A young Muslim woman recently took to Reddit to ask for opinions after a run-in with a co-worker resulted in a trip to HR. This is her full story.
She Lived in Two Worlds
OP, a 26-year-old Muslim woman from Morocco who has lived in the United States since she was 14 years old.
She Has Her Own Look
Since she is a Moroccan native and of Amazigh background, OP has light eyes and light skin.
She does not wear hijab head coverings, and she has a western name.
They Don’t Know Her Background
Because of her physical appearance and name, OP is used to people not realizing she’s Muslim.
A New Friend
During the COVID-19 pandemic, OP began working remotely for a company.
Over the summer, she attended several virtual meetings and struck up a friendship with one of her female coworkers.
They Talked Over Lunch
Then, when OP started working at the company’s office in September 2020, she and her new friend sat down to lunch together on the first day back.
She Didn’t Want to Share
Her co-worker offered to share her chicken, but OP declined because her friend was not certain if the pan used to prepare it had also been used to cook pork at some point.
It Wasn’t Kosher
When OP told her friend the reason she didn’t want to eat the chicken, the friend assumed OP was Jewish and wanted to eat only Kosher meat.
But OP told her friend that Halal standards were guiding her, not Kosher. That’s when the coworker’s attitude changed.
OP had seen that flat, shocked look on other faces over the years, and she knew nothing good could come of it.
Her “Friend” Turned on Her
Almost immediately, OP’s new “friend” began exhibiting hostility towards her once she found out she was Muslim.
Watching Her Every Move
The coworker started dropping derogatory comments and purposely excluding OP from social activities with other coworkers.
The former friend even followed OP around the office, making her feel watched and monitored.
She Didn’t Want to Be Around Her
The co-worker even refused to go out for coffee with any group that included OP!
Too Big to Carry
The tension reached its peak when it was OP’s turn to make a coffee run for her office mates. She decided to leave her large tote bag behind rather than lug it with her.
She Didn’t Feel Safe
But OP’s coworker wanted her to take the bag with her and said she was going to call security if she left it behind.
The coworker said she didn’t feel safe because OP’s “people” had a history of causing trouble.
They’d Had Enough
That was the last straw for OP, who went to HR to complain about her co-worker’s continued abuse.
A couple of other office mates reported the other woman to HR, too.
She Was Gone
A few days later, HR called the coworker in, and then OP received an email to let her know that the other woman had been transferred to another team.
A Big Relief
OP was very relieved to hear that her tormentor was gone, but not everyone felt that way.
Mom Wasn’t Happy
When OP told her mother about the situation, mom was disappointed that OP had involved HR. She said OP is an adult and should have found a way to resolve the issue that didn’t impact the other woman’s livelihood.
Most Redditors fully support OP and say that she was totally right for reporting her co-worker.
Several point out that it was actually the co-worker who was affecting OP’s livelihood, and not the other way around.
Because she was always worried about what would happen next, OP likely wasn’t able to work to her full capacity.
Others think OP’s mother is not taking into account that hate speech can escalate.
Several Reddit commenters think the company didn’t go far enough and should have fired OP’s coworker.
So, what do you think about this story? Was OP justified in going to HR to report her Islamophobic coworker?
Or should she have found another way to deal with the situation, as her mother suggested?
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The post She Reported Her New Co-worker to HR for Making a Hostile Workplace first appeared on Career Step Up.
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Asier Romero. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.