I recently found my coworker's social media. He talks about me publicly saying sexually explicit things. He also mentions other women. I have never had an intimate relationship with him, the things he is saying are illegal and offensive.

Can I report this to HR? Is someone's social media presence at a company relevant? I mean I know that before you get hired, they check that stuff but what about afterwards? Also, is it a bad idea to have another coworker (who is not mentioned on his social media) to report it? I don't want to report it, I am scared.

Can I have my coworker report it saying that he recently found some disturbing

  • 1
    he mentions me.... I have never consented to any of this and he says he wants to do explicit things to me (I'm sure you're capable of imagining what he's actually said)
    – user83257
    Mar 4, 2018 at 3:41
  • Uhm ok, sorry, I missed that part where you said he was talking about you.
    – Masked Man
    Mar 4, 2018 at 3:48
  • sounds like the guy's a real DB, make sure he's reported. It's not even so much about you specifically, or about a "hostile workplace", but someone who uses such poor judgment is an across-the-board liability.
    – dandavis
    Mar 4, 2018 at 7:11
  • 2
    @user83257: there are legal implications to that. Please add your location (country & state)
    – Hilmar
    Mar 4, 2018 at 15:02
  • I'm almost sure we have seen a question like this before. Mar 5, 2018 at 3:32

5 Answers 5


If the things he says are illegal, then you can report them to the appropriate authorities.

There is a difference between his private life and his life as a company employee. In his private life he can do what he wants as long as it is legal, even if it is offensive. (I can't judge whether he has done anything illegal, you might post on law.stackexchange.com with details).

When he writes things about you, a co-worker, then it is not his private life. It's the company's business. They are responsible for you being kept free them harrassment, including sexual harassment, and for you being kept free from hostility towards you - as far as it is part of your work, and coworkers posting things on the internet about you on their private website is part of your work.

If this is reported to HR, including evidence (which you easily get by printing out his website), then they would have to act promptly. It doesn't really matter who reports it, but they might need your statement to determine that this is actually harassment. If I reported it, I wouldn't know for sure whether what I see isn't some weird thing between boyfriend and girlfriend. You would have to say that this is indeed offensive to you.

Things are worse for the offender if the website is an any way linked to your employer. If the average reader would think "I wouldn't want to do business with the company employing this freak", then consequences for him are guaranteed.

  • thanks. however i am scared that he will delete it and say that I fabricated this. it's clearly up there on the site but i have him as a friend on fb which is why i can see it, but it isn't a public post. What if he deletes it and then says he never did it? Does a printed out copy prove that i am not lying?
    – user83257
    Mar 4, 2018 at 20:10
  • When he writes things about you, a co-worker, then it is not his private life. While I agree with the overall answer, I think that's slightly too strongly worded. The issue here is that a broadcasted message (such as a facebook status update) is not considered private communication, as it's inherently meant to be public. But if the guy had said the sexually explicit things to a (non-work) friend in real life, outside of work hours, outside of the office, it would be considered part of his private life. The issue isn't that he is referring to OP, it's the public nature of his message.
    – Flater
    Mar 5, 2018 at 13:20
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    @user83257: The simple answer is to take screenshots. Then print those out and head to HR. Sit down with them and hand them the screen shots. Offer to log into your fb account and show them. Quite a few places have a zero tolerance policy about this #$%#.
    – NotMe
    Mar 5, 2018 at 15:08
  • @NotMe but if I didn't want to identify myself to my job?
    – user83257
    Mar 5, 2018 at 20:29
  • @user83257: As a business owner I'm not sure that I'd have anything actionable without proof - and the proof is going to out you regardless of how it's delivered. I think you need to give up on the idea of doing this anonymously.
    – NotMe
    Mar 6, 2018 at 0:03

Are you connected to him/her on social media? Assuming not, that means his/her profiles (twitter, facebook?) are public enough that you don't even need to be connected to them on the website to see them--statements made in that arena should be treated similarly to something said out loud in front of people. If you had a coworker who was talking about sexual things he/she wants to do to you, (without any reciprocity or indication you're interested whatsoever)--even if it were outside of work--would be something that you should feel empowered to report to HR.

If you ARE connected to him/her on the social media site where he's saying this stuff, then that could be interpreted similarly to sending you text messages/emails indicating his/her sexual desires with regard to you. In that situation you should also feel empowered to file a complaint.

I think reporting this anonymously would be pretty transparent since you're the target of the comments being made. You could try that, or have a friend report it, but there's a chance you'll have to get involved anyway. In general, non-anonymous testimonials do carry more weight. So, if you can stomach it, I'd suggest making the complaint non-anonymously--you stand to gain more (in terms of results) and it costs you little, since you'll be an inherit part of the complaint whether you're the one who reported it or not.


Don't be shy to report it.

I am sure HR wants to know about it also because you are not the only person who reads this.

No company wants to have a connection to a person who behaves like that.

  • Would the complaint be taken less seriously if I reported it anonymously?
    – user83257
    Mar 4, 2018 at 3:55
  • 1
    @user83257: I am pretty sure it would be taken seriously. But maybe HR will talk to you (maybe ask you if you know about this). In that case you should be prepared to answer truthfully. If you report this anonymously and then they ask you and you get red in your face then maybe that is not so good. You have nothing to be ashamed about reporting this.
    – Edgar
    Mar 4, 2018 at 5:48

Print out the specific comments/posts so you have them as evidence. Contact an attorney regarding harrasment and, if he's making false statements, possibly lible/slander.


This is not a good situation but unless he doing this at work or you have a work policy he signed / agreed to then this is not a work issue.

Say he was a member of a hate group most people would find offensive unless it violates a policy he agreed to then work cannot do anything about the post.

Many companies have a policy about cannot defame the company on public media. I suspect some policies include cannot defame or harass co-workers on public media.

If you are "at will" employment then you can be fired without cause. If you are somehow protected he could argue this is non-work activity and there is no policy against it.

That said there does not need to be a specific policy against for a company to act. You probably don't have a policy against urinating in the parking garage and if someone did they would be disciplined.

Take it to HR. I am just saying they will need to think about how to handle this. Any reasonable HR should address it. You might want to talk to you boss first to get his / her take. Your boss may chose to speak to his boss.

I don't think confronting him directly is the correct approach here. A direct confrontation is maybe what this sicko wants.

Where he is posting may have a policy against this. If so contact them.

  • 3
    There does not need to be "a policy" for companies or individuals to respond to such behavior. Whether or not it is advisable for the OP to report this is another issue, but a mere lack of legal boiler-plate in the employee handbook should not protect the actions of the social-media creep. Some companies are small enough that they don't have written "policies" for this stuff. Others simply/honestly never considered it. Reasonable management, however, will take action if needed.
    – teego1967
    Mar 4, 2018 at 13:37
  • @teego1967 That is exactly what I said. "That said there does not need to be a specific policy against for a company to act." Did you vote me down?
    – paparazzo
    Mar 4, 2018 at 13:48
  • I think your first sentence is confusing "...unless he doing this at work or you have a work policy he signed / agreed to then this is not a work issue..." It actually is a work issue, regardless of written policy if it involves identifiable employees, one of whom is publically behaving inappropriately to another.
    – teego1967
    Mar 4, 2018 at 14:15
  • @teego1967 Not going to argue semantics of paragraph one with you. I believe paragraph 4 is clear on the matter.
    – paparazzo
    Mar 4, 2018 at 14:18
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    Downvoting because paragraphs 1 and 2 are wrong. Mar 4, 2018 at 16:27

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