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There is one annoying junior colleague in the office. We are in the same project but on different teams.

For reasons best known to him, he has made a nasty comment about my experience in the industry. He also hijacks my conversations with other colleagues and keeps staring at me whenever I pass by their bay.

I'll be meeting my boss soon. She usually works from remote location and will be soon visiting the office.

I am not sure about my boss's nature. My main intention is to let her know about his nasty behaviour.

I was wondering if I can mention about this junior to her?

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    Did you try to talk to this junior first? What you're going to do is much more like a complain, make sure you have enough reasons for one. – Sourav Ghosh Mar 14 at 14:16
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    I think we are missing some story here. And a question. I think your question is "can I mention this to my boss"? – Trevor Mar 14 at 14:19
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    Seems duplicate of workplace.stackexchange.com/q/129968/100349 – Gabrielle Mar 14 at 15:05
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    A "nasty comment about my experience" could simply be a legitimate or honestly held opinion that you don't like. What makes them "nasty" as opposed to just "not something you like" ? Likewise is "keeps starting at me" just your perception of it or have others commented on this ? You need more than your opinion to raise this with your boss, and we need more details (IMO) to form an opinion and useful advice. – StephenG Mar 15 at 1:36
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If this person seems to have a particular dislike for you and not others, it would probably be best to have a quick chat with them before speaking with your boss. Do this in private.

Give them an opportunity to air any grievances; It's possible you may have done something to upset them.

Once they are finished, explain that there are behaviours that you find offensive and that you want them to change.

Once the discussion is over, immediately make a note of the contents of the discussion.

Even if the meeting doesn't seem to go well, give them an opportunity to change their behaviour. Some people don't react well when confronted, but on reflection realise they are in the wrong.

Don't expect drastic change immediately. If they continue their behaviour, small cues like a raised eyebrow, a frown, or a tilt of the head can remind them of your discussion.

If you don't see improvement, yes, you can raise this with your boss. You can do this at any stage, you do not have to wait for your boss to be in the office.

59

Before escalating to your boss, you should try to resolve whatever issue you have with your colleague first. When they make any nasty comment about you or your experience you need to respond immediately with something like:

Hey X, that comment was nasty and uncalled for. Please refrain from making such comments about me.

When he attempts to hijack your conversations you can say something like:

Excuse me X, I am discussing Y with Z at the moment. If you need to speak with either of us you can do so after we have finished our conversation.

If after directly confronting this colleague they continue to behave rudely, you can then speak with your boss about it. Try to document as much as possible and, if any of this rudeness is done electronically, save that evidence.

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    +1, it's always good to be able to approach management after trying to handle things yourself. – Retired Codger Mar 14 at 15:26
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    This is good advice. I had the unfortunate chance to do this when I was left no choice. As an introvert, it's always hard to start these kinds of conversations. For me I found it easy to send a private message asking to "talk in private for a few minutes" and from there it was a lot easier in the setting of a private room. – goamn Mar 15 at 0:27
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TLDR: Your manager should not be bothered with this.

What you are describing is, at most, rude behavior. If I were in the position of your manager, I would be less than sympathetic.

My first question to you would be:

Have you spoken to him about it?

The next would be

What steps have you taken to resolve this conflict?

You need to deal with this, or at least attempt to, on a person to person manner. If you take this to management before having exhausted other methods, it could reflect poorly on you.

Going to your manager now could make you look weak and incompetent, there's a great difference with going to your manager with what you have now.

For reasons best known to him, he made a nasty comment about my experience in the industry. He also hijacks my conversations with other colleagues, keeps staring at me whenever I pass by their bay.

and something like.

Tom has been commenting on my experience, and has been disrupting my conversations. I have spoken to him about his conduct on The fifth, again on the twelfth and again on the 18th, and his behavior hasn't changed. Do you have any ideas how I should deal with him, or do you feel you need to get involved at this point?

Before you approach your manager, make sure you've taken steps to address the problem and resolve it. Do not use management as a means to take revenge on someone's rude behavior, or it could backfire terribly.

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    I'm not in HR, but is staring not legally harassment? Are rude, personal comments not harassment? I think this transcends "rude behavior".. – Mars Mar 15 at 5:51
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    @Mars No, staring is not harassment. No, one comment is not harassment. Rude, sure, but harassment is intent to intimidate. That the OP feels intimidated does not signify intent from the other person. – Graham Mar 15 at 9:03
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    @Graham A quick google suggests that it IS (and is also apparently the policy of Netflix that you can't look at someone for more than 5 seconds!), but then again, I'm not a lawyer. I DO recall staring for more than a few seconds explicitly being in a couple of the sexual harassment training videos over the years, but I've worked at a good few companies, so I don't recall which. But I'm not a lawyer! – Mars Mar 15 at 9:14
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    @Graham Your definition of harassment is one I would probably use in everyday life, but in an office environment, that is not the definition a trained HR representative will use. In offices, "harassment" can simply be a single comment or action perceived as targeting a "protected group" (e.g. ethnicity, gender, orientation, religion, etc.). – Beofett Mar 15 at 13:26
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    @Mars those would be good points to bring up in Meta. – Retired Codger Mar 15 at 16:29
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Reading these answers, I feel like I'm missing something.

Why is it OP's responsibility to speak to an employee on another team about unprofessional behavior? From what angle would OP even approach the subject?


This is a behavioral issue in the workplace. My thoughts are that you give the manager a chance to speak from a position of authority to make it clear that the unprofessional behavior will not be tolerated. If OP wanted to escalate things, they could bypass the manager and go straight to HR for a formal complaint and that would be when things get serious.

Telling a junior employee that they aren't in middle school anymore is a job for an authority figure. I'm pretty sure if you report workplace harassment a proper manager or the HR department, they won't (or can't) ask you to go talk to your harasser.

  • What you're missing is that managers are there to solve problems you can't solve yourself. If you have not tried to solve it yourself, then you don't know whether you can solve it yourself. It's the same as asking a question of Stack Overflow without having even tried to figure out the answer yourself. – jpmc26 Mar 18 at 18:32
  • @jpmc26 Not every problem is meant to be solved by the most direct route. And honestly, I can:t imagine a single scenario here where the direct route doesn't at the very least make things incredibly awkward. Tell me, how, in your head, does it play out favorably for OP to do something themselves? – Mars Mar 19 at 0:58
  • Example in my head: "Hey boss, X has been doing Y...I don't feel comfortable confronting them myself, so could you please deal with their unprofessional behavior?" "That is indeed unprofessional. Sure, I will speak to them" Speaks to offender "Sorry, I didn't realize I was doing something so careless. I'll be more professional in the future" Reflects on poor behavior and improves. Offender is then more conscious about the way they interact with everyone – Mars Mar 19 at 1:03
  • And you think involving a manager will not make things awkward...? sf02's suggestions are fine, in my opinion. They should minimize the awkwardness to the moment. – jpmc26 Mar 19 at 17:15
  • @jpmc26 I personally don't think things will play out as sf02 suggests, and their second suggestion sounds catty to me (it sounds like a response for an interruption, not a hijacking). I think it's more likely to backfire. I feel even more so because of gender relations, but I'm not a woman, so I won't push that point as I don't really know – Mars Mar 19 at 23:59
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Looks like a good consensus that the first engagement with the rude colleague should come from the OP.

I disagree that it follows from this that the OP should not raise the topic with her manager.

It all depends on how the manager sees themselves and their role in looking after the team.

An increasingly common aspect of management is to be "manager as coach".

The situation is in fact ideal for the OP to approach her manager and say:

I need some help here. One of my colleagues ...

How should I approach him to resolve this?

This means that

  • The OP does not simply run to management to have them fix the problem.
  • Provides a record for management should things go downhill
  • Provide an opportunity for management to intervene if there is more going on; it might well be the Mr Rude has had other issues that only the manager is aware of.
  • Provides a great opportunity to have the manager help you talk about general workplace skills in dealing with colleagues and working together as a team. After you have the conversation with Mr Rude, you can have a follow up chat and explore what you have learnt.
  • Depending on the team, there may be a general culture issue (misogyny) that management should be aware of. Specific info on events makes it easier for them to deal with.
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My main intention is to let her know about his nasty behaviour. I was wondering if I can mention about this junior to her?

The first and most important question to answer in situations like this is "Why? What goal are you trying to achieve?"

Are you hoping that the person will stop this behavior? And you're thinking that by telling the boss, the boss will tell the other person to stop it? If so, then that's not the way to do it. Talking to the boss should not be the first thing you do. The first thing you should do, as others have said, is to speak directly to the person about the behavior. Other answers discuss this in more detail.

In situations like this, it's easy to look for a potential action and ask "Is this the right thing to do?" In fact, the first question should be "What is it I want to change?" Once you've answered that, you can say "Given that I want X to happen, is this the right thing to do?"

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