September 6, 2013 - admin

Holy Roller

I used to work as the computer/network tech for a very large hospital, which is public-sector (government-funded) in Canada. I built and fixed the computers, lab instruments, printers, networks, etc. As our staff expanded due to the ever-increasing size of our userbase, my boss decided to put the helpdesk phone support person in my very small office with me. There was barely room for both desks, so we were in uncomfortable proximity.

She was a ‘holy roller’, an obsessive follower of a highly conservative pentecostal sect that decreed that anyone not following their beliefs was a tool of satan and especially hated certain groups of people (non-heterosexuals, unbelievers, certain races, certain other religions, etc). Every day, she would play recordings of loud, bigoted fire-and-brimstone sermons on her PC. These consisted of truly ignorant and ugly attitudes and even threats against the people this religious group hated.
The rest of our staff were close, friendly, and accepting of each others’ differences, so we often spoke about cultural, philosophical, and religious differences together at lunch. One of the other staff, who didn’t know about the new helpdesk women’s attitudes let slip that I was both queer and an atheist.

She began to harass me, calling me horrible names, leaving hateful tracts at my desk, sending me emails with quotes from a variety of very rightwing sources, and even making threatening comments. I finally had to take it to HR. HR told her that the playing of the sermons, the harassment, the emails and tracts, and the threats were inappropriate, and gave her a warning. Unfortunately, she was not removed from my office, and I had to tolerate her hatefulness for 18 more months, until she finally left to pursue another venture. She didn’t change her behaviors much during that time… she just got sneaky about it, hiding her abuse of me from other coworkers so that if I reported her again, it would be a ‘tech said-religious nut’ said’ thing, with no witnesses to bolster my complaint.

When she finally left, the rest of us threw a party. She’d been nasty and hateful to almost everyone on our staff.