So many of us have dealt with difficult, if not abusive, coworkers.
But most of us can’t say that a coworker lied about parenting a baby with us.
A woman was struggling with what to do next in the “Relationship Advice” subReddit after she reported her coworker’s behavior to her superiors.
Unfortunately for Redditor ThrowRAbabycoworker, issues with child custody made the whole situation much more complex for her.
The Original Poster (OP) told the sub:
“My (25[Female]) coworker (40?[Male]) told people that he was my son’s (9[months]) father.”
The OP had an inappropriate coworker she hopes to see fired.
“I’m one of only three women at my job, and the only one under the age of 35, and I get a lot of unwanted attention from a man who I think is about the age of my own father.”
“He has been reported to HR for his behavior towards me and other employees many times, and after this event unfolded, he has been suspended.”
“HR is doing an ‘investigation’ which is basically just asking me a ton of questions about how he’s been treating me since I started working there and I really hope this is the straw that gets him fired.”
From the beginning of her employment, the male coworker was a problem.
“In March, I lost my job. Couldn’t apply for unemployment. I was out of work for three months and then got a job with a new company in June.”
“Coworker I’ll call ‘Steve’ was already an employee when I started working there, he helped me with some training, and already other coworkers were telling me to be wary of him.”
“He’s not a sexual creep but he seems to think we’re best friends and asks way too many personal questions, as well as teasing me about my age/gender/ethnicity and just being a classic AH most of the time. I am sure everyone has worked with someone like this.”
The OP has been worried about her coworker’s behavior because of her child.
“My son’s father is a guy I’ve known since high school. We are not and have never been in an actual relationship.”
“He has full custody, and he’s allowed to decide when I get to see our baby. Right now he has no issue with letting me take baby when I ask so I’ve gotten into a routine of picking him up on my days off work.”
“I am doing my best to be a parent but I am so scared one day I’ll mess up and his father decides I can’t see him anymore. I have not told his father about this situation yet for that reason.”
It started when the OP made her first appearance with her baby at her workplace.
“So, here’s what happened:”
“Monday (yesterday) I had the day off and decided to take Baby grocery shopping at the store where I work, which I have never done before.”
“I introduce him to my coworkers as my son. Obviously, this is the first time they’ve ever met him. I guess I don’t talk about him enough because I don’t interact with him very often.”
It seems ‘Steve’ overstepped as a result of meeting the OP’s baby.
“This morning, first thing as I clock in, a coworker tells me that Steve told her that he’s my son’s father.”
“I did not get it.”
“Apparently he told everyone in our department that the baby I brought into work last week was mine and his, and my coworker told me because she thought it was fishy.”
“I [thought] she misheard and [asked] another coworker, who confirms he heard it too (but didn’t believe it either), and then to my supervisor.”
“I honestly have never been more angry and upset in my life.”
“Supervisor calls HR, who gets the story from me and the coworker who told me, and then half an hour later I’m told that Steve has been suspended and they’ll have a meeting with the department about inappropriate gossip.”
“I feel like I messed up hugely even though it’s not my fault.”
Then the OP wasn’t sure whether or not to share this with her son’s father.
“I know this is something I should tell my son’s father because it’s a huge deal and I worry about baby’s safety.”
“I don’t want it to come up later or for his father to put restrictions if he finds out on his own.”
“I also just don’t feel comfortable taking out baby in public anymore.”
“I have absolutely no idea what to do.”
“Should I tell his dad now, or wait until this blows over, or just pretend it never happened?”
Fellow Redditors reached out to the OP anonymously, hoping to help her navigate the situation in the best way possible.
On the one hand, some Redditors urged the OP to share the situation with her child’s father, to keep all information transparent between them.
“He’s the father and this has a possibility of this guy being mentally unwell (he seems to already be) and possibly endangering her life and their child. Even if they are not together he should take measures to keep her safe (along with herself, of course) simply so his child can have a mother.”
“Would you want your child’s mother to be in danger?” – IndividualOnTheWeb
“Because the father has full custody of the child and if he hears this story from someone else it certainly would lack context and details. Moreover, he would rightfully see not talking as a [breach] of trust since it touches upon his child.” – Kirlima
“Tell him just in case the guy turns to be a psycho (which wouldn’t surprise me what person lies about to be a parent of a child to impress the child’s parent?)” – natsukifan87
“And if he wasn’t a psycho before wait until he’s out of a job…” – nwbrown
Some, on the other hand, felt the OP had no obligation to share a situation that had nothing to do with her relationship with her child’s father.
“There is no reason that the real father needs to know about this situation, at this point. It’s not really about your son, it’s about you and the a**hat that’s harassing you. Plus it sounds like he’ll be fired soon. Problem solved.” – AnnaBanana3468
“Why does your son’s father need to know any of this? You aren’t a couple. It’s not true. So why bring it up? You’re just asking for more drama. This is work-related, it’s not true, has nothing to do with him.”
“If the father of your baby holds all the cards to seeing your child why would you think it’s a good idea that he needs to hear about a lie?” – brazentory
“I’d be a little careful how you approach this with the kids father, though. Of course you know him better, but I’d be worries that perhaps he thinks you cannot care for your child and that he’s unsafe with you, barring you from taking him unsupervised again. I REALLY hope this isn’t the case, but I’m not sure.”
“Personally I am on the fence. I’d want to know, but also there’s the added weight of what his reaction would be. I hope it ends all right for you OP. This is such a messed up situation. Please take the steps to protect yourself, physically and professionally because these creeps never stop at just this.” – sojubean
Others stressed to the OP that she had done nothing wrong.
“Show your baby’s dad this post, should tell him enough.”
“One other thing, what is the reason he has full custody? And why are you so scared to lose your child? In this case you didn’t f**k up, so did you f**k up in an earlier stage in the last 18 months?”
“In case you did do nothing wrong, you should not be so scared and maybe go to counseling about it. If you did f**k up in the past, you didn’t do anything wrong now, it wasn’t your fault.”
“I’ll say again: YOU DIDN’T DO ANYTHING WRONG HERE, IT ISNT YOUR FAULT.”
“Best of luck with your son and success with your creepy co-worker” – Justieflustie
“There is no reason to blow this up into a real problem with the father.”
“You can tell the father, if you want, but as you said, you aren’t in a relationship.”
“You handled This completely by using the tools and resources available to you. This is more Than the real father could have done which would only be to get you in trouble at work.”
“Your co worker seems immature and lacking in social skills. Avoid him.” – Muted-Value9355
“Tell the dad. Make it clear that this AH at work thought this inappropriate nonsense would be a ‘great joke’ and that you are pursuing proper redress through HR. Don’t let him find out from someone else. Offer to show him the HR paperwork if he wants to confirm what Happened.”
“You did right by reporting it. Also write down any other inappropriate behavior you remember from this AH. You didn’t get him in trouble. He got himself in trouble. None of this is your fault. You have the right to work in a safe environment free from this type of behavior.” – AdoptsDEATHsCats
One agreed with this and was also concerned at the OP’s potential for PTSD.
“You’ve been sexually harassed in the workplace. Even though he’s been suspended, the harassment still happened and it created a hostile working environment.”
“You seem to feel unsafe about taking your child in public. Feeling sort of an unspecified ‘unsafe’ is hypervigilance and one symptom of trauma.”
“If you have a good, safe relationship with the father of your child you could open it by asking for some space to talk and asking him to let you finish before he says anything. ‘I want you to know that I and (child) are safe and that a rumor was started at work by a creepy coworker that you were not the father and that he was.'”
“‘I reported the lie and that coworker has been suspended, [and] now I’m in the middle of an investigation. There is nothing between he and I, and I feel like I should tell you this because of your close part in our child’s and my life.'”
“‘I feel violated and exposed, constantly angry, upset, and unsafe taking child outside. I want to tell you this, and I also know that there isn’t really anything you can do but listen, so that’s exactly what I’ve asked you to do. Thank you. Do you have any questions for me?'” – Crom_Committee
Sexual harassment cases are particularly hard on women, who often are not listened to or supported in their position. But add to this a non-relationship with her child’s father, as well as potential issues with custody, and it makes navigating this issue that much harder.
We hope the OP will be able to take heart from her fellow Redditors’ comments and make peace with the decision she makes next.