Gifting a work colleague a present outside of a special occasion is usually considered an act of kindness.
However, there are some gifts that simply cannot be returned or exchanged. In the following case, the gesture was considered insulting.
Redditor _tv_lover_ is the recipient of the unsolicited present who made a comment that rubbed the gift-giver the wrong way.
They visited the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit and asked:
“AITA for not liking a gift I didn’t ask for?”
The Original Poster (OP) wrote:
“Yesterday, I got to work to find a wrapped package on my table, addressed to me but no sender info.”
“Open it to find a bible. I’m not an atheist but I’m not a believer either.”
“Later, I’m invited for lunch by some colleagues and that when one of them asks if I liked my gift.”
“I say, ‘Thanks, but I’m not religious’ and her reply was and I quote ‘I heard you drifted away from God’ and then she said something about me finding my way back.”
“I instinctively reply that she can have her gift back because I’d probably throw it in the trash before I get home.”
“I don’t think it’s fine when my mom says something like that to me (my mom has given me multiple bibles as gifts too) but coming from a stranger (I’m not even remotely close with this colleague) I find it disrespectful and even insulting.”
“The group talk about it a little more until I compare it to gifting meat to a vegan. And then the conversation moves to other topics.”
“Later, one of the members of the lunch group ambushes me and asked me to apologise to the gifter lady.”
“Says I was ungraceful in the way I handled it and said my vegan-meat comparison was unnecessary.”
“Says if I hated the gift so much I could have trashed it and no one would have found out.”
“I have not apologised yet and I don’t want to. The bible is still on my table in the office. Aita?”
Strangers on the internet were asked to declare one of the following:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
Many Redditors thought the OP was not the a**hole in the situation.
“I think you need to get your HR or work higher-ups involved here.”
“It’s a very clear ‘get on the team’ play from the bible lady and her cohort. You may face retaliation from them. NTA.” – Dry_Throat292
The OP replied:
“I don’t wanna escalate to HR. Maybe I can talk to my STL and can I ask for an apology from her?”
“I don’t wanna fuel the drama if I don’t have to but I feel slighted by the actions of the 2 of them.”
Despite the OP’s apprehension, Redditors continued encouraging them to contact HR anyway.
“I get that you don’t want to, but you’re being harassed on the basis of religion.”
“That’s a protected class under federal law and your supervisor may have to escalate it to HR as well. This woman is being entirely inappropriate but she’s also opened up your job to a serious lawsuit.”
“Document the crap out of this. NTA, btw.” – megbookworm
“You NEED to report it. This is entirely inappropriate for a work environment and you don’t wanna find yourself caught up in some bullsh*t.”
“What if she goes to hr and says ‘OP said horrible and disrespectful things to me about my religion!’ Now suddenly you’re in the hotseat.”
“And bible lady has her little buddy to back her up.”
“It’s not an escalation to bring this up with hr, it’s covering your a**.” – brassninja
Redditors also praised the OP for their vegan comparison.
“NTA because they apparently already knew your feelings on religion. And your vegan comparison was perfect.” – RepresentativeOwl518
“NTA. I’m not religious myself and I don’t plan to be, plus them sending you this bible completely unsolicited comes off as a little creepy to me. You have every right to be annoyed with them, I would be too.”
“These coworkers had no right to do that and need to learn to mind their own damn business. I would report them if they carry on like this.”
“Your vegan comparison was perfect BTW.” – SpaceSpudz
“NTA. Any faith or belief you come to is a personal choice. You should never be pressured into it or guilted by others.”
“If you expressed curiosity or a longing for spiritual connection I get it, but just giving some one a bible and. Expecting a magical transformation is bonkers.”
“What would happen if you gave this person a Koran or other holy book? Any faith or belief you come to needs to be at your own desire, no one should attempt to make you follow their journey.” – helleryeah82
“NTA. What your colleague did is harassment in most countries.”
“Not only did she ‘gift’ you a religious text that you did not want but she followed it up with an extremely inappropriate comment. I would seriously consider reporting to HR, if this keeps up it is good to have records of it.”
“Alternatively, at least keep records of today, for example write summary of what happened, who was at the lunch, what both your colleagues told you etc and email it to yourself on work email, this way you have dated record of it.”
“Return the bible or toss it, and if they mention it again, ask them to stop bringing up religion as it is not appropriate for work.”
“If they still do it, report it. Report anything that looks like retaliation. This is your work place and she has no right to make you feel uncomfortable there.” – BookWormsFTW
Overall, a strong majority of Redditors believed proselytizing at the workplace was inappropriate.
In an update, the OP said:
“Just spoke with my STL. There’s gonna be a meeting before EOD. I guess I’m the one getting an apology.”
“We might not involved HR but I’m told it’ll be documented and she’s gonna take the gift back. I’ll find out more when I get in.”