A bit of a follow up to Decided to report coworker for his consistent offensive "jokes". What to expect?

I have a coworker who says really disgusting and obscene things at work. I was going to complain about him but decided to wait a week so a can document specific examples. I know it's better to talk to him directly first, but usually he runs away after he says something or engages with the people who encourage him.

He annoys and distracts me a great deal. As such I haven't been talking to him as much. Today he directly called me out asking why I have been so quiet and haven't been talking so much. I said I thought I was being normal and he said I definitely wasn't and asked if something was wrong. I said no and tried my best to brush it off.

The encounter felt very uncomfortable like he was trying to force me to trust him. How should I handle such situations? If I were to be honest I would tell him I think he's an idiot but I don't see that as constructive.

  • 6
    And why not follow up on the answers you were given previously?
    – Aida Paul
    Sep 28, 2020 at 7:07
  • 8
    To be frank, one of the core suggestions you have received to your other question was to talk to him. As far as we can see, you have never actually let him know that his behaviour is bothering you, and that should be the first step before reporting someone to HR (in many cases, I would include this one).
    – fgysin
    Sep 28, 2020 at 7:19
  • 4
    Does this answer your question? Decided to report coworker for his consistent offensive "jokes". What to expect?
    – Aida Paul
    Sep 28, 2020 at 7:25
  • 3
    Also it is quite unclear to me what you are asking here... You are ghosting this colleague (or at least stopped talking to him) and, unsurprisingly, he took notice. What was your plan for this?
    – fgysin
    Sep 28, 2020 at 7:26
  • 1
    So it has been a week since your first post and you still have not expressed to this coworker that you are offended when he offends you?
    – sf02
    Sep 28, 2020 at 13:40

2 Answers 2


'Because I found some of your jokes unpleasant.'

  • It reinforces the jokes are unprofessional
  • It directly answers his question
  • It marks an issue with the behaviour, not the person. The issue is the jokes not him (well, don't say it's him if it is).
    • This has the best likelihood of keeping things peaceful.

Keep the sugar coating to a minimum in this case. Be polite and respectful, and still converse with him about work relevant matters.

  • 4
    I think honestly stating your opinion is important, but doing it in a non-confrontational manner is certainly beneficial to a peaceful solution of this situation. You have now the opinion to come back to the missed opportunity of telling the guy that you take issue with his jokes before escalating this to HR.
    – fgysin
    Sep 28, 2020 at 7:31
  • +1 for "Keep the sugar coating to a minimum in this case. Be polite and respectful."
    – MacItaly
    Sep 28, 2020 at 21:31
  • A response this short and tacit would do anything but "keep things peaceful" if I was on the other side of it. This is the main point you should make, but saying it like this is likely to escalate.
    – Ertai87
    Sep 29, 2020 at 15:39

OK so a few things in this question:

  1. "He runs away after he says something": This means he seems to know you don't like his "jokes", because he sees you are not receptive to engaging with him after he makes one.

  2. "He engages with the people who encourage him": This implies, as I suggested in my answer to your other question, that there seems to be a "boys club" mentality in your team, of which you are doing your best to not be a part. This is likely to bite you; you are probably already getting a reputation for being unliked, unsociable, a "hardass", a "stick in the mud", what have you. People with those types of reputations don't last long in team environments, whether that reputation is earned or not, deserved or not.

  3. "He directly called [you] out": How did he do this? I see a few reasonable options for what may have happened here:

  • You were in a meeting and not contributing, and he called you out for that. So you're a non-contributing, underperforming team member who also isn't liked by his team because he's a stick in the mud. That's surely on the road to getting fired.

  • You were in a meeting and he called you out for something personal. This is displaying publicly that you are not sociable and don't work well with others. Of course, the reason you are doing that is because you don't like his demeanour; you should iron this out with your manager ASAP (as I said in my answer to your previous question) because it's likely to come up in a performance review.

  • You were being "called out" to your other teammates for not associating with this one guy. See above point re: "boys club".

  • He didn't actually "call you out", i.e. he didn't say anything in public, within earshot (or intended within earshot) of others; he came to you and asked you about a noticeable change in demeanour. This shows he's taking notice. This isn't "demanding" or "calling out", this is asking a question, and you're getting defensive about it. Instead of being defensive, be assertive and explain what the problem is. Perhaps this team member will be understanding, perhaps he will consider you a stick in the mud. But at least it will be out in the open. And if he chooses to react negatively, well, he was going to react negatively anyway, and you can have grounds to ask for a team change or look for a new job.

  1. It's been a week already and you're still "documenting specific examples"? One example should be enough to go to your boss; you don't have to collect 15 examples and dump them all on your boss's desk at once. The reason why is, the former is a complaint or an issue. The latter is a campaign. You're a junior employee, much more junior than this other guy. He has a history of working at the company, seems to be popular in the team, and has seniority over you. If you are trying to campaign against this guy, you look like the guy who joins the company on day 1 and thinks he's "CEO in training" and trying to "clean house". That's not a good look and is likely to get you reprimanded or worse. Just go to your boss, even if you only have a couple of examples I'm sure this guy's actions have not gone un-noticed and the boss is able to build a pattern of behaviour based off of little evidence from you, as he probably has plenty of his own.
  • Ok good analysis. When he called me out it was only us two. Though I found he did it in a very confrontational way like demanding why I wasn't talking as much as usual (not necessarily about work things). It would've been a good opportunity for me to say I find his jokes offensive, just in the moment I was stunned and we quickly got back to work. Sep 30, 2020 at 7:04
  • Your point 4. is good. I could even mention to the boss "I had trouble bringing this up sooner because I'm new and he seems to be very popular". Sep 30, 2020 at 7:06

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