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by Abigail Van Buren

Harassed Female Office Worker Should Start Taking Names

DEAR ABBY: I'm writing in response to the letter from "Sick of Being Cupid," the Manhattan, N.Y., office worker who was required to provide female dates to her bosses. As someone who has committed sexual harassment against co-workers in the past, I feel compelled to comment.

If ever there was a case of sexual harassment, this is it. However, Abby, although I agree with your reply, it did not go far enough. "Sick of Being Cupid" should do the following:

(1) In addition to documenting the times and places where she was asked to provide her bosses with "dates" or escorts, she must also document to whom she spoke and what was discussed in terms of what would happen on the date(s) and what, if any, compensation "Sick" was due.

(2) Research the company to see if her bosses have bosses of their own to whom they are accountable.

(3) Find and hire an attorney who specializes in employment law to represent her interests.

(4) Contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) offices in the jurisdiction where she works, and file a sexual harassment claim. (The address and phone number should be in the government pages at the front of her telephone directory.)

By punishing her for her inability to provide them with dates, "Sick's" bosses are creating a hostile work environment. Not only is their behavior contemptible, it is also a violation of federal and New York state law. She should not have her job placed in jeopardy by a couple of idiots who can't find dates for themselves. I urge "Sick" to follow my suggestions so that she may receive justice. -- OTHER SIDE OF THE FENCE IN OREGON

DEAR OTHER SIDE: It seems you learned these lessons the hard way. I'm sure that "Sick" -- and many other employees -- will find your letter useful. Thank you for writing and welcome back to the human race.