Everyone has their occasional workplace problem. Usually the issues are pretty easy to work past, like a tough deadline or an overly zealous coworker.
But sometimes the issue is a little more embarrassing, like a wardrobe malfunction.
One woman found out something about her clothes she had never realized, according to the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
When she found out, Redditor aitanipplenurse was mortified.
So much so, the Original Poster (OP) wondered how she should respond.
She asked the sub:
“WIBTA (Would I Be the A**hole) for going to HR (Human Resources) about my secret nickname?”
The OP recently found out about an embarrassing name her coworkers had for her.
“Long story short, I’m a nurse at a hospital and I go to different floors as my job to help out. I have a pretty common name – think Jessica, Amanda, etc. there are several Nurses with my name throughout the hospital and sometimes multiple on the same floor.”
“Today I was working on a hall with a new nurse who didn’t know me yet. She commented on how it was weird that this floor had 3 Jessica’s on it. She asked me which one I was (I guess she thought I worked just on that floor) and I told her my last name.”
“Then she asked if I knew ‘Jessica with the nipples that works on float pool’.”
“The charge nurse was nearby and I noticed her eyes get kind of big and she looked nervous all of a sudden.”
“I was confused for a minute because I’d had never heard this description and as far as I knew I was the only Jessica in the float pool. It dawned on me that she was referring to me without knowing I am apparently ‘Jessica with the nipples.'”
“I guess this was just a known thing about me? Cause that nurse avoided me like the plague all day and so did everyone else.”
“The charge nurse tried to make it into a joke with me at lunch and I laughed to hide my embarrassment but I am mortified.”
“I had noticed my nipples sparingly in the bathroom mirror and thought it was just a rare thing when cold. I guess my nipples show thru my sports bra and scrubs on a regular enough basis that it’s become my secret identifier.”
The OP wasn’t sure how to respond.
“I told a friend I was thinking about going to HR about this but they said it was obviously a harmless identifier that I was never supposed to find out about, so it should have been no harm, no foul, the same as ‘Jessica with red hair,’ etc.”
“I feel like it is not harmless though to use an identifier that is so embarrassing and made me the butt of jokes.”
“I think I could be the AH because I don’t know what HR would do and what if it is too extreme? I don’t want anyone fired.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some said any other name would have been more appropriate than the one she was given.
“NTA. If you call someone by a nickname at work, it needs to be a nickname that you can both 1) call them to their face, and 2) call them with other clients nearby.”
“Because of point 2) last names could be bad – privacy destroying and whenever possible give as little information to customers/patients. Also, we’ve got a few Derek’s where I work. Three have the same last initial. Fortunately, we’re not customer-facing so just use firstname+lastname if there’s any chance of confusion.”
“Tall Jess, Runner Jess, Plant Jess, Orange Jess (she was eating an orange on her first day when she met Runner Jess, so everyone just remembers that she’s Orange Jess), etc. Nipples Jess is downright Not Civil.” – Coffee_u
“‘Float Pool Jessica’ would be perfect since it’s already part of the description and she’s the only one” – FrankensteinMeunster
“Right, but surely they aren’t using ‘Jessica with the nipples’ in front of patients and families either, so it doesn’t seem like it would be too much trouble to use a last name or initial only with coworkers.” – 8daysgirl
Others criticized her workplace’s culture.
“As a nurse, I can tell you they are making fun of her bc they think it’s intentional. Like they think she probably uses it to flirt with doctors or patients’ family members.”
“That’s also why they never told her that they could see her nips bc they think she wants them showing.”
“OP should report it and make sure her nips are covered going forward bc it’s probably against the dress code. A padded bra works wonders, if you need any ideas.”
“NTA” – Corago513
“I’m a nurse and my name is Kelly. I was ‘Crying Kelly’ bc (because) I went thru a rough patch with my mom dying from cancer shortly before I graduated from nursing school, and I would sometimes have a rough day and cry in the breakroom a bit.”
“There was a ‘hot Kelly,’ ‘b***hy Kelly,’ ‘nice Kelly,’ ‘smart Kelly,’ you get the idea.”
“I totally feel for OP. NTA, it’s highly inappropriate. Also, why are we being a**holes and giving these names in the first place?”
“I’ve talked about it a lot in the r/nurse subreddit, but I really hate how the old school nurses treat the younger nurses and ‘eat them alive.'”
“I quit working on the floor bc I’m too nice. I am now a nurse educator and I have very long talks about the need for professionalism and kindness not just to patients but to one another.” – kellylovesdisney
“RN of 14 years here. Can confirm. I have never witnessed a larger collection of insufferable, underhanded, backstabbing brats than in the nursing profession.”
“After years of being horribly bullied, I’m finally working for a smaller private company with an incredible boss and coworkers who build each other up. The general culture of nursing is absolute garbage.” – TheCrankyRunner
A few encouraged her to report the incident to HR.
“I wouldn’t really call it borderline harassment, this sounds like very obvious sexual harassment and is likely why everyone is s**tting themselves now that OP discovered her nickname.” – TheJujyFruiter
“The issue is that her coworkers are talking about it behind her back. You don’t talk about a coworker’s nipples at work. That’s sexual harassment.”
“Sexual harassment is defined as ‘behavior characterized by the making of unwelcome and inappropriate sexual remarks or physical advances in a workplace or other professional or social situation.'”
“So it would be appropriate to say hey Jess your nipples are showing do something about it. Making comments about said nips behind her back is unwelcome and inappropriate in the workplace.”
“I do think HR may be overboard at this point but I think I’m in the minority. It’s impossible for me to say what kind of work environment it is but that’s the deciding factor for me. If I could, I would approach these people and explain I’m hurt and get an apology that would be my first step.”
“However, I have no idea what kind of place this is like or the people who work there. So HR could be the best first stop. For me, my company’s HR is a joke.”
“However, I know my coworkers well enough that I think we could hash out any sort of problem without involving HR. BUT that’s just my own situation in life and as a guy, I’m never going to face the same situations a woman does.” – Mudman1921
The OP shared an update with what she planned to do next.
“First, much to my shame, I am a very non-confrontational person so I did not confront anyone. Due to this, I also decided not to go to HR, despite the overwhelming response telling me to here.”
“After thinking about it for a day, I decided there wasn’t much that HR would be able to do without just causing me further embarrassment and making the whole workplace awkward.”
“I came home to some new bras my hubby bought me that fit all the criteria I wanted for bras but I just hadn’t looked very hard previously. He got me a size up from what I already had and they turned out even more comfortable!”
“I’m currently not talking to my friend I’d mentioned, because he was really insensitive and even brought up a time from our teen years where someone untied my top in the lake and everyone got a great look at my ‘pepperoni nipples’ when I came out of the water.”
“I also put in some new applications to local places for a new job and hope to be leaving this place soon.”
Though the subReddit was pretty open to the idea of the OP visiting her HR department, this seems like the next best option: some new clothes and hopefully a new workplace.