Despite what so many companies like to say, coworkers are not (usually) a family.
There are plenty of coworkers that form friendly, even familial bonds but just because you work with or next to someone does not mean they are your bosom compatriot.
So, what do you do when a coworker not only assumes things about their relationship with you but also about your relationship with others?
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) Moxxies_Thigh_Tattoo when they came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for some outside opinions.
“AITA for not telling my coworkers that I’m polyamorous and laughing at them?”
OP got the background out of the way quickly.
“I (32 Female) am in a poly relationship with Ruby, my GF of 11 years and Louie, my BF of 10 years.”
“The three of us all date each other and are ‘closed off’ to dating anyone outside of our current relationship.”
“I never mentioned this to my coworkers because I never cared to, I don’t tend to talk about my life while at work.”
Before explaining the specifics of the problem.
“A few weeks ago my coworker Ken, who was aware I had a boyfriend, saw me making out with Ruby at a bar and took some pictures.”
“He, apparently, started telling everyone that I was cheating on Louie and showed the pictures of Ruby and I.”
“I had noticed that some people were giving me the cold shoulder but I just figured it was something to do with my recent promotion.”
“A few days ago I was talking to my friend in the break room about her ex and mentioned how much I hate cheaters, which prompted Ken and a few of my other coworkers to start ‘calling me out’ and tell me that I was a hypocrite.”
“When I said that I never cheated Ken ‘confronted’ me with the pictures of Ruby and I at the bar and a picture of Louie and I on a date from last week.”
“Ken kept asking ‘So who are you dating?!’ while shoving his phone in my face, so I just brushed his arm aside and told him, ‘both of them’.”
“That only seemed to see him and others off worse and he started nagging me again and I started laughing.”
“I wasn’t trying to be rude I just actually found it funny how upset everyone was getting over my relationship that they had no idea about.”
“He stopped talking after laughed and I took that time to explain my relationship and showed pictures of all three of us including ones of Ruby and Louie kissing and I joked about him taking pictures ‘like a stalker’.”
“Now a bunch of my coworkers are pissed that I ‘hid’ my polyamory from them and are now saying that it’s ‘my fault’ that they now look like jerks for talking bad about me behind my back.”
OP was left to wonder.
“AITA for not telling my coworkers that I’m poly and subsequently laughing in their faces?”
She did edit for clarity.
“Just to clear up some things.”
“1) Ken does not know either of my partners, he only knew about Louie and had no reasonable way of knowing if I was still with him at the time.”
“2) I was unaware of any of the pictures being taken until Ken showed me them.”
“3) Ken was definitely stalking me and I’ve been in contact with the police so thank you to my coworkers who reached out with some info about that.”
Having laid out the issue and made the situation as clear as she could, OP turned to Reddit for some outside opinions.
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
Some encouraged OP to consider other work environments.
“Holy sh*t, 10000% NTA and this workplace sounds toxic af.”
“Your personal life is none of their business.”
“You owe them nothing. If they want to pry, snoop, jump to conclusions, and spread rumors, it’s not your job to disabuse them of their unfair conclusions.”
“It’s their job to not draw those sh*tty conclusions in the first place.”
“It’s a job-seeker’s market right now. Get out of this workplace if you can.” ~ Most_Poet
Others were very direct about their feelings toward OP’s coworker.
“Get him fired. That’s harassment” ~ Material_Positive_76
“Definitely report Ken to the HR Department for sexual harassment and workplace bullying. (Retired EEO Manager).” ~ Gomaith23
Commenters were quick to point out Ken’s creepy behavior.
“So NTA -“
“I just can’t imagine a situation in which I see a coworker (that I’m not even close enough to know much about their private life) kissing somebody who isn’t their partner and me doing anything other than going ‘hmm’ and maybe telling their partner if I know them.”
“If we’re not close enough for me to actually know somebody is poly, why would I care about this, furthermore it’s so none of my business?”
“If they want colleagues to feel comfortable enough to share their lives, maybe they shouldn’t gossip about them behind their backs?” ~ haleorshine
Some went back to the importance of privacy.
“The actions of Ken and the other coworker’s was highly inappropriate.”
“There is so much wrong here – harassment, gossip, invasion of OP’s privacy, sharing details about someone’s personal life at work, and then blaming OP when their unprofessional behaviour came to light…..”
“Ken was the ringleader but this is a trash workplace.”
“I have seen so many stories on reddit that imply that people have the right and duty to confront cheaters and put them on blast regardless of the person’s relationship with the cheater/person being cheated on.”
“But, the reality is that if you don’t know the person well or they are a coworker, their personal life is none of your business.”
“If you don’t know the relationship dynamics, stay out of it. And, it is certainly not your place to tell others.” ~ Electrical-Date-3951
OP did return later with a final update that put a darker tone on the events.
“I just got home so here’s an update of what’s happened so far.”
“Yesterday a few of my coworkers saw my post and decided to let me know he had been showing them more pictures than the ones I saw.”
“A coworker in IT who was working last night read it and looked in his company computer for any possible pictures and…. there were a lot.”
“When I talked to HR this morning they were aware of both issues as IT had alerted them when they found the pictures and sent them a link to my post.”
“And my friend who works here had also told HR the day it happened even though I had told her originally not to worry about it but they couldn’t do anything until I made a report, the pictures obviously changed that.”
“Ken was definitely stalking me.”
“He was immediately fired and we ended up having to get police involved because it was determined that I was in immediate danger.”
“I do have a temporary restraining order before the court date but he is currently with the police.”
“HR had me go home early today and honestly I’m exhausted. A lot more stuff is happening right now but some of it I can’t talk about right now and others I don’t really want to.”
“Sorry this is kind of disjointed I didn’t sleep much last night and my heads kind of spinning from everything.”
“When I originally posted this I didn’t really take this situation seriously, I just figured it was a coworker just wanting some drama to spread and I just happened to be the prime candidate.”
“Ken had always been a bit of a creepy ‘nice guy’ but never thought much of it and when I laughed and called him a stalker I never would have expected that to be true.”
“Louie and Ruby were able to take some time off and are spending the day with me at home cuddling and watching movies so if anyone has any good movies recommendations please let me know!”
“I’m exhausted and ready for all of this to be over.”
“Thank you all so much for everything, you all made me open my eyes to the real situation when I was laughing it all off as weird coworkers.”
“I’ll update if anything else happens and I’ll update once we go to court, as long as I’m allowed.”
“Also Ruby and Louie told me to tell you all thanks from them too, they’re reading over my shoulders as I type.”
“I forgot to add that my coworker in IT did let me know about the pictures last night after he found them.”
This article began as a simple question of a coworker being kind of a jerk.
After OP”s updates I feel compelled to remind you that “being kind of a jerk” can actually be someone trying to push your boundaries.
Be cautious of anyone who puts effort into making you feel small, or weak, or less-than.
We do not tolerate bullies.