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CULTURE
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21 Real Stories Of Girls And Women Being Harassed At Work

"For all the men feeling attacked right now...maybe you should try smiling."

We asked the BuzzFeed Community of girls and women to share their work horror stories a few months ago, and we've been keeping up with the submissions and sharing them with our readers. Here are 21 more stories from people who bravely opened up about their experiences.

1.

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"Which time? The time when I was a 15-year-old hostess and my 65-year-old boss said I had the 'tits and ass of a Playboy bunny' because he'd seen me in a bikini at the beach? Or how about a few years later, at a different job, when a delivery driver twice my age asked me if I douched? When I worked at a call center, my supervisor asked me in the break room if I had saved myself for the wedding night. When I reported him, he denied it, and I was disciplined for making false allegations." —imjustagirl

2.

"I worked at a facility for children and was in the art room working on a project assigned to me by my manager. One of my male supervisors comes in and tells me to stop what I'm doing because a one-year old and her mother had arrived, and that I should engage with them. I step out and see three male coworkers out on the floor standing around, joking, doing nothing. I point this out to the male supervisor and ask if he could get one of them, as I was working on a project. He puts his arm around my shoulders and says, 'Yeah, but they're girls and you're so good with babies.' I spoke to my director later on, who is a woman, and she was disappointed in me for being insubordinate. At the same job I learned the men kept a ranking of female employees' asses, and was told I should be flattered to be ranked so high." —kristenm4bbf4efe1

3.

"A few years ago, I was working as a department manager at a home and hardware store. I was training a guy in the hardware department, and customers would constantly look to him when they needed help, assuming he knew more. Once, as I was rekeying a set of locks, the male customer sat down to watch me and continues to gawk and tell me how amazed he was that a woman knew how to key a lock. It took everything in me to keep pleasant." —ginagabbard

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4.

"Two weeks into my first job at 16 years old, I dressed up in black, dark make-up, a choker-chain necklace, and 'vampire bite' makeup on my neck for Halloween. A sleazy guy at least three-times my age comes in and asks me for a kiss. I politely refuse. He tells me I'm turning him on and I owe him at least a kiss for that. I refuse several times, so he grabs the chain on my choker, pulls me over the counter, and plants a kiss right on my lips. Fortunately someone else came into the store and he left. I told my boss when she returned, and turns out he was a friend of hers. She proceeded to bring it up every time he came up in conversation, saying that I made such a big deal out of it that I obviously wanted it and clearly must have encouraged him or led him on in some way." —sny

5.

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"I am a pre-law student, and I work at the courthouse part-time. One day two male attorneys came into the office, and one of them asked me how my law school applications were going. Before I could answer him, the second attorney said, 'You know what I tell WOMEN who want to go to law school? I tell them to just be plumbers instead.' You can’t make this stuff up, folks." —ryleeb470761084

6.

"I worked my way from being a truck scale operator at a scrap yard to the treasurer for the eastern seaboard of the WHOLE company. One particular douchebag manager came to my office to turn in a deposit and thought it would be funny to say hello by grabbing my stomach and saying, “HEY, CHUBBY! HOW’S IT GOING?” I left that company within weeks." —ashleym403e33a32

7.

"I work as a bagger at a supermarket. When asking a male customer around the age of 50, 'Do you want your meat in plastic?', as uncooked meats shouldn't be with other foods, all he said was, 'That's what she said' and laughed about it. I didn't tell my boss because it wasn't threatening, but I was horrified and now I have to think about that incident every time I ask a customer that question." —briannab47bf8874c

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8.

"A male colleague told me I should really consider getting a boob job. Thereafter he told me I shouldn't wear so much makeup because I'll never find a man. I was 17 at the time. Another male colleague of mine reported his conduct to my boss, who promptly fired the guy." —margauxt45fc7f052

9.

"I was given a huge promotion at my job, but before I signed my new contract they figured out that I was pregnant. (Extreme morning sickness gave me away.) All of a sudden it 'wasn't in the budget' to give me the pay raise that should have come with the new role, but they still needed me to do the work and they would revisit the issue in a few months time. I went back to them in the specified time, armed with stats on how well I'd been performing and was told no again. I then questioned the 15k difference in salary this left between myself and the man who had previously been in the role — who, incidentally, had been fired for poor performance. Finally they gave me a pittance raise and promised to fix the difference when I returned from maternity leave. Of course, when I came back I was demoted, not given a raise, and treated like a huge inconvenience. They shuffled me around and treated me like dirt until I finally left. The whole experience has left me doubting whether I can have any career or value as an employee while I have small children." —c480a9392b

10.

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"I was working in this small company where my boss would tell me that I should flirt with clients because it would be much easier to get them to get the contracts! Oh yeah, and smile more. On top of everything, I would get daily fashion police comments from him for my outfits. This guy was in his late 40s and would tell people ‘Oh, she is like my daughter.’" —tamaram4a1a1e2fd

11.

"I worked as a hostess in an upscale restaurant and hotel in Beverly Hills. I got a new haircut, so my manager thought that was an invitation to ask me if I was wearing underwear. He had also been harassing other staff and guests, including a waitress who he invited to his room and would touch without permission. We both reported him to HR, but all of the managers are friends with the owners so I'm sure he just got rotated to a new location and nothing happened." —j4a1cfdfd2

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12.

"I was working part time as a nanny to save so that I could study towards a science degree, and my female boss who is not a scientist told me that STEM wasn't the field for me and that I should keep working for her until I get married. I quit three days later." —emmanz

13.

"I once sat in a meeting with my two male store managers and a sales associate of mine. The store managers wanted to promote my associate to an assistant sales manager after a review that highlighted her skills and overall contribution to store sales. Midway through the conversation, her external appearance was brought up as the decision maker. My two male managers told my associate that she needed to stop putting her hair up and start wearing contacts before she could be promoted. They wrapped up the conversation by giving her a deep discount on women’s clothes (that the company sold) in order to spruce up her wardrobe. After my associate left the room, I told my two managers that she was more qualified than I was and that I was disgusted/appalled on what she had to do (in their opinion) to get the promotion. Their response to me was that I didn’t understand what it took to fully represent the company, and that I was in the wrong for thinking her skills were the only qualification. I shook my head as I left the room and thankfully, left the company a few months later." —mollym48fdbf321

14.

"When I️ was 18 I️ worked at a local smoke shop. I️ worked my shifts alone, which I️ enjoyed because I️ didn’t like having managers watching over my head, but it could get uncomfortable sometimes. One day a man came in with a pad and a piece of paper. He told me he worked for the newspaper and asked if we wanted to put an ad in. I️ said we weren’t interested and he continued to walk around the shop, looking at our products. He told me he had just moved to town, was in his mid-fifties, and was planning on going into the bar next door. 'Sounds like a good day,' I️ told him. He was already creeping me out, but then he asked me if I️ had a boyfriend. I️ told him I️ did, and then he said, 'Well if you change your mind, I’ll be in the bar next door if you want a drink, or maybe I’ll come by and say hi after,' and he left his number. This man was older than my father and hitting on me in a small building where I️ was on my own. Once he left I️ texted my boss what happened and sent my boss the man's phone number. My boss threatened him, and luckily the man didn’t come back." —mrsdoubtfire2

15.

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"My former boss at the place I worked when I was in high school made a 'joke' about how he prefers to hire women so he can 'smack them around if they don’t do their job right.' He wasn’t serious, but it really made me concerned and offended." —rachela1997

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16.

"I had turned 16 the day before my first day, and would be working at an ice cream shop across from my house. My boss wasn’t that great, and had only hired three girls for the whole summer. Each or us would work alone for the entire 3:00 pm to10:30 pm shift. A lot of grown men would come in and notice I was alone and would hit on me. Some men would come in and practically demand my phone number or would ask for really disgusting things. I’d tell them I was only 16, and usually they’d back off, but they’d always say things like, "Oh, I didn’t know you were young. You look sexy enough to be my girl.” Needless to say, I quit before the summer was over." —elliel45c6f7c8c

17.

"I worked at a restaurant over the summer, and one of the managers made a fat joke about me and got all of my co-workers laughing at me. I don’t even remember the last time I felt that alone, and I just had to brush it off like nothing was happening." —minnie394

18.

"I was working at a family video store one night with my male co-worker. A group of teen boys came in obviously drunk. They came to the counter with a porno, laughing and asking me inappropriate questions like when I got off, how hot I was, etc. They eventually left but sat outside making sexual gestures with their hands and mouths. My co-worker went out and threatened to call the cops, so they left. But one came back about 25 minutes later saying his friends ditched him. He needed to use the phone for a ride. We let him call but made him wait outside. An hour goes by and he’s still sitting out there staring at me and making gestures. My co-worker went out saying he was calling the cops. By the time the cops got there he’d vanished, but they did a sweep around the area to be safe and found him behind the store masturbating." —breelightyear

19.

"I worked for an algae company as a intern/assistant this past summer to get work experience for University, and my boss was horribly misogynistic and racist. He told my friend and I that our opinions were 'unsolicited' because we were female AFTER he asked us what color he should paint his patio. Not to mention, he called all Native Americans lazy and said that they just want to live off welfare and waste taxpayers money. My friend is a quarter Cherokee and French, while I’m a mix of Caucasian, Cherokee, Navajo, and Cree. Needless to say, once the summer was over, we both got out of there and never looked back." —elizabethmorganw

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20.

"After 10 years as a visual merchandiser, with over four years in management, I was interviewing for a part-time job in the display department at a local furniture store. I applied and the next day had a pre-interview with HR over the phone, where she told me it's rare to have someone with so much experience come through. Cut to the interview: a man in his 50s and an even older woman took one look at my resume and asked why I even applied at a furniture store when clearly all my experience was in fashion. Do I really think that will translate well? How could that even qualify me to work in interiors? She turned to him and said, 'Why did HR even let this come through?' He then told me, 'This is a very physical job. You have to bring in furniture from the warehouse and move large pieces, a lot of times by yourself. I just don't think you'd be the right fit.'

I was so stunned by the whole thing. I wanted to defend how seamlessly fashion merchandising and display actually would translate to home decor and interior design, and how rude it was to conduct an interview without actually interviewing me. Instead, I said, 'Thank you! I wish you the best of luck finding a strong person to move couches for you!' with a huge smile on my face.' Losers." —mpiquette1983

21.

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"I am one of five female doctors in a private practice. An older gentleman came in and proceeded to comment on how he was surprised that there were no male doctors at our practice. Halfway through the visit, he said something along the lines of 'You know, back in my day, women didn't become doctors. They stayed in the home where they belong. I just don't feel comfortable being seen at a practice where there's no men around.' And he left...." —cassies4a08f6184

Follow the BuzzFeed Community on Facebook and Twitter to share your experiences in other posts.

Also read:

25 Sexual Harassment Horror Stories That Happened To Girls And Women At Work

23 Horrifying Things That Have Actually Happened To Women At Work

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