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Manager Accuses Female Coworker Of Sexism After She Donates Money To Help Pregnant Coworker, But Not To His Honeymoon Fund

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How is it always true that once a person expects something of you, they then expect more and more?

Ironically, these usually seem to be people in a privileged position, an upper-ranking one, believing they are somehow better than you.

A woman spoke back to a person like this in her workplace, as she described on the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

The Redditor explained that, though this upper-management employee had already received funds for his honeymoon, he was perplexed that his subordinate somehow received more for her pregnancy with twins.

The Original Poster (OP) wrote into the sub after all of this happened, wondering if she was in the wrong for speaking up in the first place.

The OP asked: 

“AITA for telling a Manager it’s not a gender thing that he overspent on his wedding?”

Last year, everyone in the OP’s workplace was expected to contribute money to a honeymoon.

“An Executive HR Manager was getting married last year and everyone was EXPECTED to donate towards their honeymoon between $50-$100 because they could not afford it (Around Christmas time).”

“First things first, h**l nah. Secondly, this manager makes triple my salary so, again, h**l nah.”

But the OP started a trend of “no, thank you’s” in the office.

“I replied, ‘no thank you’ kindly in the group chat. Not because I didn’t want to but because of the principle.”

“Well I guess I started a whole to-do because people started backing out.”

“Well, needless to say, he was upset about the amount of money he received (less than $6,000) and had to reduce his honeymoon days from 20 to 14 (omg, first world problems).”

Money was requested again this year, this time for the mother of twins. 

“Fast-forward to COVID and a coworker, notably makes less than him, conceived twins after a drunk unprotected night with her husband. They were completely unprepared, just got married 8 months prior and were not trying.”

“People asked if we could donate $10-$25 towards helping her. I got irritated by this. So you are willing to ask people to donate $50-$100 for a f**king honeymoon for someone who clearly can afford it?”

This year, the OP started a trend of “yes, please” instead. 

“So I donated $100 and went and got things off of her registry.”

“Well, I guess people took my lead and did the same. She ended up receiving almost $11,000 for her babies plus items off of her registry.”

“She was very grateful and actually gave back $4,000, so we could receive some of our donations back since COVID and many base and middle management had to take salary cuts.”

“Side note: Company structure, there are 4 tiers: Entry (No pay cut taken) $30,000 – $40,000. Base Management (15% Pay cut taken) $50,000 – $70,000. Middle Management (25% Pay cut taken) $75,000 – $90,000. Executive Management (No pay cut taken) $150,000 – $300,000.”

The Executive HR manager, recipient of the honeymoon funds, was not pleased by this. 

“The Executive HR manager found out and had a fit.”

“In a regional meeting Monday, he bought up how unfair it was to treat men differently.”

The OP was ready to put him in his place, however. 

“Here is where I ([Female]) may be an a**hole:”

“I replied, ‘Please don’t make this a gender thing. You clearly overspent on your wedding. C didn’t plan for two babies during a pandemic.'”

“‘H**l, she didn’t plan for one, especially with the pay cuts.'”

“‘You also, make more than everyone in this room, so you could donate to us. Just saying.’”

“Well, he got upset and said I would be receiving a corrective. I reminded him that he is HR and bipartisan employee and participating in such activities is unethical in front of everyone.”

Now the OP wonders if she overstepped too much.

“AITA? Half of the team thinks I am right for shutting his ungrateful a** up but the other half feel I should have just kept quiet and to stop starting.”

After receiving many comments, the OP updated her post with more information about her coworker, the mother of twins, and the pay environment at work. 

“Edit: So many comments and thank you all. I get why some say ESH and that is cool.”

The OP clarified that she addressed the Executive because of pay cuts, his expectations, and his misuse of gender. 

“To explain: He did not ask us himself. He complained to his department and they solicited the request.”

“C did not know she was pregnant until 20 weeks because she has PCOS and irregular periods are normal. She also did not ask us for anything. Someone overheard her crying and thought we could help.”

“I have scheduled with the CEO with a meeting recording for Friday. Also, our new CEO is pretty awesome, he came after the pay cuts and is working to change that.”

“Edit 2: We have a pay schedule. This is based upon job title and years worked. This was to create transparency to prevent racial and gender pay inequality within job duties. Bonuses are up in the air.”

The OP clarified that C did not share her news with her coworkers on purpose.

“C did not tell anyone at work about her getting drunk and unprotected sex. She alluded to me because we have the same medical issue that causes fertility issues. So I asked her how she did it as once COVID is up, I wanted to start trying myself.”

“She straight-faced me and said, ‘Got drunk, was stupid, and now pregnant.’ I just shared that information with you all here.”

“And the person that said I watch too much Office. I have never seen an episode but if it as a good show please point me to the season and episode number so I can watch it. Thank you.”

The OP also emphasized C did not ask her coworkers for anything. 

“Edit 3: Lastly, in 2018 we got a more liberal CEO, who wanted to create a ‘be yourself’ community environment. Sounds great but not without rules. It opened the flood gates for them to do whatever in Executive Management without fear of repercussions.”

“Prior to last year, cash/gift-giving was forbidden no matter the reason. We could only donate our Sick Time and/or PTO time to employees with serious medical issues.”

“Myself and C work in separate departments so we don’t see or interact with each other much. We just share resources since we have the same medical condition. Again, C did not expect nor ask anyone for anything, she did not feel entitled, someone asked us and because of the amount asked I got irritated and decided to donate more.”

“I started the fire, not C. My comment to him stemmed from the pay cut we took and the fact that he felt entitled to any of our money and tried to use gender as an excuse.”

Fellow Redditors responded to the OP’s confrontation, using the following scale:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some could not believe the HR Director’s audacity at asking for money for a honeymoon in the first place.

“A manager asking for extremely expensive (let’s not mince words, $50-$100 is a huge gift to a coworker) gifts from their subordinates is shady as f**k. A HR manager doing that is even more shady.”

“This guy deserves to be fired.”Ozryela

“The audacity is just WILD?! also I’m shocked they didn’t factor in honeymoon into their wedding budget.”

“I got married recently-ish and we spent well within our means and family gifts which were a privilege.”

“I’m sick at the thought of asking people on my staff to contribute to my honeymoon when in some cases I made 2x their salary. It’s disgusting. They still got me a gift and I wrote personal notes to all 16 people thanking them after”MyTFAB9019

“It seems ridiculous that he would get upset about it in the first place. He received $6000! That’s a large amount of money.”dezayek

Others agreed and pointed out there’s a big difference between having unexpected twins and not setting aside wedding funds for the resulting honeymoon…

“I have no problem tossing $5 or $10 into a pot for a wedding or baby regardless of the level of the coworker. I would happily give my $5 if my boss got married without a second thought. But $50 is a lot and is far more than i budget for a coworkers wedding.”kennedar_1984

“Also, baby things are essential. Clothes, nappies, wipes, creams, etc. The same can’t really be said for weddings and honeymoons.”Tattycakes

A few were really grateful the OP stood her ground, calling OP some sort of hero.

“Everyone has the ability to make good little changes like OP. It doesn’t take a hero, just convictions that you’re willing to stand up for.”Triptaker8

“This is proof you are an agent of change, most people would have stayed quiet and let it happen out of fear.”notsomuchhoney

“You are one of those people who can make good changes in your little world. Do what you do but be careful too. Sharks everywhere. You are a hero.”shezrandom

One pointed out the large target the OP may have on her back now. 

“NTA”

“BUT remember they are HR… Cover Your A**.”

“I think you may have inadvertently put a bullseye on your back. ‘Friends’ may also targeted if they don’t choose the proper side.”

“In a perfect world, I agree with you. however, this is far from a perfect world and people with power can very easily abuse it.”

“take care and be careful”spechtds

It’s terrifying for some people to speak up at work, even when they know something is wrong, because they can’t afford to lose their job. But sometimes justice is worth the risk, as the OP demonstrated.

Who’s to say what will come of the OP’s confrontation, or even what will happen for OP at work going forward. But when given the opportunity to speak up, it’s heartening to see the OP took the leap.

McKenzie Lynn Tozan

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com.