I have a colleague who often puts his hands in his trousers and has them there for varying amounts of time.

I work in a very open plan office, with a cubicle layout, but the dividers are low. We all sit in squares, each facing in, so I can see two people to my left and right, and one in-front.

As a result of the layout, it's very easy to see out of the corner of my eye, my colleague "rearranging" himself.

At first when it was once or twice it was a bit weird but when it's happening a few times a day, it's getting a bit disgusting.

How best would I approach this?

  • 3
    Moving away would leave a empty desk which means someone else would be left in this position. – Michael Grubey Jun 4 '13 at 10:21
  • Culture? In what sort of context? It's a UK office, with a very relaxed atmosphere. – anon Jun 4 '13 at 11:30
  • It may just be a cultural thing. FWIW, I think a lot of Asians (and Italians ?)adjust 'it' quite often and is not considered socially awkward in their societies. – happybuddha Jun 5 '13 at 13:13
  • @happybuddha I think that OP meant "pervert" when they wrote "rearranging". In Italy, the "grattata ai coglioni" (scratch "it" to not have bad luck) is considered boorish and vulgar, they do not do it in the trousers, and it does not involve keeping the hand there. To be clear: it is a completely different thing than what this thread is about. – ignis Aug 14 '14 at 20:26

How best would I approach this?

In the US, this sort of thing is best handled by HR - they are trained professionals.

Either the individual is unaware of his habit, unaware that anyone notices him, is aware and doesn't care that others see, or is intentionally trying to make others uncomfortable.

If this makes you feel uneasy, your best bet is to chat privately with your local HR rep. He/she is trained in handling these sorts of awkward situations, and can intervene on your behalf and probably find a way to get the individual to change his behavior, while allowing you to remain anonymous.

Depending on the specifics of the situation, the HR rep will make a note of the behavior and follow-up to ensure the situation is eventually resolved.

  • 2
    +1; the best way to approach this person is to walk the other way to the HR department. – KeithS Jun 5 '13 at 21:49
  • 1
    How about look the other way whenever possible ? – sid smith Jul 5 '14 at 0:41

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