Man Says He Was Reprimanded by Boss After Being Touched by Co-Worker

In a now-viral Reddit post, a man said he was reprimanded by his boss for "telling off" a co-worker.

Posting in the "Antiwork" forum under the username u/EdvinRama, the man said his co-worker "touched [him] as a joke," which made him feel "uncomfortable." In response, he told his co-worker to "never come near [his] body again"—a reaction his manager purportedly took issue with.

The post has garnered over 10,900 upvotes and more than 1,600 comments from Redditors who couldn't agree if u/EdvinRama should file a report with human resources (HR) or "let it go" and find a new job.

Physical Contact at Work

Amy Epstein Feldman, general counsel of the Judge Group Inc., says people should keep in mind that each person has a different set of physical boundaries when interacting with their co-workers.

Boss scolding subordinate
In this stock photo, a boss is seen scolding a subordinate. In a now-viral Reddit post, a man said he was reprimanded by his manager after he "told off" a co-worker. fizkes/istock

"There are forms of touching that are rarely considered offensive that can be misconstrued...A pat on the back or the shoulder, [or] a two-handed handshake while looking into someone's eyes, can give a co-worker the creeps. The person who is initiating the contact in no way means to be offensive, but the person being touched is often highly offended," Feldman told CareerBuilder.

"Any touching—even a pat on the back—before you know someone is too personal for strangers," she added. "So make sure that you really know your co-worker before engaging in any physical contact, even a high five."

If a person receives unwanted physical contact from a co-worker, Feldman says they should assert their boundaries in a way that's direct and non-confrontational.

"Try a joke...or a non-confrontational statement ('I'm not a big hugger because it makes me uncomfortable')," she advised.

If that doesn't work, Feldman says the situation should then be escalated to either a manager or HR.

'Antiwork'

In his post, u/EdvinRama said he was attending a Zoom meeting at his desk when his colleague approached him from behind.

"[He] stayed close to me (I presume his joke was, 'How long till he notices') and then he touched me," u/EdvinRama said, not identifying where he was touched. "It made me feel so uncomfortable that I told him, 'Do not touch me/ Why you touching me/ Never come near my body again.'"

Then, upon overhearing the interaction, his manager walked over and scolded him for his "tone."

"[Our manager] came straight [over]...asking me to check my tone because the way I was speaking was not okay," u/EdvinRama wrote. "I told them he [had touched] me while I...was focused on a meeting...but they didn't budge and I took the heat."

Redditors React

Many Redditors called the co-worker's behavior "inappropriate" and encouraged him to report both his co-worker and manager to HR.

"Harsh tones and language are the appropriate reactions to inappropriate behavior and your boss needs to understand that or he's part of the hostile culture and HR needs to know," u/BangBangMeatMachine said.

"I'm so sorry this happened to you...Definitely report it no matter what, for anything in case he does this to someone else," u/Recent-Accident9702 wrote.

Others, however, said he should simply start looking for another job.

"Let it go, dude. Obviously, nothing is going to come of it no matter how angry you are and how high up the food chain you go. Quitting will be your best bet," u/DigBeginning6903 said.

"This might not be a winnable situation based on what you said," u/EsqChior added. "Take PTO, if any is available, and quit without notice when you get another job."

Newsweek has reached out to u/EdvinRama for comment.

More Viral Posts

Redditors slammed an employee on Wednesday for asking their co-workers to contribute $100 each toward their boss' Christmas gift. Also on Wednesday, commenters bashed a manager for expecting their employee to respond to an after-hours email.

And on Monday, commenters slammed a boss who refused to let an employee miss a shift for a doctor's appointment.