I started working at my first real job (not student work) in autumn of last year. In my job there are mostly male employees. I am a (like I want to believe, good looking) female – age 25. We have two work groups and one boss, age around 60, for both. In other groups, there are few “younger” men – average age 30 maximum 35. My group has two men, we will call them Caleb and William, both about my age and one older (40s) man we will call Jeremy.

When I started working my work space was in another room. During that time I did not notice anything unusual. A couple months ago I moved into the room with my team, and after that I noticed that Jeremy is secretly taking pictures of me. I was sure of that immediately. But I was also sure that it was just a joke or a hiccup on his side, so I didn’t do anything and pretended that I didn’t see what he was doing.

But that didn’t end. He secretly continued to take pictures of me. Another of my coworkers - Caleb, has seen it too.

I really don’t know what my options are, because I bet if I expose him – when he does it, he will deny it – and all eyes will be on me – and I will be the bad guy in this situation. Because he is really respected, valued, smart and well suited.

I don’t want to lose or change job. In fact, it would be really bad if that did happen because of the other factors.

What can or should I do?

  • 26
    In what country is this happening ? This might be important regarding the possible way of handling the matter.
    – Walfrat
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 8:08
  • 12
    I am not sharing this information - but I can say somewhere in Europe.
    – sofia838
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 8:30
  • 18
    Possible duplicate of A co-worker secretly takes photos of me at work Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 9:06
  • 27
    At the first glance It can be viewed as similar problem. But there is a key difference, that in my case, I am a woman and I am being photographed by a man. He is also almost two times older than me – he is employed at this job for around 20 years. I am employed there only for half of a year. He is also really respected and valued by others. If I told someone about this problem, first he would think that I am lying or making something up – seeing things that are not happening. He is really loved by ohers; why wouldn't he be, he is smart, well looking and dressed and most importantly kind man.
    – sofia838
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 9:32
  • 9
    @Snow A little too much of the backstory was stripped out: 1) the fact that he's photographing a specific body part, and 2) that the situation is escalating. Those are key details in determining whether this is a potential misunderstanding or a possible stalker/predator situation.
    – bob
    Commented Mar 22, 2019 at 14:53

16 Answers 16


I disagree with these answers that suggest firmly telling him to stop.

The time to go to HR is now.

Taking surreptitious pictures of colleagues in the office is something that's never OK. It's not something that's OK as long as no one objects. This is not behavior that he didn't realize was offensive. If he didn't realize it was offensive, he wouldn't be hiding it. Furthermore, merely telling him to stop won't do anything about all the pictures he's already taken. There need to be serious consequences.

You have a witness. Go to HR and discuss it with them right away. Among other things, your colleague might be doing this to others, not just you. You could be helping more people by speaking up to HR about it.

  • 1
    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. Take discussion there; further comments that are not about improving this answer will be summarily deleted. Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 17:32
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    Depending on the relationship with "Caleb", I would suggest bringing him with you to see HR as well. The other thing you want to do is document this contemporaneously with it happening because depending on country / jurisdiction it can be in the company's interest to bury the issue and fire you, and if you don't have anything in writing about it, it will be difficult to defend yourself.
    – qoba
    Commented Mar 22, 2019 at 15:35
  • Plus, confronting him before going to HR gives him a warning to delete incriminating material. Commented Mar 21, 2023 at 21:55

That is a serious situation.

I would ask a coworker who you aren't close with to have a look at Jeremy's behavior. This way you get a more objective witness than your high school friend. Pick someone you think can handle it professionally and doesn't turn it into office gossip.

After you've got your second witness, I would confront Jeremy personally eye to eye and ask him if he's taking pictures of you and if so demand him to stop immediately. If you aren't comfortable with this confrontation, get a third person to join the conversation just for you to feel safer and more confident.

If the confrontation does not improve the situation immediately, go to HR with your two witnesses and file a complaint. HR will likely enforce strict measures, because that kind of a scandal can hurt the company if it surfaces.

To me it seems like you are dealing with this situation better than most people would and it is extremely honorable that you don't want Jeremy's life ruined. Nevertheless, his behavior is highly inappropriate and illegal, which means that if he does not stop he does deserve the consequences.

  • 3
    This.. "Pick someone you think can handle it professionally and doesn't turn it into office gossip." ..is really good advice I think. But I am here working only for 5 months now and I don't know other co-workers well. I don't want to drag William into this - maybe I would rather ask someone from the other group - but here is the problem as they are not around our group so much. So it's really just William I can ask...... I am also scared that situation in our work space will drastically change if I confront Jeremy directly.
    – sofia838
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 8:14
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    @sofia838 The fact that they are all such good colleagues would mean that someone you ask will also try to solve it as less radical as possible. Just go for it and ask someone they will help you. Your fear of your lack of reputation does not change this situation at all. The fact that Jeremy does have a good reputation will mean that whoever you ask will also try to solve it directly. I really hope for you that you will be able to solve this problem as fast as possible.
    – GittingGud
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 9:55
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    @sofia838 IMHO it's also worth of giving it a bit more time and start building a case for HR. If you have witness you both can probably start noting down times and situations, in case things go south. I would really advise against top answer right now, especially with weak evidence. I presume you don't know if he's a goof that likes to take pictures of pretty girls and would stop ashamed, or if he's more predatory and harms other people as well. He could defend himself very well then. As the top-most priority you should protect yourself legally and job-security wise in case he doesn't comply.
    – luk32
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 12:21
  • 3
    @sofia838 "ask him if he's taking pictures" - I'd say don't even ask, it gives him the opportunity to deny or protest, but you know for a fact that he is, you have a witness (no need to tell him the name of the witness). Just demand that he stop! Going a step further, you could even demand that he delete all the photos he has of you (while you are watching). If he refuses or denies it, that's when you can threaten to go to HR.
    – komodosp
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 13:01
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    +1 for this: "if he does not stop he does deserve the consequences." Holding people accountable for their own actions is not something you should feel guilty about. It's HIS actions that earn him whatever he gets, not yours. Moreover, if he ISN'T held accountable, he's just going to keep doing it - to OP and maybe to other girls as well.
    – Steve-O
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 13:30

As others have been saying, go to HR immediately. You may consider stopping at your boss' desk to tell him where you are going and why, but don't put this in the hands of your boss. If you have an ally, take her/him with you so you have a witness of what you discussed with HR. In your conversation with HR tell them that you expect immediate action and that you will be seeking legal council if the offending behaviour continues. If you are a union member contact them and ask them for their support (guidance, legal, etc).

Document everything which has happened. Document every action you are taking. Because, unfortunately, there are still companies out there who rather sacrifice the person complaining than the person showing unacceptable behaviour.

  • 4
    @sofia838 I wouldn’t try filming it, it puts you in the same boat as him. Witnesses should be more than sufficient.
    – Notts90
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 13:11
  • 2
    @sofia838 being scared is a natural response. That’s why a witness helps. Even without a witness, HR should still take you seriously and investigate and keep an eye on him. Even if nothing is proven, knowing HR are keeping an eye on him may be what is required to stop.
    – Notts90
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 13:46
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    @sofia838 also, depending on your location you could talk to the police about your situation without actually reporting him to the police and they may be able to advise you what the best course of action is. Don’t forget, your the victim here, HR & police are there to help you.
    – Notts90
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 13:48
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    @Abigail I can produce a witness in about 20 minutes to say anything l like about a coworker. HR knows that people lie. Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 20:27
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    @sofia838 exactly, so you need to make sure you don't violate policy while catching him. Keep a written record of the incidents, then escalate. Create an email trail as well. When you go to HR, you want all your ducks in a row, and you want to make sure "Jeremy" has no defense. You don't want to be in a "he said, she said" situation, you want to nail him HARD Commented Mar 21, 2019 at 14:48

This is probably a case for HR, but remember, HR represents the company's interests so you can't just run to them without demonstrating that you have a case that they can investigate. Take the same attitude and actions you would take if you were going to build a case for court. It could possibly come to that if you are not taken seriously by HR, but it also makes HR more likely to act,

Review your company's policies on employee conduct, then do the following and document every step.

  1. Confront him directly about his actions. "Jeremy, I've seen you taking pictures of me. I don't like it and I want you to stop, now." Then document the discussion you had with him. Write down what you said, what he said, the date and time. You want to make sure that when you go to HR, he doesn't have the defense of "Well, she never said anything to me about it, I didn't think it was a problem."
  2. Document every incident. You want to establish a pattern to bring to HR. You make a much stronger case if you can say "I told him to stop, and he kept doing it".
  3. Keep evidence off-site. Back up all of your documentation and make sure it's nowhere that someone can take, alter, or destroy it.
  4. When you have a pattern of his bad behavior established and documented, approach your manager first, and ask your manager if this should be escalated to HR and if it is, ask your manager to accompany you.
  5. If your manager says that this does not rise to the level of an HR issue, back off, document the fact that your manager said it was not an HR issue. If it continues beyond this point, bring every incident to the attention of your manager.
  6. If it does escalate to HR, bring copies of your evidence, and make sure they know that they are copies. That will show HR that you are not playing games and expect it to be addressed.
  7. Document HR's response and any and all retaliatory actions taken by HR, your manager and the coworker.
  8. If the behavior persists AFTER you've spoken to HR, repeat steps 6 and 7.
  9. If HR does not resolve the issue, update your resume, and bring all of your evidence to a lawyer.

Finally, save your evidence. Do not destroy it ever, as issues could arise in the future, months, even years down the line. You may never need it, but it is good to have it in case you do.

As for what form the documentation should take (thank you mattdm)

Check with both the laws of your state and company policy to see if recording is allowed. If not, then his behavior is even more actionable.

If recording is allowed, make sure you have a timestamp on it so that the day and time is captured. If not, or if you don't want to record, keep a written notebook, including dates, times, and outcomes of the incidents and of the escalations. You can also write emails if it's a discussion starting with "As per our discussion, I told you today, and previously on the 8th, 12th, and 15th to stop this behavior". That way, you are reminding him that he's creating a pattern, and he'll have to either ignore the references (looks bad) or acknowledge them (more proof).

If you send emails, print them out and take copies home. You want to treat this as if it's a court case. The reason for that is that if it will stand up in court, HR is most likely not going to impede you in any way because you've just made it in the interests of the company to take care of your problem because they know if you end up going legal, and they've done nothing, they will be on the hook for it as well as Jeremy.

(If anyone can suggest further steps, please comment below)

  • 2
    This is the only answer with "talk to Jeremy" that I can support, because it makes it clear that the point of that discussion is to document, with no expectation that it will resolve the issue (or worse, improve or educate Jeremy).
    – mattdm
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 16:03
  • 1
    Also, the question itself and some of the other answers and comments encourage amateur detective work, like trying to film the behavior (up to someone even suggesting trying to steal his phone!). This does not, but I think it would be helpful to make more clear what exactly should be documented.
    – mattdm
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 16:05
  • @mattdm thank you for your input. I edited my answer as per your suggestions. Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 16:14
  • 1
    Upvoting because this is the only answer that acknowledges that the OP is an adult with agency.
    – shoover
    Commented Mar 28, 2019 at 22:43

His behavior is similar to a predator stalking his pray. He's just trying to see what he can get away with and soon he might escalate and even become dangerous. In the end of the day, you didn't stop him so might even think you're enjoying the attention if he's being more and more obvious about it.

This situation can also be considered workplace bullying.

You're terrified of speaking with him in private, so first thing I would do is, to say something while he's doing it in the office. Don't open a discussion with him, just be firm and direct and say something in the lines of:

Hey Jeremy, taking pictures of me makes me really uncomfortable, please stop.

Or use your own words. Even rehearse what you're going to say in front of the mirror. Afterwards, don't wait for a reply, just turn back to your computer screen and keep doing your job.

If he doesn't stop, keep record of dates and times when he's taking pictures of you.

With your records in hand go to your manager or HR and discuss your case. If your manager or HR person has even the slightest idea of the repercussions Jeremy's behavior, they will have a chat with him.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – user44108
    Commented Mar 21, 2019 at 7:31

The simple fact that you are unable to confront him, unable to have a eye to eye conversation, this alone is a strong sign of the effects of this continuous harassment you've experiencing.

No one should live under fear.

If you let this continue, it will break your strength, undermine your spirit and make you ill. You must prevent that by defending yourself.

Call HR. You don't need proof or witnesses, because you're not going to make any accusations. You will tell them about this situation and focus on how this is affecting you. This is about you. If you work in a serious company, HR will take action and do their job.

Another important point. Jeremy's success or fail depends exclusively on his actions. You're not going to ruin his career by reporting this bizarre and illegal behavior. He will. His actions will. This behavior will.

Actually you may help him and his career by reporting, because, maybe, another victim won't be so nice as you and could really bring him down through more severe means. Like the court of law.

That should give him a chance to change.


You could be in real danger.

If you don't have the strength to go to HR now then at least get your friend to film Jeremey positioning his camera to take pictures of your chest. This way you have hard evidence. I read above where you said you can't... find a way. At least do this one thing.

He is so respected and valued and I feel really uncomfortable in his presence even when my co-workers are there.

That is from one of your comments, and it makes you appear to be a good choice as victim.
I hope you read that carefully, because it can be taken the wrong way.
To spell it out for you: I am not saying that this is your fault, I am just pointing out that if he is a potential predator (instead of just being a world class idiot) then your feelings (your outlook) make you a more desirable target.

Don't tip him off as others suggest.
If you catch him red handed, there may be lots of photos, if you tip him off there may not be any old ones to be found ("What do you mean, that was just an accidental photo! You don't see any others do you?").

Go talk to someone from a victim's support group or an adult woman's shelter about how to approach this in your area. (Police first or HR first).

But frankly speaking I don’t even know what I would do with recordings even if I got them. I don’t want anything to change and I really want to give Jeremy another chance because he has family and good job and I don’t want him to lose all of that over taking pictures of me.

Things will change whether you do something about this or not.

He will increase what he is doing to a level you cannot stand, or you will stop him, or you'll quit.

You said he has a family you don't want to ruin - if he has a wife and is taking secret pictures of you - it isn't you that might ruin his marriage... he's already doing that by taking the pictures.

I am a (like I want to believe, good looking) female – age 25.

No need to be modest. If you think you might be attractive, you are.

Also your breasts are appealing to men no matter what flaws you think they have (size, shape, etc.).
And I can prove that without having ever seen you... you have a slimy co-worker taking pictures of them!

For anyone wondering why I said breasts, this paragraph was removed after my answer was posted:

He mostly took pictures of my breasts – even if I don’t have anything “to show” – like I am wearing a really big sweater with no décolleté – with turtle neck – so I don’t show anything. But that doesn’t stop him.

You can see it in the question history yourself if you know how. I happen to think this is relevant to the question because I think the sexual focus makes the action worse. I understand why others regard it as irrelevant.

  • Let's not cry wolf too soon, but this is very true, you could be in danger. Many sex crimes have gone unnoticed because the perpetrator was such a respectable man. Just watch the news.
    – RandomSeed
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 13:56
  • 4
    Most of this seems good, but I don't think encouraging amateur detective work is a good approach. This might provide evidence, but it might also turn into "both sides are doing unauthorized filming" and not lead to a good resolution. It's a good idea to document incidents, but going beyond that could cause harm.
    – mattdm
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 16:11
  • @mattdm You make a good point, but doing nothing (which seems the likely outcome at this point) also probably won't lead to a good outcome for her. Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 19:08
  • @J.ChrisCompton Thank you for your advice, Caleb and I will try now to film Jeremy and then maybe with video of him taking photos of me, I will go to one another person - maybe from other group, rather than William - and show him all this stuff and ask him if he could watch Jeremy so he would see it with his own eyes what Jeremy is doing. Because I am scared that without video of Jeremy taking photos no one will believe me.
    – sofia838
    Commented Mar 21, 2019 at 6:16
  • @sofia838 "I am scared that without video of Jeremy taking photos no one will believe me" that's why I suggested it. He has an established rep there and you don't. Congratulations on being brave enough to ask, and brave enough to take action, not everyone does! Commented Mar 25, 2019 at 17:57

Pull him aside and ask him if he is taking pictures of you. Then politely tell him to stop doing that. That should be enough to make him ashamed and stop. But if he still continues after that, ask one more colleague to check if they also notice him taking pictures. Then go to HR with the two colleagues, and explain the situation. Then let HR do their job. Most likely they will put him under a short leash, or fire him on the spot. Either way, you will win.

  • 2
    He is so respected and valued and I feel really uncomfortable in his presence even when my co-workers are there. I am avoiding situations when we will be alone - so there is no chance, really no way, that i am going to pull him aside and talk to him in private. I really can't do that because I am really feeling so uncomfortable in his presence.
    – sofia838
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 7:55
  • 12
    @sofia838 Harvey Weinstein was respected a lot too. Now, not so much. You probably need to gain more confidence in yourself and realize that, whatever reputation he has professionnally, this won't make make his behavior towards you acceptable, even from the point of view of your other colleagues who currently respect him. Nobody can follow him on this path, it doesn't work like this anymore.
    – dim
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 8:08
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    @sofia838 Get another coworker or someone outside from work to back you up and give you the confidence during the confrontation. This person shouldn't do the talking but rather give you mental support. Caleb is likely to be the wrong candidate here as it should be someone who would have the confidence and authority to do it himself.
    – GittingGud
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 8:09
  • 3
    @sofia838 that he is so much respected is YOUR advantage. He does not want to loose face and/or make a big fuss about it which will damage is reputation.
    – undefined
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 11:07
  • 1
    @sofia838 Also, I don't know if this is said enough: congratulations on finding your courage to take that first step (and to post here). That must be incredibly hard.
    – mattdm
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 16:09

You are in a bad situation, and it is not your fault. You note that "Jeremy" is "really nice", but in fact, his actual behavior shows that he is not nice at all. He is acting predatory and inappropriately. He may or may not be self-aware enough to realize this, but "nice guy" is a mask covering this, no matter his internal justification.

I am around the same age as "Jeremy". I grew up in the 1980s when a typical movie plot might involve a "nice guy" who "just doesn't know how to talk to girls" doing something like this, and in the end he would "get the girl". Even then, we knew this was smarmy even if we excused it in fiction. Now, in 2019, there's really no excuse. However, Jeremy may still in his head be living in horrible 1980s rom-com, with a lot of "poor me, I am so nice but never get rewarded with the romantic attention other men get even though they are not nice like me" resentment in his head. I don't know ­what's in his head — that's a charitable reading. The other alternative is that he's a full-on wolf in sheep's clothing.

In either case, confronting him directly is not your job — and not likely to result in the best outcome for you. You should do one or more of:

  1. Talk to your company's human resources department.
  2. Talk to your boss.
  3. Talk to a lawyer with expertise in this area.

The third suggestion is not because you need to start a lawsuit, but because you need expert, professional help with the terrible situation this man has put you in. The other options may not get the results you really need. HR's job is to protect the company from liability, and hopefully their response will be supportive and decisive — but it may not. Your boss may react in a completely unhelpful way: you say he has been present when this has happened before, and he's done nothing. He may just be very unobservant, but he may also be complicit. So, talking to HR and your boss are the right steps, but you should be prepared for those actions to not be as helpful as they should be.

The minor good news in all of this, if we can call it that, is that we are at a moment culturally where these things are taken seriously and the tendency towards disbelief and victim-blaming at least reduced, although many of the answers and comments here show that it has not completely gone away. I wish I could promise that you'll be believed and trusted by authority figures (HR, the boss, the policy), but the fact is you may not. So, again, find a lawyer and and advocate. There may also be organizations in your area interested in supporting you. Look for those and get help!

In fact, you really need to be prepared to change employers entirely. I know that's more easily said than done (although, really, every employee of every company should have a contingency plan in mind in case something happens). But given the situation involved, it may ultimately be your only option. There are plenty of workplaces which would not put up with this. You deserve that. If you raise the issue and it turns out your current company does not have enough respect for you to make the situation right, you should go somewhere that does.


Either Jeremy knows this behaviour is unacceptable, or he doesn't know. This answer covers the second case, which I consider possible, because I've been there (not exactly there, but close enough, and I had a not fully developed brain). The first case (which is probably more likely) has been well covered by other answers.

I'm Aspie — I have Asperger's Syndrome — and I've done some pretty socially wrong stuff in the past. I was hiding it, not because I thought it was wrong, but because I was insecure and embarrassed and hiding most stuff. At one point, I was told by a third party that my particular behaviour was generally unacceptable, and I was told why. I am grateful of this lesson, because in a more serious environment my behaviour might have had far more serious consequences. Some of the things I'm hiding are perfectly harmless. I hope I am no longer unknowingly engaged in behaviour that is (very) wrong, and if I am, I hope that people will tell me and not assume that I obviously know, because not everybody understands what to most is obvious.

Ask Caleb to talk with Jeremy, and to explain to him that this behaviour is unacceptable, offensive, deeply problematic, etc., and that Jeremy must stop this now and delete any photos he has taken. Even better would be to ask a friend of Jeremy if available. It is possible that Jeremy has a social disorder such as Asperger's, that he really doesn't know what he's doing is wrong. This is related to Asperger's, because it is related to understanding unwritten rules and to theory of mind. By asking Caleb, you are doing three (groups of) people a favour:

  • You are doing yourself a favour, because it can't be easy to talk with Jeremy, and I suspect it's not easy to talk about this to HR either.
  • You are doing all potential other victims a favour! I've sometimes done inappropriate things to x and y, when x asked me to stop I still continued to do it to y, after all y had not asked me to stop and, in my interpretation, x had just expressed a personal preference. But when a third party explained to me that this behaviour is generally unacceptable, I (ultimately) accepted this and stopped. Caleb (or even better, a friend of Jeremy) can explain that it has nothing to do with you or your personal preference, but that Jeremy is violating a universal social rule. If Jeremy indeed doesn't know and stops when he knows it's wrong, that may also help present or future victims of his behaviour.
  • You're also doing Jeremy a favour, but that is just a side effect; you're not doing this for him, for you owe him nothing and it's not your personal problem if he loses his job, so you have no need to care about this.

Of course, if Jeremy continues after it has been explained to him that this behaviour is unacceptable, kyralessas answer applies.

  • Jeremy is hiding his picture taking. Which means he knows it's unacceptable. Not to mention that he doesn't display any other signs (from the OP's description) of being socially unaware.
    – DaveG
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 14:04
  • @DaveG Does not follow. Just because I'm hiding something, doesn't mean I know it's wrong.
    – gerrit
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 14:15
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    @DaveG Jeremy is not social awkward, he is talkative person - always for a chit chat, kind, helping, professional about his work, always wants to help if he can, maybe a little bit reserved but still funny, telling jokes sometimes.... He is not a shy guy or something like that
    – sofia838
    Commented Mar 21, 2019 at 6:18
  • 2
    @sofia838 Then maybe this answer is not applicable in your case. I will still keep it in case it may help future readers for situations that are similar but slightly different.
    – gerrit
    Commented Mar 21, 2019 at 8:11

The simple fact that you feel uncomfortable to just tell him to stop makes me feel ashamed of my kind (the male kind).

In France, his behaviour is simply illegal, you could press charges and he would at least have a veeeeery long chat with a police officer (plus, you have a independant witness, this is legal proof in France).

If you want to be nice with this man, ask him to stop, preferably in front of witnesses. If he doesn't stop immediately, or if you just don't feel like talking to him, go to HR (and to the police, depending on your local laws).

  • 1
    Sorry if my message could be misunderstood. What I mean is that it is a failure of our society if a woman, who feels incomfortable with the bahaviour of a man, asks for help about how to tell him to stop.
    – RandomSeed
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 14:00
  • Perhaps you mean I am being sexist, or presomptuous, talking on behalf of male men? Honnest question, no sarcasms.
    – RandomSeed
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 14:04
  • @RandomSeed I deleted my comment because I realized it was obviously badly written. What I meant is that apologizing time and time again for the "male humans" just doesn't make your answer better and probably won't make OP feel better. Apologizing on the behalf of half the world's population just means nothing and as you did nothing wrong you don't need to apologize.
    – IEatBagels
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 14:07
  • @RandomSeed But, that being said, I think there are some good parts in your answer
    – IEatBagels
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 14:08
  • 4
    I see where you are coming from. I do feel (partly) responsible for being an actor in a society who failed to to make women feel entitled to being comfortable (like any (hu)man should). I was hoping that expressing my (honnest) shame would help OP understand that she is in her absolute right.
    – RandomSeed
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 14:11

Unless you have the impression that your boss is a misogynist who you wouldn't want to trust, I'd probably talk to them and tell them that you suspect Jeremy is taking photos of you. Not that Jeremy is taking photos, but that you suspect. You could be wrong. But you think Caleb has seen it too.

Now some/many bosses will agree with me that this kind of thing will not be going on under their watch. Almost all will agree that this is putting the company in severe danger and will have to stop. So the most likely response will be a quiet word with Jeremy. With no accusations what happened, but making very clear that whether or not it happened in the past, there will be zero photos taken in the future. And that there will be no retaliation. That way the boss can keep his team intact (which is important to your boss) while stopping what's happening.

At that point, should Jeremy's behaviour continue, then he is not following his bosses orders, and your boss will be very unhappy with Jeremy.


I would highlight three points.

1. It has to stop.

2. The only one who can stop this is you.

3. The best time to remedy this was yesterday.

Given the description, Jeremy is taking those pictures "secretly". Sure, you can be photographed in public, but not "secretly". This clearly shows that those photographs are not clicked with "honest intention".

Talk to him (despite the fact that he is friendly, liked, valued, gentle or whatever). This is an incident that needs to be acted upon and stopped.

The target here is not to serve a "punishment", rather to make Jeremy aware about

  • You know about the pictures.
  • You are not (or, anyone would not be) comfortable with it.
  • You would like this to stop.

Since he is doing this while trying to "hide" his actions, he is already aware of his mistake, he just does not know that you know that for a fact. Bring it up and I believe this will stop.

Even after having a friendly chat if this does not stop (or changes form), you may need to gather evidence and approach the HR team and/or, your manager. If, after serving a warning the behavior does not change, it's time for stricter action.

  • I am avoiding situations when we will be alone - so there is no chance, really no way, that i am going to pull him aside and talk to him in private. I really can't do that because I am really feeling so uncomfortable in his presence.
    – sofia838
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 12:35
  • But i agree with you so much on your points; he really needs to know that i know what he is doing - but i don't know how could i show him this - without talking to him about it.
    – sofia838
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 12:37
  • @sofia838 I can try to understand how awkward this is for you...however, the problem is bigger than that. For whatever reason you believe is holding you back, believe me, if you find courage to face him, you'll see, that was not a valid reason at all. Believe me, believe in yourself. Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 12:39
  • 2
    All of the points are right, but, seriously: go to your boss, HR, and possibly a lawyer. There is NO WAY a direct personal confrontation is a good idea.
    – mattdm
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 13:25

This is an personal safety emergency; respond accordingly

The fact that this is escalating sets off red flags that he is a stalker/predator and you may be in danger of physical or a more direct sexual assault. I would suggest the following (caveat: I'm not an expert; find one ASAP and talk to them!):

  • Let HR know immediately
  • Let your company security team/person know immediately
  • File a police report/restraining order immediately if appropriate for your jurisdiction (if you don't know, I'd ask the police; it doesn't hurt unless you live in an area where the police aren't your friend)
  • Let your supervisor know immediately
  • Try to find a job somewhere else if you can; in the short term, can you work from a local coffee shop (I was going to say at home, but it may be better to work in a public place)?
  • Practice good personal security awareness as you may now be at a heightened risk

Everything I've read advises against confronting a stalker, as it feeds their pleasure at causing you distress, but again get expert advice ASAP.

  • This is a site where experts can help solve problems... seems like she has already sought out expert advice. Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 19:21
  • By expert I meant law enforcement, security personnel at her company, a lawyer, etc. A professional with verifiable training rather than a well-meaning stranger on the Internet like myself. The stakes are too high to rely on anything else.
    – bob
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 20:57

First I would like to point out / sum up some obvious facts, we all can get out of OP's answers:

  1. OP doesn't want to talk to Jeremy
  2. OP wants for him to get a second chance - she believes he deserves second chance
  3. OP wants to get evidence of him taking photos of her - and OP even asked in one comment that she in Caleb don't know how to do it
  4. From video of Jeremy taking pictures OP could get photos of him doing it - so it is not against company's policy (OP commented that it is forbidden to record audio and film)
  5. OP commented that when she would get evidence of Jeremy - she would tell another co- worker - William or someone from other group - she stated

So the question is how OP could acquire video? Or get some evidence?

And then we can discuss what to do next.

P.S. I am agreeing with OP, that without evidence and OP's current position at work place it can end badly for her.... And it can happen that Jeremy "wins" the situation.

And if OP thinks she can't talk with Jeremy or someone else without evidence - I think we should help her get some evidences with suggestions on how to do it.

  • 1
    This seems a comment rather than an answer...
    – keshlam
    Commented Mar 2, 2023 at 19:02

As everyone else says: this is not okay, and has to stop! BUT, if you want to take a simple approach to simply make it stop, without starting a discussion, raising any problems for Jeremy (even though he would deserve it!), etc... you can wear a t-shirt like this:

t-shirt saying "NO PHOTOS PLEASE"

This should immediately give him the hint to stop! I would wear it just once, not look at him while he sees it first (or stare at him directly, depending on the level of confrontation you intend). If that does not help, and he takes one more picture, go to HR!
Now I think that would be the easiest non-confrontational way I can think of, and if I read your post correctly, that was what you asked for. You should still consider going for something more drastic right away!

  • 12
    Downvotes are because this is dramatic, and passive-aggressive, and really an unprofessional way to handle things.
    – David K
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 14:09
  • 5
    The problem with this approach is that it makes the problem appear like a joke to the aggressor, and could seriously escalate things. Even if the aggressor does take it seriously, stalkers often revel in knowing they're causing distress, so I'm not sure confronting a stalker is the solution.
    – bob
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 14:25
  • 4
    Nothing avoids discussions and drama like a work-inappropriate T-shirt that can only invite discussion and drama. This is only going to make every one of her coworkers stop at her desk and ask "What's with the T-shirt?", but probably won't deter Jeremy at all.
    – Seth R
    Commented Mar 21, 2019 at 1:35

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