone. It was my first restaurant bartending job." —stephamaboble
"I had a male customer ask me out for his son, and when I told him I was married he asked, 'Happily?' Are you fucking kidding me? I just fucking stared at him." —k4eb6374d6
"I was in college working at a fast food place when we got a new manager who was hired amidst plenty of backroom skullduggery. One morning when I was opening, the new manager was there. I went to the back to get some condiments for the line, and he literally shoved me up against the metal racks, pressed up against me, and asked if I’d ever done it with a black man before. Fortunately, before I was even able to respond, another worker came back and he laughed and walked away. I told the other manager that I never wanted to be put on the schedule with this jerk again. More backroom skullduggery and this guy was out. But not fired. They transferred him to another store." —annetteb43cf827a8
"I work for a non-profit, and one of the services we provide is access to grant funding so that people can go back to school. I was signing up an older gentleman, asking the usual questions about unemployment and supplemental income, and literally in the middle of the conversation, he stopped me mid-sentence and asked, 'Has anyone ever told you you are so sexy?' I gave him my best icy glare, told him to please focus, and went on with my inquiry. SMH men..."
"I'm a high school teacher, and my first year teaching I was sexually harassed quite regularly by a group of male students. It got to a point where I was uncomfortable walking down the hallway from my classroom to my office." —christinak4c924587c
"I worked at a supermarket when I was 16, and this one old guy would come in all the time and hang around. One morning it was only me and another girl, probably 19, working the front end, and he commented on our appearances for like ten minutes in front of other customers. Then he asked me if I was a virgin and told me that I better be and kept talking about it until he was kicked out after a male manager came over.
Another guy that I worked with was in his late 20s, and he kept asking me out and would follow me around after his shift when I was doing carriages. I had to ask my managers to make him stop." —ehuard1993
"I can't even tell you the number of times the creepy maintenance guy would ask me if I wanted to see his dick. My license plate is 'HINCK,' my last name, so I would always get, 'Hinck, wanna see my dick?' (usually with a nice crotch grab). Of course, it was always when no one was around. He was 30 and I was 17 or 18." —j4cc1b23dd
"I was on the phone with a client and he decided a professional phone call was a good time to tell me that I have a 'sensual voice.' He then proceeded to ask how old I was and if I was married. He must have realized he fucked up because he opted out of phone calls and would only communicate through email after that." —megana46e823c2c
"I used to be a marketing director for a well known quick service restaurant. I would have to work with the mall's marketing manager to coordinate our advertisements and their placements. He would constantly make little remarks about my outfits, hair, and makeup. At one point, he invited me out to drinks. I was in my 20s and he was 75. I politely declined, but he refused to accept no for an answer. He showed up every day I was in the store to ask me, and when I wasn't in, he berated one of my employees until they gave him my cell phone number. I quit that job because I couldn't deal with him anymore and his superiors refused to reprimand him, even after my own boss stepped in on my behalf." —vkummings
"During the first month of my job at a theater, I worked the night shift most days with my male supervisor. One night we started talking and I gave him my Snapchat, just like I had done with my other coworkers. That night he sent me a dick pic and asked me to rate him. Knowing he had a tendency to drink, I shrugged it off and ignored my discomfort. Two days later as we were cleaning at work, he sent me a Snapchat that said, 'I'm hard.' I ignored it and tried to remain calm. The next day when I worked with him, we were cleaning again and he told me we needed to go check one of the theaters (even though we had just cleaned it), and as soon as the door closed behind us, he crept toward me and asked, 'Do you wanna touch it?' I immediately ran into the lobby where there were a few dozen people. This went on for six months, and I was too scared to tell my employer. I was promoted to supervisor after he quit this year, and I do my best to make sure none of my employees have to go through what I went through." —abbielilyc
"I worked at a department store for six years. I started when I was a month shy of turning 18 and worked as a men’s fitting room attendant in the men’s underwear section. My boss hired me because he 'liked the way I looked.' After three months of REPEATED complaints by me of harassment by men in the fitting room, I was moved to a cashier position. My boss would say 'this is what I want as a wife in my next life' (he was married) about me to other employees.
After three years, I was promoted to bridal registry and got my own office. My old boss came into my office, took off his wedding band, dropped it on my desk and told me, 'the symbol is gone.' When I was about to file a harassment complaint against him, he came out as gay and started parading his new boyfriend around the store. Despite his harassment over a period of four years, I lost all credibility when he came out. People can be bi and harass both genders!" —breep44be4cbef
"I worked as a photographer for the local newspaper when I was putting myself through college. One day on a shoot, the top dog on location pulled me aside and told me that he thinks about me when he’s sleeping with his wife. He had an 18-year-old daughter, yet he felt I️t was okay to not only sexualize me, but isolate me at my place of work where I couldn’t lash out in retaliation. I told my boss, who said, 'That’s the industry, and when you look like that you should expect I️t.' —laceyk4b42c790b
"I used to work in property management. My boss would hit on me constantly, and since he lived on site and I worked, he would come drunk in his pajamas on Saturdays and ask me personal questions. He would make me file in his office and just watch me. Once we had to check out an apartment, and he closed and locked the door behind us. He seemed drunk (even though it was a work day), and he began asking me why I think I can be so confident and think I'm hot shit. I left, and when he came back to the office he began reading my browser history to the whole staff and mocking me. The next day my boyfriend brought me lunch, and two hours later there was a memo about how there were no personal visits allowed. This is just one example of dozens, unfortunately. He was much bigger than I was and luckily I didn't work there much longer, but when I reported his behavior to the temp agency I went through, they said they knew already. It had happened to several girls before me, and they just shrugged it off." —lorissag
If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual harassment, you may be able to file a claim with your workplace's Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Click here to find out more.