No one should have to put up with the gross men in these stories. They made their female co-workers witness a living nightmare, with seemingly nowhere to turn and no one to talk to. These brave women put up with far too much, but a lucky few found sweet justice in the end. How these men got hired in the first place is so baffling. Content has been edited for clarity.
Managers Makes It Clear
“We had an old guy come into the bar (late 50s), and I sent my new female bartender to help him. He orders a mixed drink, and my girl turns around and rings him up. Now, this dive bar had no such thing as a tab (unless you were a regular who I knew personally, and even then you had to leave your car keys with me), so it was pay per drink and we only had one till. So once a drink was rung up, you had to finish the sale for the other bar tenders to go ahead.
This moron refused to pay for his drink, demanding a tab be run for him. I’m standing just behind my girl, so I hear everything, but I let her handle the explanation. I see how the guy turns red from anger and he starts VERY loudly asking her if she thinks he doesn’t have the money for it. She starts stumbling so I step up to take over, but as I do, this guy throws a hand full of bills at my girl, which lands on the floor.
She bends down to pick it up, but I stop her. I turn to the guy and in my deadliest voice I thank him for the tip, and that he can now hand my girl the money like a human being. He gets even redder and throws another bill at us. I pick it up and place it in the tip jar behind the counter and inform him that I still expect him to pay for his drink. I then mention he is holding up the bar and people are getting upset (which was true – we had a steady supply of burly biker regulars who were waiting for service). He slammed his drink down, slapped more bills on the bar counter, and grumbled about awful service and calling me some nasty names.
I took the money, cleared the till, and told him he’s awful and to get out of my bar. He blew his lid at being called out by a 20-something girl and stomped off. We made about four times what the drink would have cost out of the guy before he stomped off.
I loved that job because the owner of the bar knew me and knew I was a fair manager, so if something happened and he got a call the next day about service being bad, he always trusted my story and the place had cameras to back me up. He also didn’t believe that the customer is always right, so that gave us some leeway to kick the losers out that made the place super sketchy.”
Refusal To Back Down
I had a boss that ran a women’s oriented business. Mostly beauty products with a chain of local stores. He’d come in from time to time and target a young employee, specifically to try to make her cry. Then he’d leave with his chest puffed out. In my culture, young women are raised from birth to be meek, to please, to get married and raise babies.
One day it was my turn. At the time my body type was quite willowy. Because of my physicality alone, I would be targeted, and by then I knew exactly how to react to it. He needled, got gruff, started to yell about me being responsible for things out of my control, and I yelled back. He was not used to that. Eventually he started to sulk and he backed off. This 50-year-old man thinking he was tough because young female employees feared him and then would bend over to try to please him.
I was NOT going to do that, and he knew I had no problem losing that job if it came to it. I could work for minimum wage elsewhere. I liked the job itself. I was good at it and he knew it. It could have gone the other way. He could have doubled down on me, but he didn’t. Instead, he avoided me because I took effort. However, when he came in and thought he could target one of my coworkers, it didn’t get far because I’d get between them. Not aggressively. I would just go over and start talking to him about my department, in a way where I’d force him to have to make some sort of executive decision.
In my time working there, I’d reduced his visits to our store from 3 times a week to once a month, and our productivity rose. It’s amazing how well people work together when they don’t walk on eggshells. I’m sure he went to other stores to berate the girls.”
Acting Like A Bratty Child
“My husband worked at a small museum. He was the only employee and they were hiring an assistant. Two of the volunteers and I applied. I always helped out at events so the board of directors knew me. Being the oldest and having a bachelors degree made me the better candidate, and I got hired.
One of the guys I went up against simply didn’t want to believe it. When I would give our interns their tasks for the day, he would deliberately go up to our female volunteer and give her a different task. Our intern was so confused. I told her to only do what we ask her to do. He never told our male intern what to do, which I thought was weird. He wouldn’t even do anything himself. He would just try to tell our intern what to do, and would sit and do nothing all day. So after a few days of frustration, I finally told him to sit up front and greet people. Since he was a volunteer, he needed something to do. He was so mad. He said he needed to study and couldn’t do it. I said okay, he should go study somewhere else. This isn’t a study group or a library. It’s a museum. He rolled his eyes and said fine. But he moved the greeting desk all the way back away from the entrance. I got up, moved his desk, and told him he needed to leave if he didn’t do what I asked him to do. He rolled his eyes and spent most of the day ‘on lunch break’ in the back of our museum.
So the next day, he ignored all my directions again and would bother my intern with things to do. At the end of the day, I asked him to stay behind. I told him he will not be having any communication with our interns. They have work to do and he is distracting them. He was very short with me and very rude. My husband knew what was going on and was letting me handle this situation. He would only step in if I asked. And I did. My husband got up and said he would no longer be welcome if he didn’t follow my directions. I was the one who was hired and he needed to do what I asked if he wanted to continue volunteering. He rolled his eyes and left. He never came back.
My husband thinks he was angry because a woman got the position instead of him. He thinks this guy was trying to make my life a living nightmare so I would quit and he could get the position. He never had issues with my husband, so I couldn’t only assume I hurt his masculinity by getting the position and he didn’t. Oh well.”
Her Heart Fell Immediately
“I will never forget this day. Background: I’m very good in my field. I was recruited to run a program, and I turned the place around in a few short months. I was only 20, and it was the most responsibility I’d ever had. I was so proud of the work I had done. I prepared it all to present to my board. I spent hours talking about the new programming I put in place, the successes we’d had since then, and our increased partnerships and financial support. I got incredible feedback from everyone, and I walked out of there feeling so much pride in my work.
The chairman of the board said nothing. Didn’t ask questions or comment or whatever, so when he asked to speak with me privately I was excited to get the pat on the back. That is, until he spoke. ‘I just want you to know your skirt is too tight and too short and it’s inappropriate.’
I’m five feet tall and 100lbs. I was wearing a black pencil skirt just above the knee. With a long sleeve button up business blouse. In fact, my female CEO was wearing a MUCH shorter casual dress. So I asked him if he talked to her too. He laughed and spoke again. ‘Well she’s 55. You’re 20. It’s different.’
He came to the meeting in a T-shirt, shorts, and flip-flops. My boss was wearing a shorter dress. My other male colleague was dressed the same. You know why? Because it was July. 97 degrees. No air conditioning in the office. I was sweltering as is, but wanted to look professional, hence the pencil skirt and blouse. I spent the rest of the day feeling like an idiot. All that pride I felt came crashing down because how could I have been so stupid to wear something inappropriate in front of the board?
All that work, and all he had to say to me was about my appearance. Now I know that he just simply found me attractive and made his feelings about it my problem, instead of his. And his incredibly wealthy old self got away with it, because I was 20 and didn’t have the know-how to push back. Forget that guy.
Chip, you’re a real turd. The next time I see you, you bet I’m gonna make a scene, and I hope your wife is there to see it.”
“I order bagels for my whole team on Fridays. Sometimes, another team will occasionally be in the office as well, but not regularly enough for me to know or be able to include them in the order. One Friday, I asked someone who was NOT on my team to please wait until everyone on my team had a bagel before he took one. He literally RAISED HIS VOICE at me and said something along the lines of, ‘I can’t believe you’re excluding me from bagel time! This is ridiculous. Just because I’m not in this office doesn’t mean I’m not part of the team!’
So I said, ‘If you want to be included next time, please let me know that you’ll be here. and I’ll make sure to include you in the order.’
He continued to raise his voice about it TO ME, so I walked away, turned to a coworker, and said, ‘I can’t imagine what it’s like to be an adult man yelling at a woman about a free bagel.’
A few weeks later, we got pizza for the office. He was there again, and a new hire was also visiting my office for the first time. She comes into the ‘pizza party’ and he says, ‘Did you RSVP to this? You better watch out. My co-worker is VICIOUS about stuff like that.’
I let it slide, but then when he came back into our office about something else, I enact my revenge. I loudly say (in front of our bosses), ‘Hey Coworker, what was that thing you called me before? I can’t remember… was it…. vicious? Did you call me vicious?’
He simply HUNG HIS HEAD AND SAID YES, and then tried to play it off like he was a compliment. So I continued, ‘Oh, so it WAS vicious. You called me vicious.’
It was fantastic to shame him in front of my office (filled with mostly women). He also called me ‘too direct’ on a few occasions. So I had to tell him, ‘There is no such thing as being too direct, but there is such a thing as misogyny.’
He clearly was threatened by ANY woman who just did their job. He was a manager. I am staff level. The layers of nonsense to his toxic masculinity were truly insane. He got fired a few months ago. It feels so good.”
“I Left After Less Than Two Months”
“There was this guy, just one year older than me, who hired my husband and I for different positions in his small business. I left the place in less than two months. While he seemed to worship my husband, he micromanaged and second-guessed everything I did, even questioning my ability to work remotely. I was working part-time there, and he even knew I did remote work for several other clients. He would question me because, ‘Who’s there to check up on you?’
He was positively shocked one day to discover that I have a PhD (apparently he skipped actually reading my resume). He would almost refuse to believe it, telling me, ‘YOU have a PhD?!’ which I found quite offensive.
And after I quit, for very good reasons, he tried to pull one of those ‘Women, eh?’ sorts of rhetoric on my husband, implying that women weren’t cut out for that office job. Needless to say, it didn’t go over well. And I found out he had been atrocious to other women in the workplace before me, his own wife included (which is why she stopped working there, but she is sadly still married to him).”
Atrocious Aviation Encounter
“So I work in aviation. I few years ago we were having a problem with a plane. It was basically one of those cases that started out as one problem that couldn’t be fixed. Then it morphed into all these other problems contributing towards it. We had mostly an all female team, with just 2 inexperienced male coworkers.
Well one of the male higher-ups overlooking the operation didn’t believe the problems we had found. So he brought in someone else experienced with the plane. He was a really awesome dude. I worked with him before and he is a really great mentor. Well we explained the problem we found, he did some troubleshooting of his own, just to say the same exact thing we said.
These words will ring in my head after he was told this news. ‘See! He knows what he is doing!’ my male boss yelled across the hangar. My female supervisor was so fed up that she just dropped her tools and walked out. I wish there was a better ending but no, she just told me that as a woman in a very physical and mostly male dominate job, that you will have to work extra hard to just even be heard.”
He Was Too Strong For The Job
“My previous job consisted of a lot of handiwork. We were a team of eight: four women and four men. One day, one of the wheels of a big bench broke down. The bench was extremely heavy, and there was no space to turn it. It was a real team effort to fix it. The men and two of the women lifted it. I and the other women brought old tires to put under, to create enough space for someone to go under safely and put back the wheel.
Once that was done, it was me that was designated to go under and put back the wheel, for the sheer and sole reason that with my really tiny frame and size, I was the only one who would fit, and been able to work safely and comfortably. So, I did it. However, it was the very first time that I had to use a drill. And for that first, I had to use it upside down, lying on my back, wearing protective glasses and mask, under big furniture, and very bad lighting. Not the best condition to learn a new skill.
It took me about an hour to put back four bolts, and a lot of swearing and guidance from my boss, but I did it. I was quite proud of me. My boss was proud of me. My team members were super supportive and great and all. All but Eric. Eric put the mood down, pointing out that it was a really easy job, not worth all the praise. Then, he kept repeating that he would have done it in 15 minutes, or even less (surely true). And it was because of how strong he was that they were able to lift the bench. But alas, looks like his big manly muscles were what kept him from doing this job.”
Pompous Prison Guard
“I used to work in a jail as a civilian worker. When I was hired, I was told I would not ever have to work directly with inmates without a deputy present. Four years later, I was paired with a recently promoted sergeant, who was out to prove himself. We were short-staffed and he tried to force me into working in a housing unit alone with male inmates, with nothing to protect myself with. I was the best trained booking specialist, who was also trained in other essential areas, so there was no reason besides him being on a power trip to have me doing that job that day. I flat out refused due to what I was told at hiring. If I had to work directly with inmates, I would have not taken the job. He tried to get me written up for insubordination to prove a point, but my Lieutenant actually took my side. I even had to have a meeting with him about my insubordination, where I stood my ground and said that even though he was the sergeant, I was not working that specific job. He did make my life a living nightmare though, until I quit half a year later to move in with my boyfriend (now husband).
He was definitely trying to put me in my place and show me that women don’t belong there. Which I made sure with my exit interview to let internal affairs know that this is how his actions were perceived. After I quit, they stopped putting civilians in housing units with inmates, without deputies present.”
They Never Saw Her Skill
“I’m a bartender and I’ve worked with a few male coworkers. It’s crazy annoying how often male customers will assume my male coworkers know more than me, or assume the male is my boss.
Two recent examples: I had two idiots come up to my bar on a busy Friday. When I approached them asking what I could get for them, they shook their heads and said, ‘Uh, NO. We need someone who knows what they’re doing,’ and point at my male coworker, who is busy. I told them I would be helping them and they proceeded to order two mixed shots (I don’t remember what it was, but something gross and fairly common), and after I gave them the drinks, they made some really condescending comments about how impressed they were that I knew how to make this drink.
I had a dude ask me which of our hard ciders was the strongest, and I replied, ‘None of them are especially strong, they’re all around the 5-6% range. Are you looking for something sweeter or more dry?’
He looked irritated, pointed to my male coworker, and told me, ‘Well, why don’t you ask your boss?’
It’s especially annoying because my male coworkers have all only been dive bartenders, so when someone wants a fancy or weird mixed drink, they often defer to me since I have more experience with that. I like all my coworkers, but there is a different dynamic from customers when I’m working with a man. I’ll often have to send the male co-worker over to repeat what I just told a male customer before the customer will listen to me.”
“It’s Just Not Me”
“For a while, I worked as the maintenance person for our library. After another four years, a position opened up within the union as a clerk at the library. After years as an auto mechanic and jobs like that, I was more than happy to take a 50 cent pay cut to do a less physically demanding job. We hired a new guy for my old job. The job focused on outside lawn care and snow removal, with basic janitorial duties and light maintenance on the interior as needed. It also entailed coordinating with contractors for electrical work and whatnot.
His cleaning was beyond subpar, which I kept bringing up. I endlessly offered help, advice, you name it. He stubbornly refused to try it. Part of the problem was when we saw him walking around with only a spray bottle and a rag. Next, we see him carrying one small office trash bag at a time. The thing is, when I started that job, I asked for the really nice cleaning cart that could hold everything, contain garbage, and carry much-needed replacement items. Finally, I asked him why he isn’t using the cart. He told me, ‘Well you see, using it seems… it’s just not me.’
I asked clarification, and finally he admits that it was not masculine and was degrading to use the janitorial cart. No joke. Three years later, and he still hates to admit that this job involves cleaning.”
“I ran into a colleague on the street once, coming back from a meeting. He and I walked together back to the building, just chatting.
This guy is nice, but he does weird things that are based on outdated gender norms. So as we’re walking along at one point, he places one hand on either of my shoulders and just lightly pushes me to the opposite side of him, so that he’s now on the side of the sidewalk that’s closest to traffic. When my face betrayed how confused I was, he made some comment about it being, ‘for my protection.’
We get up to the building and the doors are automatic. We go through them and I reach the door to the stairwell first, which I open and we walk through. When we reach our floor, I open the door because, again, I reached the door first. We reached the outer doors to the office, and for the third time I reach the door first and open it, but this time as he goes through, he was makes some comment about how, ‘This just feels wrong.’
I don’t quite figure it out until we reach the last set of doors, which he practically leaps ahead of me to open. As I go through he says, ‘I’m just uncomfortable otherwise.’
I didn’t really know how to react, which is why I didn’t say anything. I didn’t know how to process it because, as you say, it’s not like it’s really protecting me from anything. It’s not really a one-off thing with him, unfortunately. He does these strange, overly-polite things all the time.”
Stop Means Stop
“I work in the service/hospitality industry. I had a fellow server constantly ask me about my tips/tipping average, and just overall was super competitive for no reason. He also was a big fan of slapping my butt with a wet rag. Months before the incident, I sternly told him to stop, and he did. Until one day, I had just clocked in and felt a familiar sting. I told myself I would let him have that one, and if he did it again I would tell him off.
He came by and slapped me with the rag again. So I told him, ‘Hey, I don’t know if it wasn’t enough for you months ago when I told you to stop, but I was serious. Stop.’
He walks away and comes back over a few minutes later. ‘If you even think about reporting me for harassment, I’ll actually assault you’ he told me.
This dude who literally could never beat me, as far as service goes, had to threaten the use of his physical power over me. My manager happened to be around the corner and heard the whole interaction. He called me in the office and asked me what happened. The butt-slapping idiot was fired within minutes.”
Terrifying Tattoo Parlor
“So I’m a tattoo artist, and there was this one prominent shop up in Portland that I would sit in for regular guest spots at. I went because one of my friends worked there, who is an incredibly talented artist, and generally an awesome/respectful/sweet dude. His boss, however, was a man’s man, jiu jutsu bro, elder gen-x dude. Tattooing is already rife with fragile male egos, not to mention martial arts, so honestly, it was a matter of time before this nonsense came up.
Boss Man was sitting at the drawing table, hanging out with a couple of the other artists and the shop manager (we’ll call her Leslie). Boss Man is talking about karaoke and asking everyone what their favorite karaoke jams are. He asks me, and not yet having had any personal experience to indicate that I needed to guard my response, I said ‘Crazy on You’ by Heart and ‘Rehab’ by Amy Winehouse.
‘Amy Winehouse?! Oh, god. Leslie, what were we talking about earlier this morning?!’
‘Leave your uterus at home,’ the other artist parroted, sheepishly.
I am so utterly dumbfounded that this was not only the expressed sentiment, but was a sentiment being groomed into his employees, and was essentially weaponized internal misogyny. It took me a few seconds to just kinda get out, ‘Uh, I’m pretty sure it’s exactly where it’s supposed to be.’
That was the last time I worked at that shop.”
“Strap In For The Worst Night Of My Life”
“Strap in for the worst work night of my life. I worked at a pizza shop in high school as a cashier. I was verbally abused nearly every day for two years. We hired a new cook after our most respected one (who walked over two miles to work every day and worked for the business for nearly a decade) was fired for no good reason.
This new cook is out for blood. Everyone there was fine to him and never tried crossing him, but I’m over it by the first day. He’s constantly making orders wrong, to the point where longtime customers who have been ordering for over twenty years specifically tell me to not have him make their food. He gets into verbal spats with customers who call him out on their food tasting like garbage.
One particular night, he was wasted off the stuff we used to make some special pasta. He’s making orders wrong left and right. When I ask for a time frame for a sandwich, he says 7 minutes. It’s now 15. We are backed up, and he’s not done with the sandwich. When I tell him to get his act together, he explodes and says to stay in my place and calls me some exceptionally rude names. Later that day, I’m in the back room to stock up on drinks, and he corners me in that room. I luckily escape, but I knew what he wanted to do.
My boss calls me into his office. The cook reported me for being disrespectful. I get in trouble. At this point, I’m furious. I go back out as I have four hours left for my shift. The cook starts antagonizing me for being rude and takes my silence as a win in his book. I begin to cry and my other boss, who is also the head chef, notices. This man is honestly super misogynistic too and a jock stereotype, but he got so mad when he saw me crying. I explain the cook cornered me in the back room, and he wouldn’t have that. When the cook started making fun of me again, my other boss started tearing him a new one. They got into a verbal altercation.
Then a customer comes in. He was the wrestling champ of my high school in the 90s, now the wrestling coach. Next thing you know, he joins in berating the cook. The head chef and cook end up getting into a fist fight outside. Somehow, he STILL isn’t fired, but he never talked to me again after that. He gets fired two weeks later for breaking a plate instead.
I quit soon after, because the owner who punished me for talking back to the cook ignored the several reports of assault from multiple of my high school-aged coworkers. I still am friends with the head chef though, because even though he was horrible sometimes, he always defended me from the nonsense.”