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Woman Catches Vendors Having ‘Locker Room’ Chats About Her During A Meeting, Cancels The Sale Despite VP’s Desperate Attempts To Save It
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Woman Catches Vendors Having ‘Locker Room’ Chats About Her During A Meeting, Cancels The Sale Despite VP’s Desperate Attempts To Save It

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It’s 2023. We have a pill for treating Covid, electric vehicles now account for about 17% of the cars sold in Europe, and AI robots are capable of “sensing anxiety” and holding impressive conversations. Yet amongst all of these impressive technological advancements, some things seem to never change (in a bad way). The gender pay gap is still as prevalent as ever, and misogyny in the workplace doesn’t end there. Just ask Whitney Sharpe, the former Miss Massachusetts turned “corporate sales girly”.

Whitney has recently made waves on TikTok after sharing a video where she confronted men she was working with for sending inappropriate messages about her during a meeting. Viewers are now applauding her for sparking this important conversation and condemning sexual harassment in the workplace, so below, you can read all about the upsetting saga yourself.

Keep reading to also find an interview with the team at EasyLlama, a company committed to creating safer, more positive and more inclusive workplace culture. Then, if you’re interested in checking out another Bored Panda article discussing inappropriate behavior at work, we recommend reading this story next. 

After Whitney Sharpe caught potential clients sending inappropriate messages about her during a work meeting, she made it clear that she has a zero-tolerance policy for this behavior

Image credits: whitneysharpe

She shared a TikTok of her confronting the clients, which has now gone viral and sparked important conversations about sexual harassment in the workplace

Image credits: whitneyrose617

Image credits: whitneyrose617

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Image credits: whitneyrose617

Image credits: whitneyrose617

Image credits: whitneyrose617

Image credits: whitneyrose617

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Image credits: whitneyrose617

Image credits: whitneyrose617

You can see the full exchange right here

@whitneyrose617It’s rough being a woman in a male dominated field 😬♬ original sound – Whitney

Later, the company’s VP of Sales reached out to Whitney with an attempted apology

Image credits: whitneyrose617

This is the apology email that I received from this company’s VP of sales that the men report into, I’m assuming. I think that this could have been written a lot better between me and you.

I also think that he could have picked up the phone and called me himself considering a part of this demo was that they showed me how easy it is to get people’s cell phone numbers. It’s a company similar to ZoomInfo. And they used my own LinkedIn profile as an example and showed me that they do have my cell phone number. So I know for a fact that they know where to reach me via phone.

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Image credits: whitneyrose617

If you go on and read this email, it says “I understand you would like to work with a female moving forward. However, I do not have anyone skilled enough to assist you that is female”. Red flag, red flag, don’t you see that as a problem, in that statement alone?
Why don’t you hire someone? There’s plenty of talented women out in the field and honestly, it would be an honor for you to have them join your company.

He said that “we have a small US team of about 15 sellers, four of them are dedicated to Enterprise.” I work for a big company, so I’m assuming we would be an Enterprise customer for them. Then they go on to talk about how amazing their company is. “We’re coming out of hyper growth phase of building the entire US revenue org from the ground up through 2022”, blah, blah. I don’t care. Where’s the “I’m sorry”?

Image credits: whitneyrose617

If you read this, it’s pretty much a “I’m sorry I got caught” email. It doesn’t seem sincere. It doesn’t come across as genuine, it doesn’t say what actions they’re taking.

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I would love to first of all receive a phone call, since I know they have my phone number. I would like for them to let me know what they’re doing to take action. Maybe enroll their whole company in some sort of sexual harassment type training, that would maybe be a start. Maybe not hire misogynistic pricks to represent their company out in the field. Maybe hire smarter people that know how to share their screen since that’s part of their freaking job. I don’t know, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to do those things.

It’s just pretty crazy. So I don’t know if they learned anything from this. It’s just really sad that this keeps happening and I didn’t expect that video to blow up but see, he says it’s “truly embarrassing”. Yeah, it’s it’s embarrassing that you got caught sir. That’s what’s embarrassing.

Here’s the full video of Whitney addressing the apology email

@whitneyrose617 How not to apologize in corporate America 101 #hrnightmare ♬ Flowers – Miley Cyrus

Finally, Whitney received a phone call from the VP of Sales, but unfortunately, it was not up to par either

Image credits: whitneyrose617

Image credits: whitneyrose617

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I got a call from that VP of sales this morning, not because he saw these TikToks, he actually had no idea that these were going on. He called me to do damage control, basically, to save the sale.

Image credits: whitneyrose617

He wanted to make sure that I’m still in their good graces so that I would continue this sales cycle and in the end, buy the product from them. I got a lot of comments that said, drop the vendor. They’re not currently a vendor of us yet, I was evaluating them to become one of our vendors, that will no longer be happening.

I cannot work with a vendor and my company will not support a vendor that does not support women in business. It’s just not going to happen. His apology basically just reiterated the entire email, it was not genuine.

Image credits: whitneyrose617

The only concrete thing he said he’s going to do to take action is talk to HR this afternoon. He should have spoken to HR the second he heard about this yesterday, at 12 o’clock in the afternoon. That’s the real problem there – this isn’t high enough up on their priority list. They don’t deserve to have a business. They don’t deserve to employ any woman anywhere in the world. I just really can’t believe their response and reaction that this company has given me.

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Image credits: whitneyrose617

It’s clear, they probably don’t have daughters. Maybe they don’t have sisters. Maybe they just don’t respect women in general. But no one deserves to do business with this vendor and I’m definitely teetering back and forth with “do I say who the vendor is? Do I not say who the vendor is?” I do want to have some sort of mutual respect for some reason still between the two of us. I don’t know why I care but it’s a lot.

You can hear all about the phone call right here

@whitneyrose617The saga continues. I can’t thank you all enough for the love and support. There’s so many bad ass women out there 💖♬ original sound – Whitney

Whitney later addressed some of the negative feedback that she has received for sharing these videos, reminding audiences how traumatic experiences like this are for victims

@whitneyrose617 I’m an imperfect human, but doing the best I can. Thank you to every amazing human who has supported me and brought attention to this important issue 🤍 #stopsexualharassmrassment #metoo ♬ original sound – Whitney

She even shared some advice for how others can respond to sexual harassment in the future

@whitneyrose617 This has worked for me, in a real life true situation! Always go to HR in every case, that’s my one regret here. #GRWM #girlboss ♬ original sound – Whitney

To learn more about the importance of having a safe company culture and educating employees on issues such as sexual harassment in the workplace, we reached out to the team at EasyLlama. First, we were curious if the messages Whitney read qualify as sexual harassment. “Workplace harassment is defined as any unwanted or unwelcome conduct based on a series of protected characteristics, including sex or gender,” they told Bored Panda. “From the details in Whitney’s videos and her use of the term ‘locker room talk,’ we can assume that these inappropriate messages were unwanted and made her feel uncomfortable.” And as disgusting as this behavior is, it’s not uncommon. According to a survey by Stop Street Harassment, an astonishing 38% of women have been sexually harassed at work. This could include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and verbal or physical harassment, among other inappropriate actions.

We also asked the team at EasyLlama what actions employees should take when they’ve been the target of inappropriate behavior in the workplace such as this. “If an employee is the victim of sexual harassment, they should report their complaint as soon as they are able. Most companies should have a code of conduct that details the process for reporting their situation, which typically goes through HR,” they explained. “In Whitney’s case, this sexual harassment is coming from an outside vendor, which is often called third-party harassment. Employers must deal accordingly with third-party harassment experienced in the workplace in order to protect their employees from harassment or humiliation by outside clients or vendors.”

“Whitney’s employer is required to provide a workplace free from sexual harassment, including from outside parties, and they have a legal responsibility to investigate her claim,” the EasyLlama team told Bored Panda. “Her employer’s first priority should be to carefully protect Whitney as they investigate the situation with the vendor. Whitney could also report her complaint to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), but it is recommended – and in some cases required by law – to file a report with her employer first,” EasyLlama added.

And on the side of the supervisor, the EasyLlama team told us that, “Once an employee has filed a harassment claim, their employer is required to conduct an investigation. Once the investigation is complete, they should write a report and communicate the findings to all parties involved.”

“In this case, Whitney’s employer should partner with the employees’ supervisor accused of ‘locker room talk’ in an investigation if possible,” they explained. “If the investigation confirms the harassment claim, the harassers’ employer should take immediate and appropriate corrective action. However, these investigation processes and corrective action requirements depend on local and state legislation.”

“Whitney’s employer and the supervisor of these employees can also take steps to reassure her that her work environment is safe, such as establishing a zero-tolerance policy for any future instances of harassment, or implementing an anonymous reporting system for employees to report any future incidents of harassment,” EasyLlama added.

Despite how often this kind of behavior occurs in the workplace, it frequently goes unnoticed, unreported or is not taken as seriously as it should be. Only 141 countries currently have legislation in place against sexual harassment at work, and many victims are afraid to speak up. In fact, about 58% of women who have experienced sexual harassment on the job don’t ever file a complaint, and a mere 1% of victims actually confront their perpetrators. That’s part of the reason these videos shared by Whitney are so important to see. It’s understandable for victims to want to keep quiet about what they have experienced, but it can be incredibly empowering to speak up and hold perpetrators accountable for their actions. If no one knows what’s going on, how can we ensure that this behavior ends?

Among the many reasons why sexual harassment is inexcusable, one of the most upsetting effects is the massive toll it can take on survivors. 31% of victims begin to feel depressed and anxious after going through a traumatic experience such as this, and on average, victims lose about $22,500 through lost productivity. It’s incredibly hard to focus on your job when you don’t feel safe, and it will likely be necessary to take mental health days or take breaks more often to cope with the anxiety. 

It’s also important to note that this is not a one-sided issue. Men and women both experience sexual harassment at work, and although it may be more prevalent against women, men are often fearful about speaking up as well. According to Nursing Times, only 17% of male nurses who have experienced sexual harassment, which is over half of all male nurses, actually report it to their employers.

So what can we be doing to fix this issue plaguing our workplaces, our health and our safety? EasyLlama says that workplace training can go a long way.  “Our harassment and discrimination prevention training can guide employers and employees through strategies, solutions, and best practices for identifying, reporting, and preventing harassment in the workplace. Legislation may vary between states and countries, and EasyLlama provides a variety of courses to address these differences.”

If you’re interested in helping your business become a better, safer, and more inclusive place to work, be sure to visit EasyLlama’s website and check out their workplace training courses right here.

It’s wonderful that Whitney was able to call these men out and spark this conversation online, but as she said herself, there is still much work to be done. We would love to hear your thoughts on this conversation in the comments down below pandas, and then if you’d like to check out another Bored Panda article discussing the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace, look no further than right here.    

Viewers applauded Whitney for being brave enough to share this story, while also calling out these men for their unacceptable behavior and bungled apologies

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Adelaide Ross

Adelaide Ross

Author, BoredPanda staff

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Howdy, I'm Adelaide! I'm originally from Texas, but after graduating from university with an acting degree, I relocated to sunny Los Angeles for a while. I then got a serious bite from the travel bug and found myself moving to Sweden and England before settling in Lithuania about two years ago. I'm passionate about animal welfare, sustainability and eating delicious food. But as you can see, I cover a wide range of topics including drama, internet trends and hilarious memes. I can easily be won over with a Seinfeld reference, vegan pastry or glass of fresh cold brew. And during my free time, I can usually be seen strolling through a park, playing tennis or baking something tasty.

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Adelaide Ross

Adelaide Ross

Author, BoredPanda staff

Howdy, I'm Adelaide! I'm originally from Texas, but after graduating from university with an acting degree, I relocated to sunny Los Angeles for a while. I then got a serious bite from the travel bug and found myself moving to Sweden and England before settling in Lithuania about two years ago. I'm passionate about animal welfare, sustainability and eating delicious food. But as you can see, I cover a wide range of topics including drama, internet trends and hilarious memes. I can easily be won over with a Seinfeld reference, vegan pastry or glass of fresh cold brew. And during my free time, I can usually be seen strolling through a park, playing tennis or baking something tasty.

Austėja Akavickaitė

Austėja Akavickaitė

Author, Community member

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Austėja is a Photo Editor at Bored Panda with a BA in Photography.

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Austėja Akavickaitė

Austėja Akavickaitė

Author, Community member

Austėja is a Photo Editor at Bored Panda with a BA in Photography.

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zak_1 avatar
zak
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

What was even said about her? I was expecting a screenshot of the "locker room talk" but I didn't see it in here

sonja_6 avatar
Sonja
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

He claims his employees know professional expectations, still they ignore them completely. And it's telling he says first this should never have been shared, it should never have been written! And it's no wonder he has no qualified female employees. They're probably running out of the doors in this misogynist pigpen were everyone openly chats in a sexist way about an important business partner they try to convince! This sheer stupidity alone is enough to not make any deals with them

emory_ce avatar
Carol Emory
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I do find that there are some women that are overly sensitive at times, but this woman is my hero. She handled it professionally and with a grace that was not matched by the VP. I've been in companies where it was predominantly male and the amount of locker room talk that went on was deplorable. I learned early on to ignore it and, if it got out of hand, call them out on it. I am happy that I now work for a company where this behavior is not tolerated and that women and men are respected on an equal level. The old boys club is on it's way out.

smi avatar
S Mi
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The thing about not having skilled women....the attitude liklely permeates the organization. How about some mentorship and support for one of those you already have working for you? Or have you already determined they are in a dead-end job?

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zak_1 avatar
zak
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

What was even said about her? I was expecting a screenshot of the "locker room talk" but I didn't see it in here

sonja_6 avatar
Sonja
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

He claims his employees know professional expectations, still they ignore them completely. And it's telling he says first this should never have been shared, it should never have been written! And it's no wonder he has no qualified female employees. They're probably running out of the doors in this misogynist pigpen were everyone openly chats in a sexist way about an important business partner they try to convince! This sheer stupidity alone is enough to not make any deals with them

emory_ce avatar
Carol Emory
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I do find that there are some women that are overly sensitive at times, but this woman is my hero. She handled it professionally and with a grace that was not matched by the VP. I've been in companies where it was predominantly male and the amount of locker room talk that went on was deplorable. I learned early on to ignore it and, if it got out of hand, call them out on it. I am happy that I now work for a company where this behavior is not tolerated and that women and men are respected on an equal level. The old boys club is on it's way out.

smi avatar
S Mi
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The thing about not having skilled women....the attitude liklely permeates the organization. How about some mentorship and support for one of those you already have working for you? Or have you already determined they are in a dead-end job?

Load More Replies...
Load More Comments
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