I have a conservative dress code. I think any self-respecting individual should have a proper dress code regardless where she works. In the time we live in, being a woman does not protect me from the BS of other women, biological or transgender ones. In all my life I wore short twice, I was visiting an acquaintance and we had her car on hand. It was one of these long football shorts and we were much younger. Sometime when I was in graduate school, I decided to learn swimming, but being in a swimsuit is not comfortable for me at all. I got one of those professional one swimsuit (expensive) and I bought a male swim trunk. I still maintained a conservative look trying to learn how to swim. I did not finish the class; I could not float in five feet swimming pool.
About a year or so ago, I almost tripped on my face at work and in the process of trying to balance myself, my head hit the hip of a transgender female (male to female). She/ he went and complaint about me that I "touched" her/ him inappropriately. Luckily, my boss knew how I am, so she managed the transgender claim as much as she could. About ten years ago, I worked as a tutor for an after-school tutoring center. The center was managed by three women. one of them who happened to be the Math director used to dress in a bizarre way considering that we were surrounded by minors and elementary school kids. She was like 30 years old but that's no excuse, is it? She wore tops that were barely covering her breast, short skirts..etc, she was a big woman. Minors started to come to the center dressed weird. The director started to complain to parents and told them that they will be sent home if they come to us in an improper outfit. Yet, no one could tell the 30 years old Math director to cover her chest. Although I was one of main Math and science tutors, I did not have much interaction with her unless needed. So, I guess I turned a blind eye. A young tutor assistant got terminated because of a confrontation with her. History keeps repeating itself unless we do something. Fast forward few years, I used to work for one of the not for profit nightmares, the manager a big woman with again extremely inappropriate dress code. I do not know what's the deal with the big chest but she wore very short dresses and her chest was all exposed. Unlike the Math director, she was not White, she was of Mexican-Saudi background. She did not have any education but a high school and she managed one of the chain stores of this not for profit none sense. Her improper outfits were noticed by everyone, yet no one said anything. One day she fired one of the workers who did not agree much with her, he was a VET. He looked too young to be one, but he claimed to be one.
Fast forward few years I had my encounter with the male-female transgender, but I was fortunate as I mentioned above.
Now, again, I am working for a company and I work with people who apparently link professional look with provocative looks. I do not know how to tell her that her dress code makes me uncomfortable. She is of Iranian background. I grew up in the Middle East. I do not wear the headcover but I dress appropriately. The American coworkers do not dress like her so it is not cultural differences, it is a personal choice that should not be imposed on the workplace.
The manager is a male, so he did not show much objection to the inappropriate outfits. Someone might say, if he does not mind why do I. Because a transgender harassed me before and being a woman does not protect me from the BS claimed by other women.
Here are few of the incidents I witnessed:
- one of the company clients came in and I was busy, so she tried to handle his request. She got off her desk, her dress already quite short ridding up her hips almost to the panty line. The client looked at me, I felt the heat coming off my ear and face, but I did not say anything. The customer was not happy. Since then, I probably saw him once or twice and he waited for either me or the other coworkers who has a bit more conservative look than this lady.
- Another time, her short dress rolled up again. The manager was sitting across. The associate next to me told her that her dress was rolled up (much like the one mentioned above). She laughed and told this associate that it was not a big deal. This associate is a female too, married with kids. The male manager kind of laughed and told them that he was not looking. I turned away. Personally, I think this Iranian woman knows that I do not respect her dress code. And she intentionally put all of us in this just to show of us cannot do anything about the way she dresses and that even the one who has the gut to speak up got shut down infornt of our Black manager and he could not do anything but make it into a joke!!!!
The issue continues and the problem that people like that, if you try to say anything, they will get quite nasty. One of the roommates I have here in my household (not my choice, the original lessee let her in) is a gay black woman and you cannot say anything because any reasonable objection would be claimed as discrimination, hatred, anti LGBTQ and the list never ends. At the time we live in, unless we are extremely left, we should not have voice.
I do not feel comfortable being around this woman alone. I have been living in this country and in this continental (Canada and the USA) for about 25 years. I went to school with born and raised Americans, I have never seen any of them dressed like that in a professional setting.
I once took a workshop offered by a former VET related to the financial world. We had a couple of young ones and several middle age ones. He used to tell everybody to cover up and dress appropriately because the only thing they should sell is the company products and not anything else, referencing the inappropriate outfits. I heard he died; I wonder how he would have handled her if he was working with her.
Someone could say that the manager is probably not a good one otherwise who would have not hired someone like her. Well, the manager is black and probably was afraid that her heavy Iranian accent and her looks could fire back at him.
Every time I have to take care of a task with her, I am extremely stressed and keeps twice as many feet as required by the COVID restrictions and I am always looking up into the camera, so I am not looking at her pending over or pulling her dress up or whatever the hell she thinks she does on the clock.
I am incredibly stressed; someone might say that the transgender incident caused me PTSD. But I always had issues with women who dressed inappropriately at workplace. It is just when I was younger or student, I used to turn a blind eye and tell myself that if I work with dignity, what people like her do is not my issue. But as I said once before and again, we live in a different time and being a woman does not protect me against what she could claim (example the male-female transgender issue).
How do I handle her without being stressed? The manager gave management responsibility, basically regardless of her minimal experience, she essentially can boss me and boss the other one around. She does it in the Iranian way too, so it is even worse (You have to be of Middle Eastern background to understand what that mean). As for the manager, he has fun giggling with her in his office daily. The other coworker talked to me a couple times about the issue. I told her that I do not know what can be done. Both of us are looking for other jobs while we are surviving an uncomfortable environment.
How could the issue of inappropriate/ provocative outfits be addressed without making the issue more complicated?
I am not going to post this anonymously because I am extremely stressed working in this environment with that woman. If there is editing issue, I am sure you will still be able to understand where my PTSD is coming from.