Injustice of justice
I called Stuart from the restroom. He was more upset than I was and gladly agreed on my early move to London. I needed to wrap up my life in Germany and study for GMAT, so we decided to complete the move in January.
Before I returned the laptop, I wrote to Mr. Hirao, explaining the inappropriate touching and the weekend offer that frightened me and Mr. Hirao’s call that made me withdraw. Mr. Hirao’s reply was, “the problem was Mr. N didn’t have a clear plan about my roles and responsibilities,” and he didn’t touch upon Mr. N’s behavior.
One female colleague from Mr. Aoyama’s team wrote to me, “I am sorry to hear you are leaving the company. It must have been difficult working with Mr. N. I do believe taking legal action would be fairly reasonable.” She was such a gentle and caring person whom Mr. Aoyama and his entourage treated her like their PA despite her intelligence and professional capability, so her assertiveness surprised me. Feeling validated by her firm support, I thought of possible litigation, but the process was too daunting. The scrutiny would not be limited to the incidents with Mr. N and my relationship with Stuart. There was Klaus before Stuart and my drunken state at a few past office parties. I also hadn’t delivered much output at work because of Mr. N’s intended obstruction, but I blamed myself more for this. I had naively believed one’s ability would surmount office politics. I couldn’t have defended myself if they reasoned my dismissal around my poor performance. I spoke to Stuart just so I could speak my mind out loud, and he was more concerned about antagonizing big men. So I decided that I had to focus on the future, that money had to be spent on tuition, not a lawyer, and that going to business school was more important than justice.
A few months later, in London, I came across an article in Financial Times. A woman sued her employer (a large financial institution) for sexual harassment and won the case for monetary compensation, the amount so immense I cannot recall. But the woman became a “problem” in the industry, and no one wanted to hire her. The year was 2007.