update: HR questioned me for hours about a sex injury

It’s “where are you now?” month at Ask a Manager, and all December I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past.

We have so many updates this year that I’m going to be posting six to seven times a day for the next several weeks — so keep checking back throughout the entire day.

Remember the letter-writer who was questioned by HR for hours about a sex injury? Here’s the update.

So it took me a while to figure out how to update you because SURPRISE there’s some legal stuff still going on that I don’t think I should talk about.

First things first, the injury itself was a huge rope burn across my face. This probably contributed to why I didn’t stick with roller derby to begin with. Black eye? Derby for sure. Rope burn? The how is a little vaguer there. Still, you and other commenters are right that if I could do it again, I would stick with it and never back down.

Second, turns out Lee (the friend/coworker who outed me) is well known in our local scene for being someone who outs those in kink so THAT’S FUN TO KNOW. I have cut ties and honestly, it really has been good for me. I never noticed a lot of friendship failings before and wow, now I sure do.

I did talk to a lawyer and I did talk to HR. HR was… not receptive and I had to move forward with the lawyer. There’s stuff happening there.

Also! I don’t have a job at the moment! I just… couldn’t stay there. But Mary also doesn’t have a job so there! It is because she quit and not because she got fired though. She didn’t want to work in a place that wouldn’t fire a deviant.

Gosh, I don’t know what else I could tell you. I feel better largely even if I’m unemployed at the moment. I’m doing a few freelancing gigs and even got paid to teach a kink class. I could be way worse.

Update to the update

OK, so I spoke with my lawyer and she said that I can mention the stuff with Mary because she’s not actually involved in the lawsuit at all. Also, you have a new fan in my lawyer.

So, Mary in the time between me deciding what to do after your letter and me leaving my job just got crazier and crazier. She was determined that I was being kept as a sex slave and that the people I worked with were in a conspiracy to keep me in subjugation. She printed out human trafficking reports and posted them everywhere. She called the cops once. Surprisingly, none of this got her fired. When she found out I was quitting, she tried to get the address that I live at from HR, but that, at least, they were smart about. That was the day she quit.

Lee thought this was all hilarious, by the way. They even put some pictures up on instagram.

Anyways, I have an interview tomorrow so cross your fingers for me!

{ 230 comments… read them below }

    1. Amber T*

      I had assumed (hoped?) that it was like, an innocent, foot-in-the-mouth response to Mary, like “no, I know it was definitely not abuse because I know she’s into BDSM!” But wow, definitely a shit-stirrer. And to think all of this is funny at the end of the day? What an awful person.

      1. Amaranth*

        I’m curious, doesn’t this kind of behavior get you banned from the local BDSM scene? Or is it more a whisper campaign ‘be careful if you play with Lee, he’s a jerk’? I wouldn’t think anyone would want him around if he thinks its hilarious to out people. That wouldn’t make me feel safe at least.

        1. Portia Longfellow*

          The trouble is, there’s never a single “scene,” and it’s not like there are membership cards that can be revoked. People’s egregious behaviour can get them banned from particular events or venues, but even that’s based more on consent/safety issues. The rest is left largely up to whisper networks. Jerks exist in the BDSM community just like everywhere else, and there’s only so much you can do about them.

    2. sacados*

      Oof, and OP’s ex-company massively sucks as well.
      Glad to hear OP’s moved on to (hopefully) something saner!

    3. Dhaskoi*

      Pretty sure OP has grounds for a civil suit against Lee – whether it’s worth the effort is another matter.

      1. Marthooh*

        Well, anyone can try to sue anyone for anything, but trying to sue a former friend for betraying a confidence is not going to end well.

        1. Thornus*

          It might be a tort for public disclosure of private facts, but it’s likely not worth pursuing. That would depend though on if the state recognizes that cause of action and whether the disclosure was public enough to rise to a public disclosure. But definitely not worth trying to pursue.

          1. Thornus*

            Oh wait the instagram posts might be enough now that I look again. Maybe get the lawyer to send a C&D over those.

            1. OP is Frustrated about Law*

              It is impossible to consent to bdsm in my state so all legal stuff is TRICKY. It’s been hard enough with HR stuff. I’m not suing someone over outing me.

              1. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

                Wow, that is really tricky! Sorry you are having to deal with this, especially since it is potentially putting your partner at risk!

  1. Dr. Rebecca*

    Wow, Lee sounds like a trash-fire, you’re well out of that friendship. And good luck with the lawyer-side of things/the interview!

  2. Anononon*

    Why do I think Mary would get along with the awful Qanon references from earlier this week…

    Ugh, OP, that’s all so awful, and I hope you net a major settlement from those buttheads, and good luck on your interview!! Hope it goes/went well!

      1. Paris Geller*

        I don’t think they’ll need to talk her into it at all. . . my guess, based on the signs, is she’s already there.

        1. Pants*

          Oh yeah, she’s definitely a card-carrying member for sure. Also willing to bet that, just like Qonspiracies, her sex life doesn’t exist either.

          1. Occasionally Awkward*

            It’s a cute comparison but I don’t love the implication that someone who’s not sexually active is worthy of derision. It’s just as bad as slut shaming IMO.

            Besides, Mary’s actions do more than enough to make her worthy of derision without speculating about her activities in the bedroom!

            1. Pants*

              Absolutely fair assessment. I should have known better and will do better going forward. Thank you for pointing it out and doing so kindly. I needed to hear it.

    1. RandomLawyer*

      That’s literally the first thing I thought “Mary is into Q.” Of course, she could just be unhinged in her own special way

      1. Czarinaalex*

        I am trying DESPERATELY not to laugh/cry at my desk over this phrase.
        “Mary is into Q” could be the new catchphrase to alert the AAM masses that something is amiss with someone’s judgement.

    2. NeutralJanet*

      It’s the sex trafficking references that hit my Q triggers. I understand the reasoning behind “BDSM=sexual abuse”, even though it’s not correct, but nothing about the situation logically leads to the conclusion that OP is a victim of trafficking, except for the fact that QAnon sees sex trafficking everywhere.

      1. Userper Cranberries*

        Which would also track with taking actions that would be actively detrimental to actual sex trafficking victims… I was really perplexed by Mary’s actions, but unfortunately I think you’re right and Q explains it.

      2. JB*

        Q is a possibility – or radfem beliefs, i.e. that any woman who participates in BDSM is de facto being abused and either has been brainwashed into it or is a willing participant in her own abuse.

        However, it’s worth remembering that people lie, and sexual harrassers often are dishonest to cover their activities. Mary may not actually believe that LW is being trafficked – she just knows that wrapping a ‘respectable’ concern into her diatribes makes people just confused enough that she can get away with a lot more ranting about LW’s sex life.

        That may very well have been why she was so ‘worried’ that LW was supposedly abused in the first place – she was using it as an excuse to gossip and pry.

        There are people who simply cannot leave others alone and have spent a lifetime finding and testing excuses for their nosey, judgemental activities.

        1. Crazy Book Lady*

          I think the HR person is the worst, and Lee and Mary both tie for 2nd place. The HR person should have known better!

          1. Sara without an H*

            Ditto. The HR person–and/or Mary’s and Lee’s supervisors — should have shut this down hard. Close it down early and you’re much less likely to have to deal with lawyers.

        2. They Don’t Make Sunday*

          Came here to say this. Mary quit because she didn’t want to work somewhere that wouldn’t fire a deviant. Oh, oops, here’s a bunch of trafficking literature!

          1. Avi*

            Yeah, fundamentally Mary sounds like a sex-negative ‘moral crusader’. The actual details are just window dressings for her toxic self-righteousness.

      3. Anon for this*

        It’s not just Qanon. While sex trafficking is a real thing, it’s also a popular excuse for policing consensual adult sexual conduct. Spurious claims of “trafficking” for that purpose have been around since long before Qanon existed, and probably contributed to the climate of paranoia that helped Q get started.

    3. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      After update 2, I kind of assumed that Mary’s into Q already.

      I’m very torn and conflicted on who I dislike more in this story, Mary or Lee. Might be a tie.

      1. AnonForThis*

        I’m voting for Lee because of the glee involved in outing others. Mary’s just completely delusional and believes that LW is in danger.

        1. Working Hypothesis*

          I am not at all sure that Mary actually believes LW is in danger. We’re talking about somebody who quit because she “didn’t want to work in a place that wouldn’t fire a deviant.” That reads very much like all the concern was actually concern-trolling, and simply an excuse to harass LW because Mary was personally offended by what she’d heard about LW’s personal life.

          1. lobsterp0t*

            It possible to hold conflicting beliefs at the same time. Thinking homosexuality is caused by child abuse while also considering lgb people deviants, for one. Or having belevolently sexist ideas about rape victims while also buying into victim blaming.

          2. Working Hypothesis*

            It’s possible. It’s just also possible to lie about your motives… and in my experience, rather more common than this *particular* type of flagrantly contradictory beliefs.

            I won’t say it’s completely impossible for Mary to be telling the supremely addled truth about what she thinks, rather than finding a convenient excuse. I’ll just say I don’t believe that she *is* telling the truth. Your mileage may vary.

            Either way, she’s a horror and I’m very glad that LW is rid of her.

        2. Anon Kinkster*

          I have to echo that I’m voting for Lee, mostly because as a member of the kink community they should damned well know and understand how dangerous outing people can be. ESPECIALLY in conservative and/or professional environments. In fact, given the additional info that they PURPOSELY out people, we KNOW they know that. What an awful person.
          And this HR department is just…mind-bogglingly terrible.

      2. pope suburban*

        For me, it’s a three-way tie between Lee, Mary, and that wretched HR department. All three parties here managed to inflict unique and maximal harm based on their different positions in LW’s life. Mary is an all-around menace, Lee is a duplicitous and destructive liar, and HR has weaponized their considerable power in favor of evil. I’m almost impressed by how thoroughly this particular rogues’ gallery has screwed up and done ill.

        1. Working Hypothesis*

          I’m voting for HR as the greatest a-hole of this whole mess. Mary and Lee are both monsters, but because of their positions (or lack thereof), they’re small-scale monsters. HR appears to be making a steady practice of enabling monsters, and they’re not small scale.

          1. Anon Kinkster*

            Honestly, I wouldn’t call someone who walks around PURPOSELY outing people from the kink community without their consent a small-scale monster. Who knows the amount of damage they have caused to people? This is just…so terrible to me.

            1. Working Hypothesis*

              I absolutely agree that the damage they do could be horrible in any given case. If they really do this on a wholesale basis — as in, outing pretty much everyone in the community they know, instead of having done it a handful of times — then I’ll agree they’re on the same level with Horrible HR. But Horrible HR is pretty much by definition going to harm nearly everybody who works at the company (and probably also the company itself, since they can get it into lawsuits they’ll lose) — and that’s a sheer numbers game that Lee would have to work really hard to match. They could do it… but not easily, because they just don’t have the information to out huge numbers of people to anyone who matters. They’d need to know not only who the community member is, but who their employer, loved ones, or similarly relevant humans from outside the kink community are. In this case, they did know both, and did a lot of damage, but I question how often they’re going to know both sides of the equation. If there is any inadvertent mercy to Lee — and it’s certainly not through any merit of Lee’s own — it comes through the likelihood that they’re unlikely to have all the necessary data to hurt more than a handful of people this way.

            2. Nina*

              Particularly with OP’s note above that Lee is outing her as being involved in something it’s not legal to consent to in her state… Could have serious repercussions for her or her partner/s.

  3. NeutralJanet*

    Wait, so Mary thought that you were being sexually abused and were a victim of human trafficking, and yet complained about you to HR and wanted you to get fired? That’s…quite something!

    1. A Penguin of Ill Repute*

      Sounds to me like she decided on the human trafficking thing AFTER the original letter was written.

      1. Expelliarmus*

        True, but OP says that Mary quit because she didn’t want to work somewhere that wouldn’t fire a deviant, so it sounds like Mary thinks OP is doing something negative.

        1. KateM*

          Maybe she quit because she didn’t want to work somewhere that wouldn’t let her to protect an abused coworker (by giving her OP’s address)?

          1. Working Hypothesis*

            That… definitely does not sound like what somebody would mean if they said they “didn’t want to work someplace that wouldn’t fire a deviant.”

            I think we need to trust LW that they know what Mary said about why she was quitting.

            1. Kwebbel*

              When I read the update, I’d assumed the “Mary wouldn’t work somewhere that wouldn’t fire a deviant” not so much as Mary’s exact words, but OP’s (correct) interpretation of Mary’s intent. I would love to know if that is what Mary said, though – as that would cast her in an even worse light in my head than she’s already in.

              1. Working Hypothesis*

                I would love to know her exact words too. I assumed that LW was quoting Mary because, even though that’s almost certainly an accurate depiction of Mary’s reasons whether or not she said it that way, I would’ve expected that if she had made an excuse instead, LW would have given us the excuse (maybe in quotes) the way they gave us all of her other excuses for getting involved and making a nuisance of herself. But I could be wrong here.

        2. Ellie*

          I wondered if firing the deviant was a reference to Lee? If she thought OP was being abused/a victim, then why would she want her to be fired? And why would she want her home address, unless she was under some misguided notion that involves rescuing the OP from some sex slave dungeon.

          Then again, Mary is clearly unhinged, so who knows what might be rattling around in her head?

          If its a vote on who’s the worst though, I’d go for Lee (should have known better and betrayed a friend), then HR (should have put a stop to this mess), and then finally Mary, who is admittedly awful but this is probably the first time that she’s come across bdsm and there might be a history there.

        3. yala*

          I mean, from what I’ve seen, conspiracy theory folks generally don’t have a problem believing conflicting things about the same issue. (eg: covid is both a bio-weapon engineered by a foreign power to hurt us, but also a completely harmless hoax being one of the more common things I’ve had to put up with hearing)

          I feel like Mary wouldn’t be particularly compassionate or understanding toward actual ST victims etc either.

      2. NeutralJanet*

        Right, but then she quit because she didn’t want to work somewhere that wouldn’t fire a deviant (OP), so she is both conflating BDSM with abuse AND persecuting (someone she thinks is) an abuse victim, which is a truly horrible combination.

        1. Florida Fan 15*

          I’m glad you posted this because I was thinking the same thing. A person can’t be both trafficked and a “deviant” when it comes to what happens next. If you’re trafficked, there is no consent. If you’re a “deviant” (gah, I hate that word), then you’re choosing to participate. No consent = no responsibility for what’s happening to you.

          My money says Mary would be just as victim blaming if OP had been injured through non-consensual acts.

          1. Marco Diaz's Red Hoodie*

            100% agree. As others have said above, this is 1) a huge red flag that “Mary is into Q” and 2) was probably just throwing accusations at the wall to see what sticks.

          2. Emotional Support Care’n*

            Well of course. OP would have “let herself get into that situation” if she were being abused. That’s usually how that type of person conflates consent and abuse. It’s all about what you allow. A victim allows the abuse because “no good girl would have ever gotten herself into that kind of situation” and “if you’d had the sense gawd gave good apples you’d have avoided that sort!”
            I can hear my grandma, my mother, and all their friends now…

          3. Clorinda*

            It’s the same post-Puritan mentality that treats underage prostitutes as criminals rather than as victims of trafficking.

      3. Kwebbel*

        Which, all things considered, means Mary is spending far too much time thinking about OP having sex.

        1. Working Hypothesis*

          This entire incident is made of people who have no business in LW’s sex life spending far too much time thinking about them having sex. Including *the HR rep for their company*. Ugh.

    2. Sam*

      A lot (most?) of people who equate kink to abuse don’t actual care about those they consider victims. They just have regressive ideas about sex and use their “concern” to legitimize them. Same with sex work.

    3. hbc*

      The Marys of this world live in a near-constant state of cognitive dissonance. Anything and everything that supports the “This is wrong!!!!!” feeling that they have is fact, and it doesn’t matter if they’re inherently contradictory.

      1. Working Hypothesis*

        And/or they know perfectly well, but don’t care, and are happy to say whatever it takes to get somebody else to do what they want done.

  4. quill*

    Ooof, two trashfire people in two opposite directions unwittingly collaborate to land OP in legal trouble.
    May their shoes never be free of sharp pointy rocks.

    1. Dramatic Intent to Flounce*

      And may their hallways always have stray LEGOs. What absolute garbage humans.

        1. Calaghan_Eugene*

          “May their pillows never have a cool side” is the harshest curse I have ever seen cast on a wrong-doer. My god…I have goosebumps. You’re terrifying. I love you.

          1. SarahKay*

            Well thank you, but alas I can take no credit for it. I saw it on a thread here a couple of years back and it was love at first sight for me too ;)

        2. Working Hypothesis*

          May their showers all have inadequate water pressure and fluctuate constantly between too hot and too cold.

            1. Princesss Sparklepony*

              OK, this made me laugh because I had to label my shower controls since I couldn’t remember which direction was hot and cold. I have some lovely H and C decals that look so fancy now…

      1. Marzipan Shepherdess*

        Now really, Quill and DItF – what do you have against sharp pointy rocks and Legos?? ;)

      1. Anonymous Hippo*

        Even when you are in the right, and will almost inevitably come out on top, dealing with legal crap is a headache and trouble.

    2. Coder von Frankenstein*

      Don’t forget HR. This company seems to be a sucking vortex of abominable human beings.

      It sucks that OP is unemployed, but very glad they’re no longer employed *there*.

      1. Salymander*

        You are so right about the “sucking vortex of abominable human beings.” Why are there so many awful people at this place? Do terrible people like this seek each other out? Is there some kind of magnetic attraction between assholes? It is almost like this workplace is built on yet another hellmouth. Remember those letters/updates? Some of my favorites, but what a nightmare to work there.

    3. JSPA*

      Sounds like OP may be lined up for a good settlement, rather than being in trouble? Not the most comfortable way to happen into money–it’s crystal clear that OP would rather have avoided all of this!

      If Mary leads off her “why I left” with, “my coworkers were deviants and sexual traffickers, I’m sure of it” and OP, in contrast, is normal and chill, it’s Mary who has tanked her own career (or at least, limited it to working for Q-tip-heads) while OP is super-employable.

      Rope burn…uck, yes, that’s a hard one to explain away with roller derby. I suppose it could look like an actual burn, but “flying scalding curvy things” isn’t actually better?

      1. pancakes*

        “Someone suspended a banner from a rope over our track and it came down while I was skating under it”? I have never been to roller derby but that doesn’t seem entirely implausible.

        1. Princesss Sparklepony*

          I’ve never been to roller derby either – could she have pretended she was flung into a rope line? Like a velvet rope situation but grittier…

        1. Stay-at-Homesteader*

          As someone who has had this happen (thankfully it was my knees and not my face, although it was still painful), I fully endorse this excuse for anyone needing it. Pibble mix + 20-foot leash + other dog running by + my ADHD brain = two huge rope burns that took WEEKS to heal.

      2. LizB*

        “Fell face-first into my teammate’s skate and scraped myself on the laces… I still don’t know how! It’s so weird! Anyway, about that subject change…”

        1. Kat in Boots*

          Yeah, I might try for carpet burn to. “I tripped with my skates on. There was a carpeted area and I landed at a really weird angle on my face (because I was also holding X at the time and trying to stay balanced).” I’ve fallen at a really weird angle while I was weighed down holding something. It makes it harder to rebalance yourself and the instinct is often to keep hold of what you have in hand even if this will make the fall worse.

    1. Marzipan Shepherdess*

      I too hope that the OP lands a great job with a company that isn’t chock full o’ nutcakes, but really it shouldn’t be difficult for them to land “someplace with a healthier culture”. That company sounds about as UNhealthy as you can get!

      1. RabbitRabbit*

        Yup, gotta be easier to find a better place.

        And I might have doubled down on ‘roller derby’ even with a rope burn. Claim there was a rope barrier and a bad landing on your face. There has to be a way to incorporate nearly any kind of injury into roller derby if you’re creative enough, right?

  5. EPLawyer*

    Please tell me Lee is one of the people you are going after. WTF PUT UP stuff on INSTAGRAM??? I’m glad the local scene knows about him, but maybe something more effective than just warning people is needed here. Like banning him from places that you can.

    As for your HR, they suck.

    1. So they all cheap ass rolled over and one fell out*

      Lee sounds like the proverbial “broken stair” of the local kink scene. “Everyone knows” about them (except OP, until too late) but nobody can (or perhaps just nobody will) eject him from the scene.

      1. Need More Sunshine*

        Right, apparently “everyone knows” does not include OP, a former friend, so it’s clear Lee just…gets away with being an a-hole. :(

        1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

          “oh that’s just Lee. You can’t tell them anything but be sure to seat them next to me, hee hee.”

          1. La Triviata*

            Alice Roosevelt Longworth had a pillow with the message, “If you don’t have anything good to say about anyone, come sit by me.”

      2. Boof*

        To be fair, it sounds like OP met Lee through work, not through a scene that tolerated his known bad behavior. For better or for worse you can’t really brand people with the scarlet O (or whatever letter makes sense here!)

          1. Seeking Second Childhood*

            I don’t think it said HOW outside work though. Could have been anything from roller derby to the grocery store for all we know.

      3. PaxThulcandran*

        Yyyyep. The “broken stair” analogy was actually coined specifically in reference to kink scenes, but referred, IIRC, to predators. But these folks definitely also pop up like bad pennies, and anyone who endangers their peer/social groups that way deserves to be cold-shouldered out.

        1. Working Hypothesis*

          I’ll argue that people who out others for the fun of it *are* a type of predator, just not a sexual one per se. They’re preying on visible misery, a type of social vampirism.

      4. Maltypass*

        ‘Lee sounds like the proverbial “broken stair” of the local kink scene.’ This is exactly what I was thinking

    2. JSPA*

      Lee’s a they/them, and known to OP through the kink scene, as well as a workmate.

      OP also mentioned, “Lee and I are both neurodivergent of some flavor.”

      Lee appears to be milking the (dubious) cover of that diagnosis for all it’s worth–and then some–in ways that remind us that “spectrum” and “a-hole” do not correlate positively, but neither are they exclusive categories.

      “I’m bad at white lies / I get over-specific” and “I actively and repeatedly out people for the LULZ” are…not related conditions.

      1. EPLawyer*

        I apologize I missed the “they/them” and used the wrong pronouns for Lee. They are still an asshat.

      2. Kat in Boots*

        I hate it when people use neurodivergence as an excuse for asshattery. Yes, certain types of neurdivergence can predispose certain people to be asshats, (but hey, there are loads of neurotypical asshats). It’s fair to make more allowances for neurodivergent people encountering new situations and learning the norms for the first time. But most of the time, people saying “it’s my [Diagnosis] that makes me behave this way just leads to more stigma and uncertainty for the neurodivergent community. The only exception to this would be when someone appears to be trying to change and is making some progress in some areas, but slipping up sometimes. It does NOT apply when someone appears to enjoy their asshattery.

    3. Cthulhu's Librarian*


      so much horror that people only told you that after he had done it.

      1. Working Hypothesis*

        Not getting involved with Lee night not help. If Lee is present at social gatherings of that kink group, even if only at those which don’t involve actual kink play at the gathering itself, they can out anyone present as someone who Does That. Heck, it doesn’t even have to be true; even if somebody came along to the event because they were visiting their sister that weekend and wanted to see what a munch was like, I doubt Lee would really care too much about the accuracy of their claims.

        The only real defense against somebody like Lee is to ban them from all community events and then enforce it vigorously. And even then, they’ll be able to out people who *do* get involved with them, after meeting them through a method not run by that group. But at least Lee won’t be able to compromise the whole community that way.

  6. Lucille B.*

    Holy schneikes I did not catch this one at all when it was first published. This is a lot to process.

    1. Ashkela*

      Right? Somehow I missed this one, and as someone for whom getting caught at work with marks was relatively common for a period of time (because I was young, unprofessional, and AAM didn’t exist yet), this just made me lose it. Add in the probable QAnon shit and ugh.

  7. Daniel*

    I recall there being debate over whether Lee was a god-awful person or just really, really clueless. Looks like we have our answer…

    I am glad that OP is getting legal. Hoping that all works out there.

  8. Alex the Alchemist*

    I’m so glad you have a lawyer, OP. May their asses get sued into oblivion. Godspeed.

  9. animaniactoo*

    Lee is an ASSHAT. Good luck with the job hunt whether that interview is actual tomorrow from today or in the past and if in the past, here’s hoping that you rocked the hell out of it!

    And… omg @ your (former) HR and I hope that you have a satisfying resolution for that in the end.

  10. anonymous73*

    I hope Mary scheduled the surgery to remove the stick from her judgmental ass. Good luck with the interview.

    1. Magenta Sky*

      Without a stick to hold them up, slime molds just ooze into the cracks in the floorboards, and you’ll never get rid of the mildew smell.

  11. I should really pick a name*

    “Lee thought this was all hilarious, by the way. They even put some pictures up on instagram.”

    Further proof that Lee should not be in your life.

    1. Jess*

      I just don’t get it. What kind of pictures would you post?? Some background for a text like “lol I made two people quit”? It doesn’t make any sense.

  12. AnonymooseToday*

    So I know it’s absolutely none of my business (but I totally love knowing all the info from years of being kept out of the loop at my job by a gatekeeping mgr), and if you’re legally allowed, can you totally come back and update us again after the legal stuff is settled??!

    I’m so (excited? proud?) an OP is finally taking legal action! I know it sucks to have to be in that position in the first place, but there’s been sooo many times, when “talk to a lawyer” has been the answer, and they never do.

  13. HerdingCatsWouldBeEasier*

    This… was not the update I was hoping for. Glad you got out of both the toxic friendship and the toxic job, but so sorry you had to deal with such an insane level of crazy. I wish you the best of luck with the job search and with the lawsuit.

    1. Not a Name Today*

      I’m hoping that this is just the interim update and the next one will have the happy ending.

      1. Not a Name Today*

        Eeesh, I should have chosen my words better. Here’s hoping the next update will have the conclusion we are all wishing for.

  14. Xenia*

    Wooooooow. So much to take in.
    1. Yeah, a rope burn would not be easy to collate with roller derby.
    2. Lee is a jerk and I’m glad you’ve disassociated.
    3. Mary is absolutely whackadoodle and thank goodness your HR showed an iota of sense or you’d probably have a stalker.
    4. Your lawyer sounds awesome.
    5. Good luck with your interview!

    1. Marsha*

      1. I don’t know much about roller derby, so if you told me you got a rope burn on the face from it, I’d believe you. (I’d resolve never to play the sport, but I’d believe you.)
      2. I suspect in the Venn diagram of “people who know a lot about roller derby” and “people who would back you up if you claimed this as an excuse” the intersection is 100%.

      1. Sara without an H*

        Yes, I would have believed that, too. I’m by no means an expert on roller derby, but I’d probably assume OP had just taken a crash during a match and ended up with an unusual facial injury.

    2. 2ManyBugs*

      Most people can’t differentiate between rope burn and road rash, so sticking to roller derby and a blank look if questioned works better than you think! (I’ve used ‘the gym’ or ‘went hiking’ to equal vague effect.)

    3. Smilingswan*

      I don’t think Mary is a whackadoodle. That’s being too kind. I think she’s just a massive jerk.

      1. Working Hypothesis*

        Given that she actually QUIT HER JOB because the company “wouldn’t fire a deviant,” I think Mary pretty thoroughly blew her cover as a sweet, concerned friend who was just feeling sure that LW was being trafficked or abused and wanted to stop it. This is someone who very clearly loathed LW’s personal choices and felt that 1) she had a right to forcibly prevent them from making those choices or, failing that, to ensure that they are punished for continuing, and 2) it’s fine to tell any convenient lie in order to achieve these results.

    4. Show Pony*

      Actually, I think you could say it was roller derby, velcro rash (from getting swiped in the face with other people’s pads) is a thing and resembles rope burn. Doesn’t help this time, but next time!

  15. Kinky skater*

    As a fellow roller derby skater & deviant, derby is soooooo convenient for work-related concerns about bruises. The mostly work-from-home life of the pandemic has made this less of a thing, but it was really nice to be able to plausibly blame the clear bruise of a hand that had grabbed my upper arm as “oh yeah we just restarted contact practices and I was bracing a wall” and not “got into some fun naked wrestling after getting tied up at a Halloween sex party.”

    1. Christmas Carol*

      Yes, and you wouldn’t even technically be lying:
      “I get bruised up all all the time at roller derby” Most likely true, isn’t it? You never said THIS particular injury came from roller derby. Not your fault if somebody assumes that waswhat you meant. “Its OK, I’m fine” Also most likely true.

    2. Robbie*

      the only possibility I could think of is telling others you have joined an amateur wrestling league, which will allow for the odd rope burn (a clothesline gone wrong) or other oddly-shaped injuries. Still, that is a bit of a stretch.

      1. *daha**

        I would love to find an amateur wrestling league to join. I wrestled in high school. Martial arts that include a punch to the face are not for me.

      2. Seeking Second Childhood*

        I just looked up circus rope acrobatics–
        corde lisse. Yes this is a common issue so could be a convenient third hobby for our OP. And, well, I wish I’d had a chance to try them when I was in my 20s.

    3. Elizabeth West*

      Figure skating was a good excuse for random bruises too. Although most of my bruises (and scrapes; ice can be sharp) at that time were actually from doing it. I was so used to falling and getting right back up that half the time I didn’t even remember how I got them.

  16. Bruise Campbell*

    Goodness gracious that is a lot of interest in your sex life!! WTF is wrong with people??

    1. GreenDoor*

      That was my take…it’s like they see it as sinful/deviant behavior….yet, ooh, I’m going to insert myself into the situation and get all the details and share it all on Instagram. WTH???
      So glad OP is pursuing legal action. I have the most vanilla sex life there is….and I’d be mortified if people at work were discussing it. I can’t imagine have a kink or an alternate preference and the whole company wants to make it their business. Hang in there, OP!!

      1. Kwebbel*

        I also am about as vanilla as you can get, and very fine with that. My partner happens to be 2 feet taller than me, and we happen to be vegan. The…number of times I get comments about what sex with him must be like (“how much yoga did you do before this one part fit in this other part”; “the fact that you’re vegan must mean this or that activity is off limits for you”)…is unsettling, to be honest. My acquaintances spend waaaaay too much time thinking about my sex life, apparently. :S

        1. Working Hypothesis*

          My father and stepmother are only about five inches of height apart. But because she’s the taller one, they get endless speculation about their sex life too. Some people have way, way, way too much free time.

  17. QKL*

    My question, if Lee is known in the community for outing others, why is he still welcome in the community? He’s actively creating a dangerous environment in what should be a safe place? I’m not involved in kink communities, but I know someone who is and from what I understand, there are people in the hierarchy who can be appealed to in these situations. The local kink community around here has a vetting process and the meeting places are invitation only. You out others, you’re out for good.

    1. 2ManyBugs*

      He could very easily *not* be welcome in his local community – being banned from munches/parties unfortunately doesn’t turn into drying up and disappearing. She met him through work, after all. I know more than a few people who’ve entered the scene, brought up a name as their first bad experience, and had several people wince and go “Yeah, that person is problematic, it’s why you don’t see them here.”

      1. QKL*

        That’s true, and I’m sure the more problematic people act in a way that ensures they’re the first members to meet the general public by over sharing and such. For a long time, I associated the kink scene with the few people I met who shared way to many personal details in inappropriate settings, but later, I met people who more more socially mature and active in their communities.

        1. 2ManyBugs*

          Yeah, it’s something I’ve definitely noticed over the years – the most problematic people are the ones most likely to be run into outside the “scene”…because they have nowhere else to socialize because the scene booted them. To some extent, every time that happens, the group is making a choice to sacrifice their public ‘reputation’ for the sake of the safety of the group. It’s a good choice to make, but still sucks that there’s no way around it.

    2. JSPA*

      As described, Lee (they/them) are a self-avowedly neurodivergent and self-avowedly socially maladept missing stair. Maybe they also have problematic pictures of the same people who’d normally be disinviting them. Or maybe they just repeatedly glom onto other people who are new to the scene or awkward or neurodivergent themselves, with pleas and promises about “us oddballs sticking together, and cutting each other slack that the main group doesn’t allow.”

      Except if the combination of your neurodivergence and your kink somehow drive you to act on, “I get a charge out of screwing people over nonconsensually by outing them or flashing their marks to an un-consenting vanilla public”? Weeeeellllll….that’s not something that bears tolerating.

      It’s very roughly analogous to being a flasher, except by using a photo of someone else’s junk…plus telling people who’s junk is in the picture.

  18. Detective Amy Santiago*

    I don’t even know what to say.

    How is Lee even still involved in the local scene if they are known for outing people? I’d expect that to result in an immediate shunning the first time it happened.

    So Mary simultaneously things you’re “a deviant” and being held as a sex slave? WTF???

    1. Nea*

      Sounds to me like Lee was being shunned but OP had not been looped in by the whisper network until it was too late.

  19. Jennifer Strange*

    Sincerely don’t know who’s worse, Mary, Lee, or your HR person/people. It’s a three-way tie for horrible.

  20. Allornone*

    Wow. Um, yeah, wow. Damn.

    Lee sucks. Mary seems batshit. Glad you are away from them both and good luck, OP!

  21. awesome3*

    Best of luck on your interview, and I love that your lawyer is an Alison fan now. Hi OP’s lawyer!

    1. Kate in Colorado*

      Yes, I also wanted to comment and welcome OP’s lawyer to the AAM community, because I love it when lawyers chime in! I would like to second the request for KinkOP’sLawyer, if you’d be so kind! ;)

  22. I'm just here for the cats*

    am I the only person who would like t o know Mary’s reaction to the person who was into BDSM and wanted her coworkers to call her partner Master?

    1. pancakes*

      Eh, odds are if wouldn’t be a different, more interesting flavor of ineffectual busybody outrage.

    1. NotRealAnonForThis*

      Sometimes HR just sucks. I hate to say it, but it can happen. (Generally in letters where this happens, we see some swearing in the reply, at least recently…)

    2. Allornone*

      I’m so glad my organization’s HR has a team of one, a very friendly, very approachable, very appropriate, and very law-aware VP of HR.

      The only gripe is that she works from home a lot because in her words, “she’d rather not deal with people.” Um, she’s HR. But despite that sentiment, she remains responsive, even through email, and she gets the job done. And she worked to get us a pretty sweet upgraded health insurance package.

      1. Candi*

        When I ran into that “not a people person” (also a great HR person), they’d been tossed into the job by the owner after asking for more duties than their Office Manager* position currently allowed.

        Joke’s on the owner, starting with their new HR person finding out about the >15 person rule for following certain federal regulations.

        * In practice, the positions was micromanaged receptionist whose manager kept most duties for themself. So the office manager went to the owner.

      1. I WORKED on a Hellmouth*

        Now that you mention it… I could see something similar going down at the Hellmouth, for sure. Especially when Coworker McGruff was there, she would DEFINITELY pull a Full Mary.

    3. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

      I really hope that OP’s lawyer manages to cause a lot of pain to that HR department. They are utterly ridiculous!

      1. I WORKED on a Hellmouth*

        I hope their professional reputations are irreparably damaged. They should not be working in HR.

        1. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

          I agree, but your own experiences demonstrate the intense level of insanity that can go down in any employment situation in the US! Your tales were legendary!!!!!

          But yeah, these HR people are a disgrace to the profession (of which I generally have no particularly high opinion, although my current employer has a pretty decent HR team, I am pleased to say!).

    4. Salymander*

      I was just thinking that the hellmouth must have opened up some kind of franchise at this OP’s work because this many terrible people in one place is just way too much concentrated evil.

      1. Hannah Lee*

        Considering that so much of the awful stench in that workplace is wafting from HR, I’d imagine there are entrenched issues in their candidate sourcing, selection and hiring practices. And a senior management team that tolerates or encourages the dysfunction.

        The presence of multiple life/career attacking intrusive glassbowls may be a feature not a bug.

  23. Kali*

    Absolutely screaming – mostly in horror but also some schadenfreude at Mary’s ridiculous flounce – at this update. I’m so glad you have a lawyer, and I hope you get paid for all this BS you had to go through!

  24. KayDeeAye*

    OP, I am so sorry you are going through all this, but I must say, this is probably the funniest account of HR failings I’ve read in a long time. Best of luck with your interview!

  25. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

    What-The-ever-loving-Fork? The bees in that place had hornets and those hornets had wasps. Sorry you are not currently in a job and are stuck on legal proceedings, but overall it seems healthier, happier, and better to be well away from that mess

  26. Bob-White of the Glen*

    Dear OP, when you can please write back with an update of how it all turned out. Am hoping your lawyer proves to be fantastic as this place is toxic!

  27. HolidayAmoeba*

    My flabber is completely gasted. Allison hit the nail on the head with her original response. If someone has an unusual injury, you ask them discreetly if everything is okay and if they say yes, make some information available if they choose to take it. But unless they specifically opt to discuss it, LEAVE IT ALONE!! I don’t get why the world is so full of people who believe there is a secret situation that only they can recognized and if they keep at it, all will be revealed.

    1. Candi*

      “people who believe there is a secret situation that only they can recognized and if they keep at it, all will be revealed.”

      These are people who usually want the credence and glory of being a hero, but don’t want to put themselves out in a way that might actually get them hurt or require effort they don’t want to do. The work equivalent is the coworker who claims they’re sooooo busy and holding up the department with their efforts, but are usually poor workers, or the boss who claims they totally go to bat for their reports, but it turns out all they do with their superiors is brownnose.

      1. UKDancer*

        Some people also have extremely overactive imaginations and no common sense. I worked as a tour guide in a castle as a student. I had one awfully sincere American lady wanting to know if I belonged to the owner (the lord of the manor) and if he’d owned my family for a long time. I looked at her as if she was cracked and explained that I was a student and this was my vacation job for which I was paid above the minimum wage.

        She and her friends then cornered me on the way back from the toilet to check if I needed help to escape and offered to help me get away. While at the same time asking what the owner did to his staff. I think she was hoping to get details about the kinky English upper class but honestly the lord of the manor was a frightfully nice gentleman who was too busy worrying about the leaking roof to have improper designs on his staff. I think she’d read way too many gothic and bodice ripping novels. I told her that slavery was not legal in the UK, but if she was concerned about human servitude there were many charities for her to support that worked to help people who had been trafficked.

        I then ran away because my next tour party had arrived. I fear her glimpse into an English castle was a sad letdown to her wish to liberate enslaved tour guides.

        1. LinuxSystemsGuy*

          That’s… crazy? Like had this person consumed no media except gothic romances? Surely she’s seen *something* from the BBC, or at least Harry Potter? Or like basic American Revolutionary War history? As an American I cannot see how someone could possibly grow to adulthood in this country and still think modern England has slavery/serfdom.

        2. Princesss Sparklepony*

          That is just wild! I want to doubt your story because it’s so unbelievable but then again I’m American and I know we have some really stupid and deranged people here.

  28. Elenna*

    Oof. Sorry you were surrounded by awful people, and I hope the legal action works out for you and you get a new job with actual reasonable people.

  29. calonkat*

    OP, I’m glad you are out of there. Please know we all wish you the best in your job hunt, and hope your lawyer does well in getting you damages from the company.

  30. NerdyKris*

    ” She was determined that I was being kept as a sex slave and that the people I worked with were in a conspiracy to keep me in subjugation.”

    Oh, that sounds like she’s into Qanon. That might explain the rapid decline into fantasies. Even the most absurd claims get reinforced in that group. They’ve done studies showing how fast the radicalization is, and it matches up with their obsession with fake human trafficking.

  31. Dasein9*

    Whew! Break a leg on your interview! Fingers and toes and st. andrew’s all firmly crossed for you.

    Thank you for lawyering up; that should make them think again about pulling that kind of nonsense.

  32. Aphrodite*

    Please update us again on you, your lawyer, your career prospects, Lee and more. And while I do want to know, I honestly care that you are fine with where you are. I send my best wishes.

  33. Meg*

    I’m curious, just because I genuinely don’t know, what would the basis of OPs lawsuit? Hostile work environment?

    Obviously, this entire situation sucks, but I was wondering where the legality of it all comes together.

    1. Boof*

      Sounds like there’s a potential case for sexual harassment, at least as far as there work goes. Work should really not be 1) interrogating OP about their sex life, nor should they 2) allow someone else to harass her because of her sex life

      1. Meep*

        Yeah. Especially with the rumors that they allowed Mary to spread without any form of reprimand and how HR handled it, it is probably definitely a sexual harassment case. I was recently looking into filing a sexual harassment complaint with the EEOC and it doesn’t just come down to quid pro quo or men making sexual advances at female collegues anymore. Sexual harassment is wide enough it covers general lewd comments or making inappropriate sexual comments on appearance. For example, the reason I was looking to file a complaint is my former manager with zero medical credentials decided that my having a fever of 99.6-degrees meant I was ovulating. I have pneumonia that an actual doctor diagnosed me with.

    2. Anonymous Koala*

      I think they have a case for sexual harassment – it sounds like HR was way too interested in the specifics of their sex life, and made no attempt to stop Lee and Mary from discussing the OP’s sex life (albeit in different ways).

      1. Curious*

        I think it’s not clear that Mary has a claim under Title VII. While the behavior was certainly harassing (and over the top evil) it isn’t clear that it was “because of sex” (in the sense of gender), which is necessary for a sex-based claim under Title VII. OP would need to plead and prove that they were treated differently than a similarly situated person of the opposite gender would be treated. While that is fairly obvious in most cases of sexual harassment, in this case, it isn’t clear that OP’s activities (for which they were harassed) are differentially associated with folks who are AFAB vs. AMAB.

        1. Jackalope*

          Sexual harassment isn’t just because of one’s gender. It also includes verbal or other kinds of harassment of a sexual nature in the workplace (or school, etc.). Commenting repeatedly about the LW’s sex life in ways that made them uncomfortable is sexual harassment regardless of the LW’s sex or gender.

        2. Feral Fairy*

          Sexual harassment and gender discrimination are two separate (though unfortunately often related) things. HR interrogated the LW about their sex life for hours. Then, HR did absolutely nothing when a different employee became obsessed with the LW’s sex life and started spreading rumors and harassing them. What Mary did unequivocally qualifies as sexual harassment- constantly bringing up LW’s sex life and spreading harmful rumors about them (related to their sex life).

  34. DeeBeeDubz*

    OP when your lawsuit is over I really hope you can update us on how that got resolved. I was furious on your behalf (at your company) when I first read your letter and would love for them to see some consequences.

    As for the stuff with Mary… I just.. what?

  35. Sara without an H*

    Hi, OP — Glad you’re out of there and hope the job search goes well. I understand a lot of firms are hiring right now, although a lot depends on your field and location.

    I reread your original post and saw that you felt at the time that it was somehow wrong to lie to HR. I think it’s appropriate to limit the amount of information you share with HR as soon as it becomes clear that their questions are inappropriate to the situation. “The mark on my face was the result of a sports injury. There’s really nothing more to say about it.”

    Here’s to a happier 2022 for you. May you soon land a new job in a firm run by sane and competent people. And may you and your nice lawyer soon extract a nice, fat settlement from your former employers.

  36. Jacey*

    This letter has stuck on my mind, in a not-good way. I’m relieved to hear you’re out of that company and have cut off the friendship with Lee! I hope things continue getting better for you in the future, OP.

  37. Meep*

    Hey, OP, as a clumsy asf person who also has a nippy dog… You can also blame your bruises on being generally clumsy. It is neither a lie nor an exposition into your sex life. Their imaginations can run wild about how you were learning how to lasso and accidentally smacked yourself in the face or how you were doing a tree walk and nearly fell 100 ft down but your face caught yourself. People are going to be crazy and make baseless assumptions, but at least they can have fun with it.

  38. DJ Abbott*

    Hi OP! I’m so sorry you had to leave your job.
    As a fellow job seeker, I’m curious what you say in interviews about why you left!

  39. Amethystmoon*

    Wow, I am kind of surprised about all that with HR. But maybe it was a smaller company. With bigger companies, HR tends to be better (but isn’t always).

    Still this is the kind of thing people should…really not ask about. Unless it was a public facing job with customers/clients, it shouldn’t matter past maybe concern about abuse, but as long as it wasn’t that, who really cares? Anything between two consenting adults should be just that…between them.

  40. Amazed and dazed*

    Lee seems like the devil incarnated, Mary severely mentally disturbed and HR entirely scary. I wish the letter writer all the best in their future job.

    1. pancakes*

      I don’t know what you mean by “allow.” Lawyers don’t sit with their clients 24/hours day and control what they say and do. The comments are anonymous and I’m not clear on exactly what your concern is, either. Is the idea that the letter writer will have definitely asked for a jury trial and will have tainted the jury pool by vaguely describing what happened to her here? If that’s your thinking, I’m not sure why you’re pressing for more details.

  41. Joan Clayton*

    Jesus Cristobel Christ! I literally have no words for what I just read! LW I really hope you find a better working environment soon!

Comments are closed.