"I Can't Hire You Because I Want To Fuck You" — This Woman Shared A Sickening Story About How She Lost A Job Opportunity Because The Hiring Manager Was Too Turned On By Her, And It's A Sad Reality For Women In The US Workforce
And even more terribly, women face verbal and physical aggression that often get swept under the rug at workplaces across America. This is something that a woman named Kathryn Hofman faced when she was just starting her career at 22 years old.
Now, as a 30-year-old woman, Kathryn explained what happened on TikTok. "Once upon a time in corporate America, I was a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed 22-year-old and I got my first big girl job straight out of undergrad working for a company that sold shit tickets — literal toilet paper. I was super excited, great company name, good things," she said in her video, which has over 2.5 million views.
"Well, when I got hired, I got hired to take over a territory in Washington, DC and then the company did a reorg and that territory went away, so I made the decision to participate in the inside sales organization they were building out until a territory that I wanted in the field came up and I was up for promotion."
"So, that happened, ultimately. And during my first ever sales kickoff with this organization, I was up for promotion and the Texas team in Dallas was looking to potentially hire me in that role. So, I spent the week participating in a sales kickoff with that team from Texas to see how I fit in the organization and the team, etc."
"By the end of sales kickoff, it was really evident that I fit in really, really well with the team. But the hiring manager and I had a conversation during the very last night during the end of kickoff. You know, cocktails and band there — all that kind of jazz. And he informed me, verbatim, that he could not hire me because he wanted to fuck me. Literally said the words to my face, 'I can't hire you because I want to fuck you.'"
"Now, as a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed 22-year-old, my natural instinct — and the first thing I did — was to burst into tears and run into the bathroom, sobbing. Because what else do you do in that situation? Well, what that manager chose to do in that situation was chase me into the bathroom and I physically had to make him leave."
"Then I brought that to their HR team, and I'm not going to tell you how that turned out because that's not the moral of the story. It didn't turn out well for me...we'll just say that. But that manager did not get disciplined. He ended up leaving the company for a competitor and all of the hiring managers from that point on were forced to sign a non-compete."
"That was the resolution to that man leaving and going elsewhere, not actually punishing him. Now, I say all of that to say that I'm guessing if you stuck around this long, you're a woman. Unfortunately. Now, if you're a man, I would love to hear that you heard this whole story in the comments. Please, please let me know."
"But if you're a woman, if you're a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed 22-year-old, I want you to know that is never your fault. Your clothing, your energy, your demeanor, your positivity has absolutely nothing to do with the amount of respect you are owed in a professional setting."
"When — and I say when because unfortunately it is when — when that happens to you, what I want you to do is go find the curmudgeon old lady. I'm 30 now. I am the curmudgeon. Go find me in your team, because we're going to have your back because that's important and we've been there."
BuzzFeed spoke to Kathryn, who said if she could go back in time, she would do two things very differently. "I wouldn't have reported to my employer immediately. Instead, I would have gone home and written every single thing I could remember about the incident down," she said.
The next thing Kathryn would have done is hire a good attorney and do exactly what they advised.
When this situation happened to Kathryn, the first thing that went through her head was that she did something wrong. "Everything from 'was it my dress' to 'did I smile too much in the team meetings' went through my mind."
"The gift of a patriarchal society is victim blaming and internalized misogyny that we all must unlearn. I'd love to say there's one single answer to the question 'how did this impact you after,' but the unfortunate reality of being a woman in corporate America is my experience is not unique and it's most definitely not the only example of sex-based discrimination in my (relatively) short career. This story just happened to be my first experience. The work I've done for myself to unlearn my own internalized misogyny has been critical for me to stand up for myself in instances where 22-year-old Kathryn would have felt at fault," she said.
Kathryn said the responses to her viral video solidified that she is not alone in her experience.
"My story is not unique. So many people experience abuse in corporate America. Be it sex-based discrimination/harassment or race, gender, or any minority identity — what I hope is that more people become the ally they needed. Slowly, we can change the world together."
You can read more about workplace discrimination and your rights here. In addition, here are some helpful resources if you're currently facing discrimination.