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annoying man at work

(19 Posts)
butteredmuffin Mon 04-Apr-16 16:54:44

I'd be grateful for your thoughts on this.

I'm a lawyer and I work in-house. My "clients" all work for the same organisation as me, but in various different locations. There is one man who works in the same building as me, and I have done quite a lot of work for him over the last two years or so.

When I first started working with him, I was friendly, as I would be with anyone. He took this to mean that we were special friends. He started popping up constantly on the instant messaging system wanting to chat about random stuff all day, and kept making slightly flirtatious comments and quizzing me about my personal life. Eventually I blocked him on the instant messaging system, so he took to sending me emails about anything and everything. He also kept trying to pin me down to go for lunch or coffee with him. I tried to fob him off but he wouldn't take the hint. After a while he said something which really pissed me off (I can't remember what it was now) so I asked him to cool it and leave me alone. He then acted all hurt and wounded, saying he was just being friendly.

At the time I spoke to my line manager and told him about the unwanted contact from this guy. My line manager said it sounded like borderline harassment and asked me if I wanted him to take any action. I said no, I just wanted him to be aware of it in case things escalated.

Anyway, it seems this guy's pride was sufficiently wounded, as he ignored me for a few months. But then he started up again. Although he hasn't said anything as inappropriate as what he was saying before, and I wouldn't exactly describe it as flirtatious, he's annoying me. He just seems to find any excuse to contact me. One time I "liked" an update about something my team had done on LinkedIn, and he sent me an email saying, "I can't believe you liked your own work on Project X on LinkedIn...hahaha!"

I have also recently been out for leaving drinks for two members of his team, and each time he emailed me afterwards (at about midnight) saying, "Thanks for coming to X's leaving drinks, it was nice of you to come!" When I read his emails I thought, "What's it got to do with you? I went to the drinks to say goodbye to X because I like them. It wasn't your leaving do and you didn't organise it, so why are you sending me a personal thank you for attending?" I didn't reply to either of the emails though.

On Wednesday I'm supposed to be spending the day with his team to help them with a project and he's just sent me an email saying, "Why do you have to come and sit with our team on a day when I'm on annual leave?"

(Thank god he will be on annual leave.)

This probably sounds really petty but it's so annoying. Short of asking him to "please fuck off", which sounds really rude, or getting my line manager involved, which feels like an overreaction, is there anything I can do except continue to ignore him?

pippistrelle Mon 04-Apr-16 18:42:58

Well, since you last asked him to leave you alone, it doesn't actually sound like he's done much other than be annoying. And some people just are, unfortunately. Does he do this to other people, or are you being singled out? If it's everyone, I would carry on ignoring. But if it's just you, I don't think it's unreasonable to ask him to limit communication only to those which are needed for business purposes. I would run it past my line manager first and then do it by email, copying in my line manager.

booksandcoffee Mon 04-Apr-16 18:49:10

What Pippistrelle said.

HarrietSchulenberg Mon 04-Apr-16 18:50:47

I'll bet that on Wednesday he decides that it's desperately important that he's with his team for the project meeting and cancels his day's leave.

MistressChalk Mon 04-Apr-16 19:02:04

Oh god that last email is awful and would make my skin crawl.
It's frustrating when lots of 'little' things like this keep happening and it seems petty to complain but actually he has sustained unwanted, non-work related contact for a long time despite being asked not to which does sound like harassment.

Would it be really unprofessional to ask another member of his team if he is like that with everyone? Just casually, to see if it's just you he does this to or if he is generally an annoying emailer.

butteredmuffin Mon 04-Apr-16 19:09:52

Oh god Harriet, I hope not. I think he has kids so hopefully he is doing something with them which can't be rearranged!

In the end I replied to his email saying, "Why, do you have a legal query?" and he replied saying something like, "Oh, never mind!!! * rolls eyes * ;-)"

The trouble is, I give it a week and then he will find some other excuse.

I think he is generally the chatty type, but pretty sure he is not emailing everyone else like this.

butteredmuffin Mon 04-Apr-16 19:10:48

PS - I've just realised why HarrietSchulenberg sounds familiar. Great username!

Gobbolinothewitchscat Mon 04-Apr-16 19:12:47

Go and speak to his line manager

butteredmuffin Mon 04-Apr-16 19:14:26

The trouble is, it just feels like a really small, petty thing to be complaining about, and I don't want to look like an arse!

Roussette Mon 04-Apr-16 19:30:21

I'm torn on this. He does sound like an extremely irritating person but whether it's enough to put in a complaint, I'm just not sure. How would you feel if he was she? What if it was an irritating woman? I know he was a bit inappropriate before but isn't he now just being generally irritating?

why I'm torn...
I had someone at work a long time ago become absolutely besotted with me (not bragging here, if you saw him you'd know why!) He worked across a corridor in some offices and would find any excuse to come to my desk and ask me a question (so long ago no intranet). I was young and found it quite amusing but it escalated ridiculously and my boss had to tell him to back off (this was way back in time... no disciplinary procedures etc). He did stop at work but then started following me to my home and leaving my presents on my doorstep and by my car etc. It was so long ago I can't quite remember how it stopped but it did eventually.

That's why I'm torn! (Sorry buttered I am no help whatsoever! blush)

Gobbolinothewitchscat Mon 04-Apr-16 19:35:07

As an employment lawyer, if someone in my team had been "popping up constantly on the I stand messaging system" making the kind of commebts he has and to the extent that you blocked him, I'd want to know. Regardless of the other stuff. That in and of itself is a problem.

butteredmuffin Mon 04-Apr-16 19:41:33

Oh Roussette, what a pain. No, I don't think this guy would do anything like that.

It is more just the frequency and his persistence which is irritating now, rather than anything specific about what he is saying. He just refuses to get the message that I would rather just keep our communication to work-related matters.

Gobbolino - thanks for your perspective. I might mention it again to my line manager just so he is aware that it is still happening.

I just don't understand why he keeps doing it. Anyone normal would have got the message long ago.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Mon 04-Apr-16 19:57:08

No worries buttered - hope I didn't sound pompous (pinned under baby and typing one handed). Just wanted to get across that I think it's serious and your feelings shouldn't be minimised.

butteredmuffin Mon 04-Apr-16 20:25:14

Not pompous at all, very helpful. Thank you!

SwedishEdith Mon 04-Apr-16 20:44:50

I'd mention it again to your line manager - they took it seriously last time. It's more than irritating (they know what they're doing) and you should't have to deal with it.

ChampagneTastes Mon 04-Apr-16 20:56:56

You've made it perfectly clear that you are not interested in chatting with him. Yes he is irritating but this is a workplace where you are definitely not allowed to just tell him to fuck off so yes, I think it would be entirely reasonable to get your manager involved to clearly draw the line.

perrita Mon 04-Apr-16 21:43:34

I would speak to your line manager again, advise that you don't want to put in a formal complaint as such but ask them to have a private word. You might think it's petty but it's actually making you feel uncomfortable and you shouldn't have to put up with it in a work environment.

butteredmuffin Mon 04-Apr-16 22:52:40

Thanks all for your input. I think I will have a word. What a pain. Why can't come people just get the hint??

ChampagneTastes Tue 05-Apr-16 20:52:21

Would be interested to hear the outcome of this OP. Good luck!

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