I work with a male coworker who I'd describe as a passive-aggressive bully. He has angry outbursts daily, several times a day, over every little noise in the office. If another coworker coughs, or talks too loudly, or shuts a desk drawer too loudly, I can expect to hear him mumble angry things under his breath, stomp his feet, slam his mouse, literally SNAP at coworkers or ultimately get up and leave the office in a huff. Several times he has been sent home after altercations.

This all happens from behind his cubicle walls--I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who witnesses this behavior on a day-to-day basis as it is very passive aggressive.

He has a history of this behavior. One coworker already quit over his passive aggressive bullying, after HR met with everyone in our office. Another coworker had to move her desk away from him after an altercation. He's been sent home numerous times. He's now bullying the new female coworker who sits adjacent his cubicle who unfortunately has a persistent cough.

To be fair, I don't find his frustrations unfounded at all. The people in our office are largely oblivious and annoying in their habits. I'm conflicted because I've been an ally of sorts with him as we've joked through chat about the annoyances of the office. I realize this was a huge mistake now that I better know his personality.

The issue is that his angry outbursts are affecting me. I'm starting to feel like I'm in an abusive relationship, even if the anger isn't directed at me. It's making me quite uncomfortable, and creating a very tense work environment.

He knows this behavior is not okay. At least twice now he's come in the next day following a blow-up, and apologized to me for his behavior.

I want this behavior to stop.

How can I best prepare for a meeting with HR about a coworkers Passive-Agressive Conflict with me?

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    why is he still there? What makes him so valuable?
    – Kilisi
    Commented Mar 28, 2018 at 18:37
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    @Kilisi I'd got as far as to say he is not so valuable. But that's not my decision. We work in an institution where I imagine it's very difficult to get fired.
    – conflicted
    Commented Mar 28, 2018 at 18:39
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    @IDrinkandIKnowThings I was asked what makes him so valuable that he's still here [implicitly that he hasn't been fired as a result of his behavior]. I didn't say he didn't have any value. I said he's not so valuable that he can bully his coworkers and we all turn a blind eye.
    – conflicted
    Commented Mar 28, 2018 at 20:46
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    @conflicted I think if you edited your post to focus on his behavior as opposed to overused buzzwords and hyperbole, you'd get a better response. show, don't tell Commented Mar 28, 2018 at 20:59
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    @conflicted yes, I did read it thank you. Most of us sages are a bit on the sarcastic side, but our advice is sound nonetheless. Also, for future reference, it you wait at least 24 hours to pick the best answer, you tend to get more responses. We have plenty of users from all over the world, so you can get some really interesting answers. But, my previous advice was not just on avoiding sarcasm, but also avoiding down-votes, which can also detract from getting good answers. Mister Positive's answer is a great one, however. Commented Mar 28, 2018 at 21:30

2 Answers 2


Should I confront him or contact HR?

If you are unable to ignore the culprit....

First you should confront him, be direct and try to keep your emotions in check. Then if that fails you go to your manager. Be professional, honest, and factual in both cases.

If all of that fails, think carefully about going to HR. HR is not your friend, as Richard U says, they are there to protect the company.

Having said all of that, if all else fails you may be left with no choice but to go to HR, or find another job.

  • 4
    Stellar answer as usual sir.
    – Lumberjack
    Commented Mar 28, 2018 at 18:51
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    As a person who used to have his personality (though not that extreme) This is 100% the way to go. +1
    – GOATNine
    Commented Mar 28, 2018 at 20:59
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    So many people tend to forget the power of the cold shoulder. +1 Commented Mar 28, 2018 at 21:13
  • This is good advice. Point noted about HR not being my friend, and to add to that their particular uselessness in solving this situation first go-round. Despite @IDrinkandIKnowThings 's odd choice to change the title of my question (humor?), I'm actually not going to talk to HR at all, but confront the coworker and then talk to my manager if need be.
    – conflicted
    Commented Mar 28, 2018 at 21:22
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    Hi, @conflicted IdrinkandIknowthings's edit made your question on-topic. The previous title might have gotten it closed under the reason that we cannot help you make specific choices. He's very active at our stack, one of the most, in fact. and likes to look out for new users. Commented Mar 28, 2018 at 21:36

"How can I best prepare for the meeting..."

Write down a list of specific facts: things that have happened. With dates.

In the meeting, enumerate the list.

Say and do nothing else.

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