A Playboy's Dream–Part 2
The following day she conducted her interviews. When she questioned the women they all provided similar, sugary-sweet non-answer responses. This behavior set off more alarm bells in Gloria's head. A typical interview went something like this:
Gloria: Monique claimed that people had to be young and attractive to work in the department. Do you think that's true?
Woman: Gee, I thought Monique was attractive–so did everyone else.
Gloria: Is there any undue pressure on you here?
Woman: It's just great working here. I love it.
Gloria: Do you feel that people have to be attractive to work on this floor?
Woman: Well, I certainly try to look my best.
Gloria: Has anyone you know of been turned down?
Woman: I don't know. I don't do the hiring.
Gloria: Has anyone transferred out?
Woman: I can't imagine why–unless of course they've moved. It's such a terrific place to work!
None of this made sense, which fueled Gloria's suspicions. Undaunted, she held a second round of interviews and decided to apply a little pressure. This time she met with Jenny Welschot first.
"Yesterday I interviewed you and every secretary on this floor," Gloria began. "I'm not sure what's going on here, but I don't have a good feeling about it. What I want you to understand is that if there is a problem here, I will protect you. I can only do this if I know what's going on, otherwise I can't help you."
Jenny sat quietly for a moment. Finally, she said, "They told me I'd lose my job if I didn't cooperate. I don't really like it, but I've been going along. I know some of the girls like it, but I only do it because I need my job."
"Do what, Jenny?" Gloria asked.
"Well, every Saturday, the department rents out a room at the Sunnyside Court on Route 1–it's the one that has the nine-hole golf course and clay tennis courts. Three of us have to be available for a three-hour shift. Anyhow, usually I'll be there from about 9 o'clock until noon on rotating Saturdays. So, since there are 12 of us, I only have to go once every four weeks. The fellows in the department work it out among themselves and schedule their times with us. The girls' schedules are usually set several months in advance, although if one of us has a family emergency or something special comes up, we can trade dates with each other–but that doesn't happen very often," Jenny explained calmly, as though she were discussing a process flow chart.
"Could you be a little clearer about how they schedule their times?" Gloria asked, not believing what she was hearing.
"Well, like, if it's summer and one of the guys wants to see me, he'll act like he has to mow the lawn," Jenny said.
"Mow the lawn? What does mowing the lawn have to do with you?" Gloria was totally lost.
"Well, they try to work it out so they can tell their wives they have to run up to the gas station and get gas for the mower, or pick up some stuff from the hardware store. Then they drop by for an hour or so, and go back home to cut the grass," she explained.
"What's involved in these visits?" Gloria asked, afraid of what she was about to hear.
"We have sex," Jenny said, blushing.
Gloria was starting to feel nauseous. "Just how many people are involved?"
"Like I said before, 12 secretaries and at least 20 guys from the department."
"Was Monique Letac involved in this?"
"No, she was never asked," Jenny said.
"How long has this been going on?"
"About a year and a half."
"Why didn't anyone ever complain?" Gloria probed.
"Well, as I mentioned before, some of the girls enjoyed it and thought it was fun. Then some of us were afraid we'd lose our jobs," Jenny responded.
Gloria talked to the rest of the women to verify the information. Through similar procedures, she extracted four voluntary admissions to the Saturday "sexcapades." Since the vice president in the department was a key player in the scandal, Gloria immediately reported the incident to the president. The president called in legal counsel. They confronted the vice president and fired him on the spot. Next, the president demanded a full review of the department, its personnel, and its practices. He called in the internal auditors who conducted a comprehensive investigation.
Once the auditors began their investigation, they found that the Saturday rendezvous were mere ripples in a tidal wave of corruption.
Read Part 3 to learn what the auditor's discovered
Excerpted from Sex, Laws, & Stereotypes, by N. Elizabeth Fried, Ph.D.©