No one wants to get fired, but sometimes it happens. Sometimes it might happen for good reason. Take the case of Ling Chan who worked at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. During her time at FINRA, she developed something of an obsession with one of her coworkers, a man named Daniel Small. She would make repeated and unwanted advances toward Small, and he did not want any part of it.
The first step was to have HR talk to her. Maybe she didn’t realize what she was doing was harassment. It seems that changing her ways did not occur to Chan since when she was brought into the HR office, she asked the rep to pass a love note to Small for her. She doesn’t seem like someone who can read the room.
Because of the constant sexual harassment, she was fired from her job. Normally, this would be a good and righteous end to the story, but the tale doesn’t end there. Not by a long shot.
The Deep Desire to Be Rehired
Rather than realizing that her actions were wrong and trying to better herself, Chan decided that the best course of action for her would be to reapply. However, what kind of sucker reapplies just once? After she was fired, she attempted to reapply 574 times for 82 different jobs. She also used nearly a dozen different email addresses and 150 user accounts to do this. You can say a lot of things about Chan, but you can’t say that she’s a quitter.
To say this is going overboard would be quite an understatement. Chan is no slouch, though, so she took the oddness to a new level. She also started to target John Braut, the FINRA HR manager that wasn’t rehiring her. As part of her harassment campaign, she signed him up for porn magazines and websites. She also posted comments about Braut to various websites, including Craigslist. She also wrote that she would “love the opportunity to push him in front of a taxi or bus”. She also wrote, “John Braut, I hope you rot in hell. You are better off dead.”
During this time, she also filed 154 complaints with FINRA’s online ethics board. She sent 129 complaints to the company ombudsman and chose to ignore the legal warnings that told her to stop her behavior. It seems that she had plenty to do with all of the free time she had without being employed. Unfortunately, none of what she did was constructive.
Naturally, FINRA and Braut couldn’t put up with this continued behavior. They filed a suit against Chan in the Manhattan Supreme Court in 2013 to get help with dealing with their problematic former employee. The judge in the case, Judge Deborah James, issued a restraining order against Chan. This order banned her from applying for more jobs, filing more complaints, or using FINRA’s computer systems. She was also forbidden from scrubbing her computer records. Braut filed a formal complaint with the police because of the continued threats made against him.
A Serious and Sad Situation
Sexual harassment is a serious problem, and the company did the right thing by firing Chan. Small should never have been subject to that type of behavior, and Braut never should have had to deal with threats from Chan. However, as you can see from the hundreds and hundreds of applications and the threats, the issue with Chan may have been far deeper than just harassment from a crush that didn’t reciprocate her affections. Hopefully, Chan was able to get the help that she likely needed.