We all have boundaries.
We all have limitations on what we are comfortable with sharing or what we’re comfortable with doing.
Expressing those boundaries clearly can be a challenge, but once that’s been accomplished all that’s left is to enforce them.
The problem occurs when a boundary is stated, enforced – and ignored.
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) Life-Percentage-5567 when she came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.
“AITA for writing up an employee who catfished me?”
OP began by explaining the setting.
“I’m a manager in a work environment that’s rather casual where employees get close and spend a lot of time together outside of work.”
“I’m a little traditional when it comes to employer/employee relationships so while I do participate in some activities to build morale and camaraderie (i.e. happy hours after work, attend weddings if invited, etc.),”
“I do not participate in social activities where things might get out of hand (i.e. going to concerts, clubbing, just going to someone’s house to hang out, etc.).”
“This is a personal policy that I also extend to social media where I keep my profiles private and do not add or accept employees on all platforms.”
“I just like to keep things private and don’t want them to see where I spend my time, who I’m dating, etc.”
“Recently a new hire asked me for my account, and I kindly let her know that I like to keep things private.”
Everything was fine, until…
“I thought that was it, but she went ahead and made a fake account to follow me (going as far as to post fake photos and write a fake bio to look like we went to college together).”
“I found out because after I accepted her, she took screenshots of my photos and shared them to other colleagues.”
“Thankfully there wasn’t anything off base on my accounts, but she did share photos of a new boyfriend I haven’t introduced yet as well as photos of a new designer bag I purchased and ‘jokingly’ asked everyone if he was my ‘sugar daddy'”.
“It was a huge breach of my privacy (her comments also embarrassed me), and I ended up writing her up (which is a semi-serious offense at our workplace that can lead to termination).”
“Since then, it’s caused a huge drama at work with some employees thinking I can’t take a joke and that I was taking things too far while others came out to support me.”
“I hate that it’s split up the team.”
“Upper management supports my decision, but some employees have mentioned that I could have just verbally warned her first and that it was my own fault for falling for her catfish.”
OP was left to wonder,
Having explained the issue, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: NTA
For some, this was a question of professionalism.
“That employee showed horrible professional judgment as well as engaged in behavior that could be considered harassment.”
“It calls into question her ability to follow directions or even to understand basic professional norms.”
“As for those complaining that you didn’t give her a verbal warning… You did!”
“She asked for information about you and you politely warned her that was crossing a line.”
“She then decided to not only disregard your warning, but to do it in a way where she didn’t think she’d get caught.”
“That’s premeditation, and no longer deserves the benefit of the doubt.”
“For any staff members who are confused about this, I would suggest a refresher course on sexual harassment.”
“While her behavior may not have been sexually based, it violated a basic tenet of sexual harassment: namely that continuing to pursue someone after they’ve said no is wildly inappropriate.”
“If your staff don’t understand that, you have a bigger problem on your hands” ~ DinaFelice
“‘She did share photos of a new boyfriend I haven’t introduced yet as well as photos of a new designer bag I purchased and “jokingly” asked everyone if he was my “sugar daddy”.”‘
“I would say that bringing OP’s love life into the office and asking if her boyfriend is her sugar daddy does constitute sexual harassment”
“It was humiliating, highly personal, and an allegation of a sexual nature (exchanging sex for material goods).” ~ Normal-Height-8577
“New hire? She hasn’t built up enough cred to be able to joke with you like that and frankly, that’s not even a joke it’s weird insubordination and harassment. Fire them.” ~ SnooHesitations9269
Others wondered about the motive.
“I am extremely on board with firing, idk if that’s possible tho”
“She went out of her way to expose OPs private life in a work environment, even after she told her OPs not comfortable with that.”
“Personally, idk if I would be able to work in the same team with her with everything that happened.”
“As some comments said before, I would push for harassment training because is clear someone in OPs team needs it”
“I want to know wtf was she thinking, was she trying to discredit OP? To make fun of OPs circumstances? To broadcast all the ‘dirty little secrets’ found there?” ~ mintpink11
“Right, I’d like to know what she was thinking too.”
“The ‘joke’ about a sugar daddy smells a bit misogynistic to me.”
“Got nothing but guesses, but maybe it was a way to score like pick-me points while putting down someone above her (although OP didn’t specify their gender so don’t know if they’re she also).”
“Like devaluing OP’s finances and position – OP may be in management, but wants a fancy baggie from a man, of course it wouldn’t be something they’d buy themselves.”
“Or maybe the joke is supposed to be how she thinks fancy bags are dumb and how much better she is for not buying into this female silliness about expensive sh*t.”
“Who knows! But I really don’t like that kind of a ‘joke'”. ~ Riiroh
“Stalking, harrassment… and the question is WHY?”
“What kind of person gets their kicks doing this? All for the LOLZ? Going through all this trouble?”
“Frankly, I find it disturbing and would feel very uncomfortable having a coworker around me who did this. Trust in them would be gone.”
“It is because of people like that, that we can’t have nice things, FFS.”
“OP, NTA – and I hope you consider the suggestion of staff training others have made.” ~ RanaEire
Some gave very detailed reasoning.
“I think firing is 100% okay in this situation.”
“- A verbal warning was given; I keep my social media private and separate from my work place and colleagues.”
“- Person LIES ABOUT IDENTITY to her superior”
“- Impersonates someone she went to school with (catfishing, or fraudulent identity at that point, AND stalking)”
“- Steals private information (photos, posts, identity of SO)”
“- SPREADS private information (harassment, spreading rumors, gossip, etc)”
“- Teases/mocks boss for possibly being a ‘Sugar baby’ (at this point that’s not only humiliation, but sexual harassment even)”
“She flat-out went for insubordination, humiliation, sexual harassment, fraudulent identity, stalking, and had even gotten a warning about it verballing in the first place.”
“Fire. Her. Now.”
“At first it seems like a ‘wow I must be overthinking this’ but what if she does it again?”
“What if she does it to spite her superior and get them fired?”
“To spread rumors? To change screen caps and send to the higher-ups?”
“I wouldn’t put it past this woman to be crazy like that if she went from 0-100 JUST to dig through her boss’ social media page.” ~ deerchortle
“NTA that is a gross violation.”
“She pretty much took the worry most of the general populace have and made it a reality.”
“The blatant victim blaming by your employees also needs to be addressed preferably in a seminar where they take harassment training.”
“Keep an eye on those employees because it sounds like worst case scenario they would do something similar as a “joke”‘.
“Edit: Thank you for all the likes and awards guys! I just word vomited this out of sheer disgust.” ~ BriefHorror
“published private information”
“accused you of having a sugar daddy (sexual harassment)”
“This is not a ‘joke’. At a minimum, it shows poor judgment and you can’t trust her.”
“Why haven’t you discussed this with HR. This level of problem is fireable. And now they are retaliating.”
“Is she a brand new hire still on probation? Terminate her.”
“This is egregious. And egregious acts do not merit verbal warnings.” ~ LadyLightTravel
Many called for a more permanent solution than a write up.
“I would probably terminate this person.”
“A new hire that not only bullied their boss, but showed such an outstanding amount of unprofessionalism and bad judgement? You need to talk to HR about termination.” ~ JennaMree
“You would also be completely justified in firing her.” ~ PositivelySingleMom
Enforcing a boundary can be uncomfortable.
You have clearly stated that something makes you uncomfortable, and the other party not only does that thing, but finds a way to somehow make it more malicious than it already was.
Standing up for your own safety, for your own mental health, and for your own comfort is difficult…
…But absolutely vital.