Have you heard the phrase “open the kimono” in a business sense?
Yeah, me neither. But, apparently it was a thing. It shoudn’t be thing. It’s sexist, racist, and generally gross. And a redditor used it at work and all hell broke loose. Here’s the post:
Now, everyone is saying that OP is a horrible person and he got Sarah fired. They are wrong.
OP is definitely ridiculous and may be horrible, but Sarah brought this on herself. Here’s why.
Lying during an investigation is a no-no.
There was past friction between the OP and Sarah, and so when the OP brought the incident with Sarah’s scantily clad wife, they were right to follow up on it. If the same HR person who handled the “open the kimono” incident handled this, I suspect she thought the OP was exaggerating and was attempting to get back at Sarah. HR should go into every investgation neutrally, but let’s be honest–past experiences play a role.
If Sarah had responded, “yes, I’m sorry. My wife came into frame. She didn’t realize the camera was on,” that would have been the end of it. Sarah’s wife was only on camera for seconds, it had never happened before, and heaven knows things happen on Zoom.
But, instead, she responded that the OP was retaliating against her for the “open the kimono” incident where OP was forced to apologize. Her wife, Sarah says, was never inappropriately dressed on camera.
Now, at this point, the HR person absolutely steps up the investigation. This is a serious accusation. And, frankly, since OP admits to not getting along with the team, perhaps this is the the path to remove a problematic employee.
So, HR steps up the investigation. Retaliation is a serious problem, and they don’t want Sarah to be punished for reporting sexual harassment. However, in the course of their investigation, they uncovered texts that backed up OP’ story and showed Sarah’s plot to punish him.
End of job for Sarah.
Lying during an investigation is a serious thing. Framing a co-worker–even one you hate and who everyone hates–is a serious thing. No matter how righteous you may think your cause is–getting rid of a coworker who used an inappropriate phrase and doesn’t get along with anyone anyway–you can’t lie in an investigation.
If you read the OP’s post in a timeline fashion, it becomes a bit more clear as to why Sarah was fired.
- OP who doesn’t get along with coworkers uses the phrase “open the kimono”
- Sarah complains
- OP must apologize, per HR
- Later, Sarah’s wife appears in a zoom meeting for a few seconds, wearing a shirt and undies
- OP complains
- HR Investigates
- Sarah claims OP was retaliating for the kimono incident.
- HR discovered chats that indicate Sarah was framing OP
- Sarah is fired.
- Everyone hates OP.
I often tell people never lie to your lawyer, your priest, your doctor, or your therapist, but let’s add never lie to the HR person conducting an investigation. It may come back to bite you.