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Woman reports friend to HR after he makes inappropriate joke in front of customer.

Woman reports friend to HR after he makes inappropriate joke in front of customer.


Being the only woman in a male-dominated field can be exhausting. You're constantly posed with the question of which hill to die on, and how to professionally set boundaries while also building a comfort level with your peers.

Sometimes, as unfair as it is, building coworker rapport and demanding respect are at odds. Setting respectful boundaries can get really awkward if you already knew them outside of work. But you gotta do what you gotta do, particularly when you're trying to set a hard limit against misogyny.

In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a woman asked if she's wrong for immediately reporting her friend to HR after he crossed a line at work.

She wrote:

AITA for reporting my friend to HR?

Context: S and I were friends before I knew he worked where I got hired. He and I had been friends for 5 years. So, I year ago I got hired as a manager at an auto parts store. I didn't know my friend S worked there too because he was on vacation when I was hired. We have been friends for about 5 years and made jokes with each other all the time.

I’m able to turn off “friend mode” when at work and that’s something S has always struggled with. Being the only female in the parts store had me it easy for customers to make judgments and lewd comments. I’m used to it. From customers. My coworkers know my boundaries and don’t make such comments.

About 2 weeks ago, S and I were closing and I was working on a shelving fixture when he called for me to come up and put in my manager code. I don’t remember what for. I answered that I’d be right there with my pen in mouth because my hands were full. When I came up he was laughing because I sounded funny when I answered him. I told him it was because my pen was in my mouth.

He laughed and said “you like things in your mouth, don’t you?” IN FRONT OF A CUSTOMER!!!! Being that we’re friends, if he had said that same line outside of work, it probably wouldn’t have bothered me. But I’m his boss and he said in front of a customer. I notified my boss, who notified his boss, who notified HR.

Now S is being transferred out of the store and is being put through the “respect in the workplace” course. Which goes on his record with the company and he’s being moved to a store with no female employees. S is obviously very mad about the transfer and blames me. He told me to never talk to him again and called me a petty b**ch. AITA?

Edit: We’ve never joked like this outside of work and we’re friends (were) because he and my boyfriend are friends and have worked together in the past.

Edit 2: He’s been spoken to about making comments like this in the past. He’s made comments about our female delivery driver and a few customers when they were out of your shot. The commercial manager and my direct boss the store manager have both talked to him about it in the past, so this wasn’t a first-time thing.

This post inspired a lot of feedback.

jrm1102 had a pressing question:

NTA - maybe you could have handled it better but that was inappropriate for him to say. But how good of friends could you have been if you didn't know where he worked?

Edit - with edit 2, escalating this was really your only course of action as he already had a history in inappropriate behavior.

OP jumped in to answer:

We had been out of touch since he left his previous job. I was under the impression he had left the state.

Kuchi_Kopi_49 wrote:

NTA. It’s called common sense. I’ve been personal friends with supervisors before. Joking around and being inappropriate is fine outside of work (if that’s their sense of humor too) but I never even thought of saying something inappropriate at work. Because it’s work.

LuckyLunayre wrote:

Clearly the friendship isn't that deep.

1: You didn't even know he worked there. 2: You didn't talk to him in private first.

If it was a close friend of mine, I would have talked to them personally first and told them it upset me. I would've only gotten management involved as a last resort. That being said, NTA. You don't have to put up with it, but I trust you know this is one bridge you burned.

stroppo wrote:

NTA. I haven't even read the comments yet, but I'd guess many of them are saying something along the lines of, it's not your behavior that got him transferred — it's his behavior.

I guess you could you show him the posts if he talks to you again. But otherwise, I would say you are well rid of him. Anyone who would call someone a 'petty ****h' is not your friend.

It seems pretty clear that OP isn't TA here, and also that the 'friendship' wasn't that strong to begin with.

Sources: Reddit
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