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'AITA for refusing to speak to my coworker after she reported my wife to HR?' UPDATED

'AITA for refusing to speak to my coworker after she reported my wife to HR?' UPDATED

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"AITA for refusing to speak to my coworker?"

I (27m) work with my partner of six years, Jamila (24f). We've worked together for as long as we've been together, and most of our coworkers are aware of our relationship. We are married as of 2020.

We recently took on a new intern Olivia, who's in my department. I do most of her training and have been her "mentor" through most of her time here. Due to this, she spends a lot of her breaks with me and my group and leaves around the same time I do. Jamila comes to visit me during lunch and there is light PDA.

She'll put her hand on my chest, take a bite of my lunch, squeeze my muscles, the usual flirty stuff. It's not an issue usually so I didn't think it would be one now.

My wife came home crying last Friday as she'd been reported to HR for harassment. There wasn't any real repercussions since as soon as they opened her file they saw that we were married (HR documents these things). I didn't know of anyone who could've reported her until this Monday, Olivia asked me if Jamila was still groping me.

I asked her what she meant and she told me she put in a report with HR because she saw Jamila grab my ass in the parking garage. To be fair, Jamila did grab my ass, however the advance wasn't unwanted. I explained to Olivia that Jamila and I were married however she was firm in her belief that Jamila shouldn't touch me at all at work and that it sends a weird message to others at work.

Since then I've avoided speaking to Olivia if things aren't work related and it's been affecting her emotionally. I still greet her and say my goodbyes when it's time to leave, but she's asked to get coffee together and I told her I'd be spending my breaks with Jamila or another coworker and I don't invite her if I'm going somewhere for lunch.

She's been very sad and inattentive at work and my coworkers are telling me to stop treating her this way because she was just looking out for my best interest Am I the a&^le for refusing to speak to her if it's not work related?

INFO: the PDA I mentioned is light touches, and it's usually during breaks. We'll share lunch, drink off of each other's cups, I'll occasionally hug her and she'll grab my arm or lean her head on me. We aren't making out and grabbing each other at work outside of that one instance.

As far as introductions go, I told Olivia that Jamila was my "partner" as that is usually how the company asks spouses to refer to one another.

**Also I'm not ignoring her, however if it's not work related ex: "Where is this?" "How is this done?" "Can you send out this email?" then I don't entertain it. She's not being hindered to do her job.

What do you think?! This is what top commenters had to say:

StealthyTooth said:

NTA. The only appropriate response from her was an apology and saying she didn’t know that was your wife and just wanted to make sure no one was being harassed in the office.

She obviously isn’t sorry and is still being weird about it, so not talking to her about anything personal is the appropriate and kind thing to do. She set the standard - strictly business at work and you’re following the standards she set. NTA NTA.

srslyeffedmind said:

NTA she’s reported something that happened outside of the workplace and work hours and wasn’t actually reportable. You’re continuing to work professionally with her and her feelings are hurt because it sounds like she may have a bit of a crush on you.

SnuggleTheBug said:

My partner and I also work together. You know how much we touch during work hours? Zero. It’s not appropriate, I wouldn’t want to watch other people do it at work and as a manager it creates an awkward time for people around you.

I’m not agreeing that she did the right thing maybe she should have talked to you first but maybe it makes her feel uncomfortable and I get that. It’s a work place not a bar or dinner with friends. You can do that at home. Idk what type of place you work out but I know it would not fly here. I’m going with YTA not only for being childish with your PDA but for ignoring her as her mentor/manager.

Loxaire said:

NTA You were at the garage with your partner, probably leaving, and she decided just to grab your ass, I can understand that the garage may be in the workplace limits, but you didn't start screwing right there, Olivia decided to take everything on her own without asking for your opinion first when "you are the victim"

Then later she starts making it seemly like you are the bad guy because you decided to take it professional, you did everything right and Olivia did only rash choices, just to act like a victim later.

gw2kpro said:

You are very wise to restrict conversation with this co-worker to work related things only. Last thing you need is for her to be filing harassment charges against you.

He later shared this update on the situation:

Jamila's case with HR was closed fully this past week. I've spoken to a supervisor and asked that Olivia no longer be my trainee and that she be placed with a female manager, as to avoid any further discomfort. Olivia was in attendance for this call and pointed out that she was no longer invited to lunch/breaks and that she felt I was retaliating against her.

Our supervisor did inform her that workplace retaliation doesn't apply as breaks and lunches are not included in business operations and that these times are allowed to be as exclusive as employees see fit. She asked to not be moved from my team and in the end the decision was left up to me, however I couldn't see things getting better so I asked to move forward with having her be placed elsewhere.

I did take into consideration my fellow coworkers and apologized if I've made them uncomfortable, the overall consensus was that they never cared either way and were just upset that Olivia was upset as it was causing some discomfort for others. Although Jamila and I have started leaving the office for breaks and have limited the touching.

Sources: Reddit
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