Dealing With An Inappropriate Coworker

  1. I recently started a new job that requires working on a team. I found out about the job from a friend of a friend, honestly he is more of an acquaintance only met him once, who happened to be on the selection committee. This acquaintance is on my “team” at the office. As soon as I started he began emailing my private email address offering me gifts, overnight trips, after work help, and other things that I considered inappropriate and crossing the line. The first time I emailed him back and very clearly refused his offer and told him that I look forward to working with him on a professional level and I was uncomfortable with the content of his emails. I was trying to nip this in the bud immediately. The emails continue and after I do not accept his offers he starts to criticize my work. I can take constructive criticism but even the other team members have considered his comments out of line. It seems like this is his way of retaliating for ignoring his advances.

    About a month ago I start receiving emails from his girlfriend accusing me of coming onto her boyfriend, she went through his past emails, I did not even entertain her email because I am trying to keep this professional and figure their relationship problems are not mine. The emails have become so mean and frequent that I had to speak to my team member, he is also a “step” ahead of me and in some ways a boss. He refuses to do anything about the emails and laugh and says his girlfriend has a temper. Temper or not I do not think I deserve to be in the middle of this. I have done nothing wrong and at this point I am having a hard time sleeping or focusing at work because of all of this background drama.

    I wanted to deal with this on my own and sweep this under the rug, but at this point that seems to no longer be an option. I am very much the new kid on the block and he has been with this company for 30+ years and has many allies. I don’t particularly mind this job and it is a great opportunity but at this point I am willing to quit because the drama with my colleague and his girlfriend has become too much.

    I know, have it in emails he sent me, that he straddles the line when it comes to procedure and frequently breaks company rules. I don’t want it to come to this because I always try to do the right thing, but I am considering him telling him that if he doesn’t back off I will make this information public. What should I do?

  2. I would report this. He's incriminated himself in emails already, it sounds like.
  3. 1. Print out all the emails he sent to your address and give them to HR.

    2. If HR does not respond, hire an attorney. That is workplace harassment.
  4. Yep, this.

    I'm honestly shocked at the level of garbage this man brings into the job. Surely he has done this type of foolishness before and HR is aware of his tendencies.
    I don't think he deserves a warning from you. Go to HR.... Today.
    Good luck. Let us know what happens.
  5. Agree. His warning was when OP emailed him back saying she was uncomfortable with the way he was behaving. HR definitely needs to know what's going on.
  6. Do NOT do this. Regardless of him being in the wrong, it could very easily be construed as a threat or blackmail.

    Take all of this to HR. Keep copies of EVERYTHING (even if you have any from before your hiring - seems fairly obvious he sought you out for a reason). Keep all communications with him strictly about the work at hand; and I would not talk to him at all unless another person is present. Document all verbal communications each day. Keep everything from the girlfriend but don't respond to her. Do not discuss any of this with anyone for now. You never know what might get back to him. I would even maintain every communication with HR once that process has started. If they sweep it under the rug; you could also take action against them. Also, know your rights. Most states have information and resources on the web about employment matters.

    Since you'd be willing to leave anyway because of how uncomfortable this has become, there is no reason to allow him to stay off the hook.

    Sorry you have to deal with this. Absolutely disgusting.
  7. I'm sorry this is happening.

    I think you got good advice: continue to ignore them both but print and deliver everything to HR. Let them deal. And you continue to do your best to be a good employee and keep your head high and above this guy's mess.
  8. I agree with reporting this at your workplace. I think this is really the only thing you could do.
  9. I just wanted to thank everyone for their advice, it is much appreciated. The HR director was out last week and just returned. I emailed her and we're trying to figure out how to move forward with this. I don't think she wants to deal with this and hopes it will disappear.
  10. Argh, an HR Director without a backbone - the worst!

    Please do continue to follow up on this with the HR Director, and any company leaders if the HRD is not responsive. It is creating a bad work environment for you which you could potentially pursue legal action - and they should know this!

    Best wishes and post updates!
  11. Don't get discouraged! Keep talking to HR and keep notes, the emails, etc

  12. I have been in a similar situation and ended up leaving. H&R did nothing, seems that's their way of dealing with issues like this is not to and hope it all just goes away. It really angers me the things some people get away with in workplaces because they've been there a long time.

    I hope this creep leaves you alone so you can focus on your reason for being there, YOUR JOB!
  13. Keep all documentation, assure HR that you consider this to be harrassment and let them know you are aware that this is an unsafe work environment. The fact that they know about it and did not will be detrimental should you choose to pursue this.