A Walmart employee says a man exposed himself to her while she was stocking shelves during an overnight shift. She says that her manager told her that because she wasn’t touched by the man who sexually harassed her, she had to go back to work.
Genesis Cher’i (@genesiss_cheri) posted a TikTok telling her story about a man who exposed himself to her in a Walmart aisle while she was stocking shelves during her overnight shift. She says that a man approached her while she was working and lingered nearby. He spoke to her once, but she wasn’t sure what he was talking about. Then, she says, he exposed his “entire genitalia” to her.
Cher’i explains that she messaged her team lead about the situation but tried not to react while the man was still near her in case he had a weapon on him. The TikToker says that when her team lead didn’t respond fast enough, she took the boxes of items she was stocking to a back room to talk to another member of management.
The TikToker’s story is split up into multiple parts on Instagram. On Tuesday, Cher’i’s first video explaining her experience had over a million views.
@genesiss_cheri #fyp #viral #ptsd #triggerwarning #trauma #toxicmanagment #workproblems #work #walmart #employeeproblems #foryou #exsposed #blacktiktokcommunity #workplaceharassment #speakup #mentalhealth #harrassmentawareness #storytime #blackgirl #workplacetiktok #workplaceharassment #blacklivesmatter #blacktiktok #blacktiktokcommunity #foryou #onthejob ♬ original sound – Genesisss_cheri
In her next video, Cher’i says that she identified the man on the store’s security cameras, but he had left the store before security or the police were notified of the situation. The TikToker says that her manager then told her to get back to work because the man hadn’t touched her.
“‘Technically you did not get sexually assaulted. He did not grope you or touch you inappropriately. So what I’m going to need you to do is gather yourself and get back to stocking,” Cher’i says a hiring manager at Walmart said to her. At the time, Cher’i says she was crying, nauseous, and “ready to go home.”
Cher’i then tells viewers that she has post-traumatic stress disorder and trauma and that the sexual harassment was “really” triggering for her.
“Her saying that to me, something so insensitive,” Cher’i says in her second TikTok about the situation. “I’m trying to calm myself down, I’m trying to pray as I’m going back to the aisle.” Cher’i says when she got back to where she was working, she was still crying and couldn’t pull herself together.
In her third video telling her story, Cher’i says that when this occurred, she had only been working at Walmart for two weeks. The TikToker says that she told another manager that she needed to leave early from her shift for her mental health and that manager told her if she did, there was a high likelihood that Cher’i would be fired.
Cher’i says when she was persistent about leaving, the manager told her she would receive her last check and implied Cher’i would be fired.
“What you won’t do is silence me,” Cher’i says in a TikTok.
Cher’i says the manager then un-fired her and told her to return to work the next day. Cher’i says in her TikTok that she plans on contacting Walmart’s corporate offices.
Many commenters on Cher’i’s videos felt for her and agreed that her managers were in the wrong regarding how they handled the situation.
“I am very sorry, this has happened to you,” @yolandat1010 commented. “Management failed you, and wasn’t empathetic.”
“Sounds very [insensitive] what your hiring manager said,” @mtiochondriamultiverse wrote. “Start looking for a new job.”
“After a [trauma] you need your safe place and that’s with family and friends,” @mandalay20 commented. “You could sue if they do anything even dock your pay.”
Others said they had similar experiences while working at Walmart.
“You’re not alone,” @lilyvasquez61 commented. “This happened to me while I was working at another location. Helping out in shoe department.”
“I left Walmart,” @itslelee2 wrote. “I was having a high risk pregnancy and they wanted me to climb ladders.”
“Walmart is super insensitive,” @ninathepyt commented. “My mom was unresponsive and I had to leave, nobody cared all they had to say was that it would be a point [against me].”
Some commenters gave Cher’i advice: Hire a lawyer, contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and email Walmart to create a paper trail.
The Daily Dot reached out to Cher’i via email and to Walmart through a contact form.
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*First Published: Aug 9, 2022, 4:31 pm CDT
Tricia Crimmins is the IRL staff writer at the Daily Dot. She is also a New York-based comedian studying at Columbia Journalism School. Previously, she has written for Mashable, Complex Networks, and Moment magazine. She can be found on Twitter at @TriciaCrimmins.