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Timothy Bowles

Timothy Bowles’s Answers

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  • I've been receiving harassing calls from ex-boyfriend at work. Are there legal risks if I tell HR (i.e. they could fire me) ?

    My ex has been phone stalking me at work for several months and leaving harassing messages. One message sounds vaguely threatening when taken out of context, but it is not a direct, specific threat. I would like to talk to my employer about the si...

    Timothy’s Answer

    While I am a labor lawyer on the management side and would not touch a domestic relations issue or, for that matter, represent an employee in your circumstances, communication (rather than the lack of it) is almost always the best policy.

    I suggest you first go to the source of the problem by having a lawyer with experience in domestic relations write your ex on your behalf with a request to cease and desist. The letter should be firm but diplomatic, allowing your ex the opportunity to simply stop and move on without further complications.

    At the same time, you could take this up with your employer for measures to block calls from your ex's known phone numbers. If you are a valuable and productive employee, taking the initiative to appeal to your former partner directly should reflect upon you positively when you approach management for help.

    On the concern that originating a communication over your personal safety in the workplace might affect your job status, you will have to judge whether you will be more productive and focused on the job by speaking up or staying silent. Also, is it a service or disservice to your employer if you stay quiet? If you have saved your ex's messages, then management can hear and decide just what "threat" this person might pose to others in the workplace. If you handle the situation responsibly and management, unprofessionally, still seeks to edge you out as a result, perhaps this is not a workplace where you want to continue in any event.

    Again, I advise management for a living. However, even if you are an at-will employee, you have a right to express your concern over your personal safety on the job. If human resources terminates you for having asked for reasonable measures to protect the security of yourself and co-workers, a lawyer specializing in representing employees might even judge that you would have a claim for unlawful retaliation.

    The practical issue here is whether or not to communicate. If you do so thoughtfully and responsibly, you will likely see your way through this with your having improved your relations with management. Best wishes for success.

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