[act-ma] THU 10/18, 5 PM - STOP SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN THE WORKPLACE! Defend Johany Pilar!

Geoff Carens geoff.carens at gmail.com
Wed Oct 10 15:31:31 PDT 2012

Dear All,

Johany Pilar, an immigrant worker from the Dominican Republic, has been
employed in Harvard University's Science Center mail room since 1998. In
February, March and April of this year, Johany experienced unwanted
advances and physical contact from a married co-worker. When she first
reported this, an administrator stated, "I can see you like to hug people,"
and told Johany, "No more hugs." The manager directed Johany, "Try to be
nice, try to work together, try to work professionally," and told her that
she would have to train the colleague who harassed her. When Johany
reluctantly obeyed, it led to more unwanted, aggressive physical contact.

Although the co-worker in question is no longer assigned to work with
Johany, ever since she complained of being sexually harassed she has faced
threats, unfair treatment and retaliation from management. In May she was
pressured to cancel a therapy appointment that she had set up to cope with
the harassment. Knowing what the appointment was for, a manager insistently
demanded Johany call it off. He badgered her until she had a panic attack
and was admitted to the hospital with severe anxiety.

In June another manager confronted Johany in the workplace and threatened
her with unspecified, "big, big problems." In September she was threatened
verbally with termination, and then slammed with an unfair disciplinary
write-up that warns her she could be fired. Management skipped right over
the verbal warning step in their apparent zeal to separate Johany from her
job. Johany was never warned about anything in all her years at Harvard
until she reported being harassed. She has filed suit for gender
discrimination and retaliation at the MA Commission Against Discrimination

On Thursday October 18, at 5 p.m., members of Johany's union, students, and
concerned community members will gather to show our support for Johany.
We'll meet at Harvard's Holyoke Center, 1350 Mass. Ave. in Cambridge, right
down the block from the Harvard red line MBTA stop. A map is
Please join us! A flyer is attached. For the Facebook event, please click
here <http://www.facebook.com/events/424216617625393/>. Feel free to
forward this message! No one should face retribution for reporting sexual

In Solidarity,

Geoff Carens, Union Rep, Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical
Workers/AFSCME Local 3650
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