How to handle a rude coworker is an issue too many of us have to face. When it comes up, how far is too far when retaliating?
Redditor throwaway_babeyyyy has a co-worker who makes crude jokes when she speaks to him. One day, he went too far, and the original poster (OP) feels she has no choice but to report him.
OP is now questioning if she made the right decision, after someone suggested her co-worker might get fired. So she decided to ask the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) about what she and her co-worker each did.
She’s worried about the consequences.
“AITA for jeopardizing a coworker’s job over a joke?”
But is it her fault?
“Hi everyone. Long time lurker, first time poster.”
“I’m a 22 year old female and I work in a retail business that is typically male-dominant. Normally this isn’t an issue – the guys I work with are all very nice, helpful, and respectful.”
“Then there’s Jacob.”
“Jacob (20M[ale]) is a real piece of work: a flirt, an a**-kisser, and tbh, a borderline creep. He has a reputation for chatting up the girls in our department, as well as being quite handsy when an opportunity allows (side hugs, patting backs/arms, etc). We largely just ignore him, but it’s pretty uncomfortable.”
“When Jacob talks to me, he tends to take any ordinary subject and twist it so it becomes sexual in nature. He plays it off as a joke and laughs, but I don’t find it very funny – just uncomfortable.”
“His most recent ‘joke’ really rubbed me the wrong way. I told him about an outing I’d gone on with my boyfriend and two mates of ours from my workplace.”
“Jacob got this stupidly smug look on his face and said, ‘Wow, three boys on one girl! Exciting!’”
“I laughed along despite being uncomfortable. I let him ramble on, making more crude jokes where he basically just sexualised anything I said, then he left. A few days later, another coworker urged me to report Jacob’s behaviour to a manager.”
“I was very hesitant at first but ended up telling a manager the gist of what Jacob was doing to me.”
“Here’s where I think I might be the a**hole. The manager and my coworker both implied that this might be the thing that gets Jacob fired – he could lose his job because I complained about a joke he made.”
“I’m very conflicted.”
OP has been putting up with Jacob’s crude jokes for a little while, and finally reported him. But now he may lose his job.
OP has to wonder if getting him fired is worth the reaction.
On Reddit, the users of the board judged OP for reporting Jacob and possibly getting him fired over dirty jokes by including one of the following in their response:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
The thing is, Jacob is effectively sexually harassing OP. While they may be just jokes, they make OP uncomfortable and difficult to do her job.
On top of all that, OP isn’t the only one experiencing this. It’s common knowledge among the women in the office, meaning his harassment goes further and deeper than what’s presented here.
All this adds up to a situation a long time coming.
OP isn’t the one who got Jacob fired. It was Jacob himself.
“The thing that gets one fired is almost always a last straw sort of deal, you shouldn’t feel guilty about it. He should lose his job, they legally need a reason and you gave them one.”
“NTA” – Sufficient_Cat
“True. I was told (very vaguely) that Jacob has been told off a few times for similar reasons in the past.” – throwaway_babeyyyy (OP)
“Then: NTA! And you wouldn’t been the AH if you’d known this fact.”
“Sounds like he has a history of sexual harassment.” – claypolejr
“You are NTA. Jacob has been warned in the past that these sorts of things are not acceptable. He knows and has ignored those warnings.”
“The final straw is just that: the final straw. He got himself fired for not changing inappropriate behavior.” – Thalymor
“NTA – he’s not losing his job because you complained about a joke he made, he’s losing his job because he kept sexually harassing the girls in your department.”
“One such occurrence of sexual harassment happened to be “a joke” that made you uncomfortable enough to report” – AmaryllisWest
“He’s said so many nasty and horrible things, passing them off as jokes. It becomes more horrifyingly clear the more I think about it. Gross. 😣” – throwaway_babeyyyy (OP)
Even with all that evidence, there was a point made by another user. While this might be the final straw, it didn’t have to be.
It could have been the only straw.
Even if OP had been the only one to experience this, she still should have reported it, even if Jacob got fired.
It’s his own decision to be crude to co-workers and if he gets fired, that’s on him.
“Ok, the people telling you that don’t feel bad because he did other things SHOULD NOT be phrasing it that way.”
“Even if this is the only thing he has every done or has ever been reported, these are HIS ACTIONS and HIS BEHAVIORS that he CHOOSES to undertake on a DAILY basis. You did nothing but report the truth of the matter.”
“You did not force him to be an a**hole and make other people uncomfortable.”
“YOU SHOULD NOT FEEL BAD. Even if this weren’t a ‘last straw’ situation, his behavior is insanely, egregiously inappropriate, shows a large amount of social ineptitude (which is important as a sales person last I checked), and would not have let him be hired if known ahead of time.”
“Studies have long shown that men understand body language more than enough to know when they are making women uncomfortable. More recent studies have shown that men actually have a lower threshold for what they consider sexual harassment than women most likely because (my opinion) we deal with it so much and normalize it as women.”
“Think of all the ridiculously intrusive and terrible things women are forced to go through and act like it’s normal: period pain to the point of not being able to move, HPV/pap smears (think of all the prostate ‘jokes’ in media, that is the equivalent and it’s such a big deal that men talk about it all the time and we’re just expected to be poked, prodded, and tested like livestock), men making us uncomfortable and feeling physically unsafe (but don’t YOU DARE be the one making the situation uncomfortable by pointing it out /s), birth control on its own can have terrible side effects, including suicide and sexual dysfunctions, yet in 2008 when they were doing clinical trials of the pill on men, they stopped the trial because the men had ‘mood swings and acne.’”
“At some point, certain IUDS in the 70s caused perforated uteruses and sepsis miscarriages, but the women were ‘exaggerating’ their pain.”
“We all know women who have been in ‘uncomfortable’ sexual situations or did sexual things they didn’t want to because they were asked again and again and again until they said yes, because no wasn’t taken seriously the first time (sexual coercion btw).”
“The internet is rife with anecdotes about women who have to cross state lines to get birth control or get their FATHER’S permission as full grown women in their 30s/40s for either birth control or a hysterectomy, because a MAN needs to sign off on it and they don’t have husbands.”
“We are expected to deal with all this and more, but heaven forbid a man be held accountable for his own actions. Actions that he clearly, blatantly knew he was doing.”
“You will be hard pressed to get me to believe he had absolutely no idea what he was doing.”
“And to be clear, OP NTA, and I’m not frustrated with you or your post; I’m frustrated with all these answers that make it seem like multiple instances are needed until you can feel ok for stating your discomfort and standing up for yourself.”
“People who say things are ‘jokes’ in situations like this completely know that is not the case and are assholes.”
“He knows what he is doing. He knows that is not a normal way to behave and interact with people.”
“He is a grown ass man deciding to sexually harass women at work, and unfortunately, it’s been put on you to deal with it, and I’m sorry that burden has been handed to you.”
“But please, don’t ever, ever, ever, ever feel bad for making a man face the actions of his consequences. They get off easy enough as it is.”
“You DID NOT get him fired, HE GOT HIMSELF FIRED.” – marmartcat
The main take away is that OP is NTA and shouldn’t feel guilty over reporting Jacob. If he’s fired, it was due to his own actions, no one else’s.