Hi Dr. Laura!
A few years ago, I had to constantly deal with a bad apple in the workplace. This was before I earned the responsibility of manager/supervisor, only acting as a mere "lead admin" (which may have saved my job in the end, but I'll get to that).
While still acting as lead admin, this employee had at one point brought to my attention something that made her feel uncomfortable. The person for whom she assisted asked her to get a phone number out of his desk drawer for the purpose of emailing it to him since he was away from the office. While rummaging through that drawer she came upon some lady photos she didn't much appreciate. She wanted me to know about it and be aware she felt "uncomfortable," but told me several times she wanted nobody else to know about this, despite my offers and efforts to open an investigation and help. I was only 23 and not yet aware of the laws regarding these situations. In her previous management experience, she was.
Flash forward about 6 months and I'm now her manager. For months this employee was always taking off of work without much notice, coming in late, leaving early, carrying a poor attitude and making it more than clear she didn't want to have to answer to anybody except for herself. The particular ballpoint pens I ordered for her even became a sore spot - I could do nothing right. Most of the time I exhibited understanding with her complaints and I empathized with her, given that she described a terrible home environment with her husband. I gave her quite enough leeway for that reason. But after one too many instances of "I'm heading out of town for a week, I just need to get away," my boss and I decided that with personal problems or not, it was finally time for us to let her go and seek a replacement.
On day 5 of her absence while papers were drawn up and the final check was ready to go (and she was fully aware of what this had come to), this employee made a phone call to our corporate office human resources. She explained, "A few months ago something happened that made me feel really uncomfortable. I went to _______ for help because I felt sexually harassed, and she did nothing for me."
Needless to say, her employment was reinstated and she continued to work for me for far too long afterward. The part where my title saved me in the end? I wasn't a "manager" yet when she first came to me, and I therefore was unaware of my duties and responsibility to report EVERYTHING... no matter what.
This saga is long gone and over, but taught me so much about the lengths people will go to protect their livelihood and the sabotaging ways people will fight to win.
Thank you Dr. Laura for everything you do, you've changed my life for many years now!