I think an employee is sending nude Snapchats to his coworkers … with animal filters

A reader writes:

I have a bizarre question that I’m honestly not sure how to handle. I am the lone HR representative for a small company with a very liberal/laid-back culture — sometimes too laid-back. A lot of the employees are friends outside of work or follow each other on social media. A team of seven employees sit outside of my office in an open floor plan space (I have an enclosed office, but the wall facing them is made of glass so it’s pretty easy for them to see if I’m in). They often chatter throughout the day and sometimes I think they forget that I can hear what they are saying because I tend to not contribute during personal conversations.

This afternoon I overheard them talking about Snapchat and all the fun filters, when one of them mentioned that an employee who doesn’t work in their department regularly sends naked pictures over the app with the animal filters on his… area. They were talking fairly loudly so I asked, “Are you talking about so-and-so? Who works downstairs?” and they went silent. Nobody denied it — they just didn’t answer, but based off the whispers and giggle after I asked I’m fairly confident I heard correctly.

I don’t know what to do with this information. On one hand, it’s the employee’s private social media account, so if he wants to post naked pictures on there than that’s his prerogative. On the other, if they were looking at the picture in the moment, it leads me to believe that the photo was possibly taken during work time. I let it go when they didn’t respond but now I’m not sure what to do. Ask for more details privately, speak to the employee about it, or let it go and hope he’s got more sense than to do it on company time?

If he’s taking nude pictures of himself while he’s at work — and sending them to coworkers — then you need to intervene. That’s not okay, for numerous reasons

But I don’t know that you need to assume he’s taking them at work. They could have been taken previously and just sent from work. But it doesn’t really matter — either way, you need to speak up, because it’s not okay for employees to send each other nude photos during work time, animal filters or not.

That’s a sexual harassment charge waiting to happen. You might be thinking that the employees you overheard were laughing and not feeling harassed — but you actually don’t know that. It’s really common for people who feel uncomfortable to stay silent about it because they don’t want to be the stick-in-the-mud who objects. And even if these seven are completely fine with it — even if they adore these photos and clamor for more and beg him to use the giraffe filter next — at some point someone else may come along who’s not okay with it. And even if that never happens, it’s still not okay because it’s not cool to widely distribute naked photos of yourself to coworkers, period.

You’re HR. You’re obligated not to turn a blind eye to this. So: Talk to his manager, and then either you or she needs to sit down with him, ask him what’s going on, and — regardless of whether he fesses up or not — make it clear that he cannot send risque photos of himself to coworkers, at work or otherwise.

And the manager of the coworkers who you overheard should talk to them as well and explain that this wasn’t okay and that the company is putting a stop to it. First, because they need to hear that message, and second, because if there’s someone in that group who really wasn’t enjoying receiving this dude’s pictures, they should know that the company is officially Not Okay with this and has shut it down.

{ 190 comments… read them below or add one }

          1. Nic

            I am slightly mortified that I only now after reading your comment get why they called it the duck club.

            Thanks!

            Reply
  1. Roscoe

    So here is my question, and I’m not sure if it changes anything or not. On Snap chat you can actually send people snaps, or just post them and anyone who follows you can see them. Does it matter which he is doing? I can see that if you are sending someone a direct message that is a naked picture, its definitely an issue. However, if you just post a naked picture, and they are following you, and they see it, I would think that would be a bit different right? Like if I have a private twitter account, but my friends who I work with choose to follow it, and I post a naked picture, that has to be a bit different than sending it to them in a direct message.

    Reply
    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      Yeah, I do think that would be different, as long as he’s not posting them during work hours. But they should still tell the group of seven coworkers to stop congregating about them at work.

      Reply
      1. Roscoe

        So if he isn’t taking the pics during work hours, why does it matter if he posts it during work hours. I mean he could be on his lunch or a break or something right? And you use snapchat from your phone, so he isn’t doing it on company property.

        Reply
          1. edj3

            Where I work, if you used company equipment or the company’s network to upload content like that, you’d be likely to be terminated.

            Reply
            1. Natalie

              There’s nothing in the letter indicating this is using company resources. If they are friends with coworkers on Snapchat it seems more likely to be their personal phones and data plans.

              Reply
              1. edj3

                Sure–I did say if, although some companies also allow employees to use their WiFi on their personal phones (mine does not). My point was more about being very careful NOT to use any company assets when posting stuff like this.

                Reply
          2. Britt

            So a lot of people (mostly celebs) use airplane mode to post snaps so they don’t post immediately (for celebs, this is so paparazzi don’t know immediately where they are, etc). So the coworker could easily be taking these on his own time but then allowing them to post at different time, or vice versa where he is taking them at work but “posting” them later. Would this info affect your answer at all?

            Reply
            1. Ask a Manager Post author

              Taking them outside of work but setting them to auto-post at a time that happens to fall during the workday is fine as long as he’s not specifically sending them to coworkers (i.e., as long as he’s just posting them as a “story” or whatever as opposed to sending them to individual people).

              The possible issues in play here (and any of these would be a problem on their own):
              1. possibly taking/sending them while he’s supposed to be working
              2. sending them to coworkers, regardless of the time (as opposed to just posting them as a story)
              3. the coworkers making this a big topic of discussion during work hours (and really, if he’s not doing 1 or 2, then the coworkers might be the problem rather than him — imagine if this were a group of guys gathered to gawk at and discuss risque photos posted by a female coworker on her own time)

              Reply
              1. always in email jail

                I think number 3 is an important point- I feel like the reactions of the comment section would be much different if the scenario had been males clustered around to look at naked photos of a female coworker. Regardless of when he’s sending them, it’s not appropriate to look at nude photographs (especially of a coworker?) when you’re supposed to be working.

                Reply
                1. Chinook

                  Exactly. If we swapped genders, it would be the coworkers discussing the photo that would be the ones who crossed the line. It should be a clear line in anyone’s mind – unless required for the job, no looking at or discussing naked photos of anyone on company property.

              2. Zombii

                #3 made me realize I had somehow assumed the coworkers were a group of women, when that wasn’t in the letter. Did LW specify whether it was a mixed group? I’m also not super-into the gender-swap proposed on this one because dudes tend to use nudity as humor more often than women (or maybe it just tends to be taken as humor more often?), so the implications don’t translate both ways.

                Tl;dr: Giggling is different than gawking, and the fact that hypothetical photos of a nude woman are implicitly understood to be “risque,” when that’s one of the last words I associate with the Austin Powers-style censorship the LW seems to be referring to, kind of makes my point for me.

                Reply
                1. JamieS

                  Agreed guys tend to post nudes as an attempt at a joke more than women do. However I don’t think the poster’s intent in any way negates the risqueness of the photo.

              3. The OG Anonsie

                Another possibility is that he hasn’t sent such photos to any of them / posted them to his story, but rather just said that he has done this at some point. Which is still not great, but is definitely a different thing. The way the LW worded it, I can’t tell if it was clear to her that any of the people discussing this had seen the photos or not.

                When reading the letter I immediately assumed no one had seen the photos, and I think that’s partially because I don’t think it’s possible to really get a face filter reading on anything that doesn’t really resemble a human face. I might be wrong but I play with those filters all the time and my first reaction was that this sounds like something people would joke about potentially doing, but couldn’t actually make work due to the way they’re made to pick up and snap onto faces specifically.

                Reply
              4. JamieS

                Honestly if it were a group of guys I’d have the exact same opinion. Unless it’s a site specifically geared towards erotica I don’t think it’s appropriate for people to post pictures of their roosters and kitties on social media. Especially not on social media accounts that are followed by colleagues. Yes I know there’s all this hoopla about ‘Big Brother’ and about how people should be able to do what they want in their own time. However I don’t think that’s a realistic stance given the current reality of the world we live in.

                As for the group discussing the pictures true that’s also a problem. However how severe a problem would depend on whether they purposely sought out the picture and what their discussion entailed. The severity could range from the same level as a person caught playing Solitaire to the coworkers being guilty of sexual harassment.

                Reply
            2. Falling Diphthong

              I think once you’re this far down the rabbit hole of explaining to HR how you set it up to look like you were posting nude photos while at work, but actually you weren’t, you need to time travel back and not do it.

              Reply
              1. The OG Anonsie

                AFAIK there aren’t time stamps in Snapchat, so aside from the 24 hour expiration of a story snap there’s no way to check when one was sent anyway unless you did it proactively when you received the notification.

                Reply
          3. JM60

            What if the employer had a culture in which when you’re supposed to work is very flexible, and up to the individual employees, as long as they perform well? Would you say that in those cases, when the pictures are taken isn’t really a problem so long as the employee is performing well?

            Reply
            1. Ask a Manager Post author

              If he’s taking them in the office, that’s still an issue. No one needs to be taking nude pictures in their workplace. (Well, technically, some people do, but that’s a different industry.)

              Reply
              1. JM60

                Sure, but I was talking about the issue of time, not location. A lot of people perform a lot of work away from their employer’s property.

                Reply
              2. Snorks

                I’d love to read that letter!
                Dear AAM,
                I am a nude model but my coworker keeps showing me photos of himself in his new jeans! It is seriously outside of the normal culture of our office. What should I do?

                Reply
        1. AGirlCalledFriday

          I don’t think it’s completely about taking pictures during work hours. I think a lot of this is about his intended audience. It’s like…a coworker comes up to you and says, “Hey, can I have your private email address? I like to send funny things and stuff to people that aren’t work related.” You think, sure, sounds cool, and give him your information. Later that day you receive an email from him, open it up and bang! Male genitalia wearing a top hat! So now you have to wonder…did he send this to everyone or just to you…what does this mean for your relationship as coworkers, is he trying to hit on you? Does he really think it’s just funny and thought you would appreciate it?

          For me, where and when he took it would be the least of my concerns as a coworker. This isn’t a picture online of him that I happened to stumble upon, this is something deliberately sent either to me or on a platform that I could view, without any warning of what I could be encountering. This would be problematic and make me uncomfortable.

          Reply
          1. AGirlCalledFriday

            Hit enter too soon, oh no!

            Anyway, I don’t think he should be fired over it, but I think he could potentially be. He has every right to post whatever he wants online, but as long as he is working for the company he should refrain from exposing coworkers to said media, and if I heard a complaint about it after the fact, his job would be in jeopardy. I would also be letting him know that this type of behavior doesn’t speak highly of his maturity and will impact how he is seen by others.

            Personally I think the whole thing is kind of funny, but it just doesn’t belong in the workplace.

            Reply
    2. kb

      That’s what I was wondering too! For some reason it seems less intimidating (to me, obviously other people can disagree) if he just has really wild taste in stories than if he’s sending these individually (or in a group message). I think he should stop/ unfriend his coworkers on Snapchat either way, but for some reason one strikes me as bad while the other strikes me as very, very bad.

      If it is a stories situation, it may be beneficial to the wild snapper for HR to bring it up. The wild snapper may be under the impression he blocked his coworkers from seeing his animal-themed stories.

      Reply
      1. Roscoe

        I still think it would be questionable for HR to bring it up. Assuming he isn’t sending them and they are just seeing it on his story, anyone can follow anyone else. So its kind of policing what he can do on his own time, and no one really has complained about it, just kind of joked about it happening.

        Reply
        1. Jesca

          It is a grey area. But, I think if you frame that way with the employee, it is fine. I would just point out what things like sexual harassment are and how we can find ourselves sometimes in positions were we didn’t mean harm but still caused it. I mean look at like this. If you tell a new employee to follow you on snapchat, and they go on and see that, they may become offended. That is sexual harassment in the work place. If you decided to go the route of warning the new coworker that you post nudes in the process of asking them if they want to connect, that is still sexual harassment. Both ways are like saying “I like people to see me nude and I would like for you to be one of them!” LOL there is no way out of it if someone does become offended. He should just not have coworkers looking at that. It is just a professional lesson he needs to learn. He is putting himself and the company in jeopardy.

          Reply
            1. Jesca

              I mean it is tricky. I have always wondered how work places handled it when an employee is, say, into recording pornography. Do you just tell them not to discuss it at work? I mean, what do you do? Do you tell them that you cannot ask people to look at it and that people should not be talking about it? I suppose not, since generally you should not be discussing pornography in the work environment. Everyone is entitled to their personal lines, it is just interesting when the lines get blurred.

              Reply
              1. sap

                Yes, I think you tell that employee not to come into work and offer to show all of his coworkers his porn film. It wouldn’t be okay if he were offering to show his coworkers porn someone else made; it doesn’t become okay because he made the porn himself.

                I work in a conservative industry and am also part of some weird subcultures that involve some things that would be sexual harassment in the workplace. Nobody had to told me to set up a social media filter for that, but if someone had, I wouldn’t have considered that to be infringing on my freedom to actually do the thing. Some of my coworkers at OldJob were actually close friends who knew I did the thing and they knew damn well better than to talk about it at work. Some things are not appropriate to talk about at work no matter what, like your sex life. And some things are going to be uncomfortable for most people to know about via social media if their coworkers invite them to follow… like their coworkers’ sex lives. If you’re actively inviting people to something while at work it should be limited to work appropriate topics. It’s not different for social media. Porn guy has the option of creating a filter to not tak about the porn with coworkers; if he chooses not to use it, when he invites coworkers to be friends on whatever platform he damn welll knows he’s inviting them to learn about his porn, and he shouldn’t be inviting them to that at work (or en masse not at work).

                Take sexual harassment. It does not have to happpen on the company property at work to be a problem. If my manager waits till we’re both at home to call me and ask if I will have sex with him every night, that doesn’t make it not a problem. Same goes for social media.

                Reply
        2. kb

          I don’t think HR can necessarily force him to stop posting or unfriend, but I do think they should investigate. I mean, if someone does complain and it comes out that HR knew explicit photos were being sent and they did nothing, it will look pretty bad.
          I personally think the guy should unfriend, though, just because it just seems like it would make work interactions awkward at best.

          Reply
          1. Recruit-o-Rama

            No one can force anyone to stop doing this. But they can tell him to stop sending nude pictures of himself to coworkers and fire him if he doesn’t stop unless he has a contract, which most US employees do not have. Not sure it’s the route my company would take as a first step, depends on the particulars, but something like this could definitely end in termination at my company. It’s so wildly inappropriate that I can’t believe anyone would defend it.

            Reply
            1. fposte

              They can, but if this is a posted story rather than a direct sending, and if it happened off the clock and the co-workers viewed it off the clock, it’s a different matter than if any of this is happening on the clock. I mean, you in any case tell the co-workers that we don’t talk about people’s nudes at work, but this could be not as horribly wrong as it initially seemed.

              Reply
              1. Recruit-o-Rama

                Well, yes to all of that, but the situation (whether it’s sending them, posting them or talking about them at work) needs to be shut down. And, the company would still be within its legal right to fire him no matter when or how he’s posting if they see the situation as a liability for them. I’m not making a value judgement at all, I really could not care less what people do on their own time, but it has become an issue at the office so I can see both sides of the issue; to fire or not fire. I work in HR, but in recruiting so I don’t make these kinds of calls, but I am in the know enough to have observed these kinds of situations snow ball out of control in the past at my current and previous employers.

                Reply
                1. fposte

                  Sure, there’s no legal bar to firing somebody for what’s on their Facebook or Twitter accounts, either, and it’s certainly happened. It’s just that if this is more analogous to Facebook drama that’s spilled into work than sending nudes directly to coworkers, that doesn’t necessarily call for the same response.

              2. blushingflower

                I feel like posting nude selfies to your Snapchat story when you know your coworkers can follow you and can see it is indicative of some poor judgement at minimum. Maybe he doesn’t mean to harass or upset anyone, but it still seems like his sense of boundaries is not great. And if it’s a company culture where everyone follows each other on social media, new hires might feel pressure to do so and end up seeing things that they cannot unsee.

                Reply
                1. many bells down

                  The thing about Snapchat is that you don’t have to “accept” a request for someone to follow you. If they know your email address, they can just add you and see what you post.

              3. Bostonian

                Yeah, if he’s passively posting them and the coworkers see them because they’re following him, then the coworkers need to be told not to discuss/pass/show these photos while at work.

                Reply
            2. JM60

              ” I can’t believe anyone would defend it.”

              Would you say the same thing about coworkers consentually having sex? I consider consentually sending nudes to coworkers to be similar to consentually having sex: There can be a lot of potential issues with it, and in some cases can make sense to ban, but it’s not categorically wrong. I don’t get why two employees consentually dating and/or hooking up might be allowed (although discouraged), but consentually sending nudes wouldn’t be.

              Reply
              1. JM60

                To add to this, I’m not a fan of co worker fraternization. But if you wouldn’t fire someone for consentually having sex with a coworker, then you also shouldn’t fire them for consentually sending nudes to that same coworker.

                Reply
                1. Recruit-o-Rama

                  I think if two co-workers are having sex with each other and make it known to the point where their co-workers are openly discussing it at work, it’s exactly the same thing. As I said, I don’t care if he sends nudes, I just care that it is now a thing that a group of 7 people are discussing at the water cooler.

                2. JM60

                  @Recruit-o-Rama “I said, I don’t care if he sends nudes, I just care that it is now a thing that a group of 7 people are discussing at the water cooler.”

                  In your initial post, you suggested the possibility of banning him from sending nudes and firing him if he continued. While you said your weren’t sure if you’d take that route as a first step, that lead me to believe that you do care about coworkers consentually sending nudes, not just the openness of which they are talking about it.

                3. Recruit-o-Rama

                  I can see how you might interpret it that way, but I was responding to the idea that HR couldn’t force him to stop doing it and reminding the poster who said that that they might be able to force him to stop but they could legally fire him for it. I really, really don’t care what people do on their own time.

                  I personally wouldn’t take any route with this, I’m in recruiting, but I could see something like this ending up in termination.

              2. Undine

                But if they were hooking up on company time, or sharing intimate details of what happened last night at work where other people could hear, that would be an issue.

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                1. JM60

                  I agree that the openness of them discussing it at work is an issue. However, the post I was responding to suggested the possibility of banning him from sending nudes and firing him if he continued. While the commenter said they weren’t sure if you’d take that route as a first step, that lead me to believe that they do care about coworkers consentually sending nudes, not just the openness of which they are talking about it.

                2. Recruit-o-Rama

                  I’m not sure why you would care if I care? I don’t, you should just take me at my word, not sure why it’s so important to you what my personal opinion on this issue but I was referring to the legality of the company being able to fire them or not.

                3. JM60

                  @Recruit-o-Rama

                  Whenever someone suggests (or seems to suggest) firing someone for doing something consentually with another adult, that topic tends to peak my interest.

                4. Recruit-o-Rama

                  I didn’t suggest they “should” be fired, just that they “could” be fired. You are reading way too much into what I’ve posted which was simply a response to another poster’s comment. I can see MANY scenarios in which this would end in termination and the nude photo poster may not even realize it. It could be a KINDNESS to point it out to him.

              3. Humble Schoolmarm

                I think the public nature of this makes it different. Ideally, if two employees hook up it would mostly be between them but it seems from the letter that several employees are receiving or seeing these posts, which makes it more like co-workers hooking up in the copy room at 10 am than subtly in their own time.

                Reply
                1. JM60

                  I agree that the openness of them discussing it at work is an issue. However, the post I was responding to suggested the possibility of banning him from sending nudes and firing him if he continued. While the commenter said they weren’t sure if you’d take that route as a first step, that lead me to believe that they do care about coworkers consentually sending nudes, not just the openness of which they are talking about it.

              4. JamieS

                The main issue is a person following a coworker on Snapchat doesn’t mean that person consented to see nude photos. If you follow a coworker expecting to see things like some vacation photos, a few pics of his new dog, so on and so forth and instead you accept a request and see a rooster picture is that a consensual photo in the eyes of HR?

                Reply
            3. kb

              They could say that they would fire him unless he stops sharing nude snaps, but if all the viewers enjoy them and stop talking about it at work, the company has no real way of knowing if he stopped or not.
              After re-reading the post, it seems like the situation could be that he sends the pics to one coworker (who is presumably a close friend and enjoys such correspondence) and that coworker brought it up at work to other colleagues who do not receive those snapchats. In that case it seems like the issue is discussing the photos at work moreso than the actual sending.

              Reply
        3. Liane

          Quoting Roscoe: “…and no one really has complained about it, just kind of joked about it happening.”

          From Alison’s answer to OP: ” You might be thinking that the employees you overheard were laughing and not feeling harassed — but you actually don’t know that. It’s really common for people who feel uncomfortable to stay silent about it because they don’t want to be the stick-in-the-mud who objects.”

          Me: Posting nude selfies on the clock is not okay. Discussing/IMing/texting/whatever with coworkers about your Totally Off The Clock nude selfies, even if everybody is off the clock.

          Reply
          1. Roscoe

            I actually agree with most of what you are saying. I think its inappropriate to discuss that stuff at work. The only thing I would say though is if they are bothered by it, they can always unfollow him on snapchat as well. Even if you assume he added them first, they can always stop seeing them if they want.

            Reply
    3. Viktoria

      I agree that this scenario is better (and more likely) but I also think, if he uses his snapchat for (semi)nude pics he should not be friends with anyone from work on there!! Seems like common sense. I don’t know much about how privacy works on snapchat but I assume you can control to some degree who sees your “story,” like with any other social media service? I hope so anyway.

      Reply
    1. Cookie

      For uploading nude photos to his private social media account? He might be posting these to his daily story, not forcing anyone to look, but where any friend can check it out for the next 24 hours. The whole group needs a conversation about boundaries and fraternization, but firing someone is pretty extreme as a first step.

      Reply
    2. Antilles

      With the way OP described the culture – very liberal and laid-back, employees are friends outside of work, probably young-ish workforce, etc – that would be out of step with the corporate culture and way, way too firm for a first step. Particularly since she didn’t do it in the moment, but would be doing it now, X days/weeks/months (idk how the question queue works) afterwards.
      It warrants a clear discussion about boundaries and appropriateness, a general warning of Internet privacy risks (no, Snapchat is not magic; there are absolutely ways to save stuff), and possibly even some discipline if he’s doing it at work. But not fire-immediately for a first offense.

      Reply
      1. Stranger than fiction

        And maybe it’s time for a mandatory sexual harassment training video and internet use policy, etc. Doesn’t sound like there’s anything like this formally in place. Op can leverage the liability their at risk for to get these things approved.

        Reply
        1. Jesca

          +1. I mean think of it like this. He asks a new coworker to join his snapchat. Fergus goes on and sees BAM naked Wakeen. He is offended and reports it. That is sexual harassment in the work place as you do not need to prove motive. Now if Fergus invites Wakeen to connect on snapchat but warns him first that he posts nudes? That is still work place sexual harassment. It is like saying “I like people to look at me nude and I would like you to now be one of them!” LOL there is no way of getting out of it. I think if it is framed as not being accusatory, Fergus will benefit from this conversation. Training on what constitutes sexual harassment and how it can occur, will obviously benefit everyone else. Fergus is putting both himself and his employer in jeopardy.

          Reply
          1. many bells down

            You don’t need an invitation to see someone’s snapchat. If they know your email address they can just add you. Weirded me out when I first installed it, because I kept getting “followed” by people with no idea who they were (turned out to be an old friend and my husband’s cousin, but I didn’t know that at first)

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            1. Jesca

              Yeah I know. Its why I don’t have it. I know a lot of people who enjoy it, but it is not for me. Anyway, I am not really talking about a coworker “happening” upon it. I am talking about the liability that could happen if the said employee actively invites people into his snapchat. Posting nudes after the request could 100% be construed as sexual harassment, and I think discussing this with this employees this way may help him understand what position he could be putting himself in. And then a broader discussion with everyone else on what actually constitutes sexual harassment will be beneficial as well. Employees discussing (and showing, if they were) these photos could also be construed as sexual harassment. Everyone needs to be aware and educated on the potential liabilities they can create with *privately* shared social media accounts. Now if an employee just happens to come across it, that is different. The person this letter is about is not seeking them out. But, that is also why sexual harassment training in necessary. People need to know the difference.

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              1. myswtghst

                Everyone needs to be aware and educated on the potential liabilities they can create with *privately* shared social media accounts.

                I like this framing for the issue, because I do think both the alleged nude snapper and the employees discussing it outside OP’s office need to be addressed in some way, to make sure they understand the potential issues this could cause for all of them in the future.

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                1. kb

                  So you don’t technically approve the followers, you change your settings in the “Who can…” section. So change who can contact me to just friends, change who can view my story to just friends, change see my location to just me or just my friends. You can also uncheck quick add, so you’re a little harder to come across. So technically anyone who has your username can still add you, but it’s kind of like a pending fb request in that they cannot see anything you do until you follow them back. You can also block and unblock people who request you.

          2. Roscoe

            I don’t know, that seems a bit much, since you don’t have to actively accept someone’s follow. So its more like if you looked into my house and were offended by what you saw. That isn’t sexual harassment, that is you purposely looking to see what I’m doing

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            1. Oryx

              What about the employees talking about it in an open space in the office? I personally don’t want to hear my co-workers talking about another co-workers nude photos while I’m trying to work.

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              1. Roscoe

                Yes that is problematic. But the problem at that point isn’t the guy posting the pictures, its the people talking about the pictures

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          3. Zombii

            >>LOL there is no way of getting out of it.

            I don’t like this perspective and I am very confused. I worked at a place that had serious boundary issues and everyone was all up in everyone else’s social media (and sleeping with each other but that’s a different story). It was pretty normal to come to work and have someone say “I tried to add you on [social media site du jour] but I couldn’t find you!” or “You should add me on [whatever]!” At least half the time, there would be something pornographic or otherwise sexual posted somewhere on someone’s recent history (either because they were new to the workforce and hadn’t developed office boundaries, or they were working at this company because of their lack of office boundaries). To my knowledge, no one ever considered this sexual harassment or reported it, they just unfollowed/blocked. None of it seemed like it was about power, or force.

            I saw it as similar to when a coworker said “I’m attracted to you and would like to do something about that. Would you like to go out with me?” I was free to accept or decline, there was no weird power imbalance, and even though this happened at my desk while I was supposed to be working I would never consider it sexual harassment, just a request/statement of intent and I was free to go along with it or not.

            If you tell someone No, and the behavior continues, that’s obviously sexual harassment. I don’t see how someone warning that they post (censored—everyone is ignoring that they’re censored?) nudes is egregious enough to qualify.

            Reply
      2. Oryx

        I work in a very liberal, laid-back, employees are friends outside of work, young workforce culture.

        We still have to be aware of possible sexual harassment and go through annual training. Culture doesn’t exempt you from that. If anything, that kind of culture — in my experience — makes it even more important to have that awareness and training because it’s so laid back and people will fall back on the casualness of the environment to excuse that behavior.

        Reply
        1. Antilles

          You’re right and the culture absolutely doesn’t excuse the behavior…but the current culture does mean that “fire him immediately, no warning” doesn’t seem like a response that would go over well.

          Reply
        2. Turquoise Cow

          Yes. In laid-back, casual, everyone-is-friends culture, it might be even more likely for someone to be sexually harassed unintentionally because, hey, everyone is friends, right? Surely Jane knew Fergus was just joking about the nudes with animal filters, and he wasn’t sexually propositioning her!

          Reply
        3. Observer

          I agree that this kind of culture makes that kind of training even more important. There is another reason as well. In a place where that kind of behavior would be unthinkable, it would be plausible for a boss to say “I had no idea! And I sure as anything would not have allowed this to go on if I had known! That’s utterly inappropriate!” Because it’s like wearing flip flops in an office where everyone wears suits. In a culture like this, it’s just not plausible. After all stuff is being done and said out in the open, and no one is calling them out. Which leaves the company liable as they should have known, and their behavior makes it look like it’s acceptable.

          Reply
  2. FCJ

    “On one hand, it’s the employee’s private social media account, so if he wants to post naked pictures on there than that’s his prerogative.”

    I might be wrong here, because I don’t actually use it, but I don’t think you “post” things in Snapchat like you do on Facebook or Instagram, where they’re findable but not necessarily directed toward anyone in particular. If someone is seeing the pictures, isn’t it because he’s actively sent them?

    Reply
    1. Roscoe

      You can do both. So you can just send someone something directly, but you can also just post something to your story, and anyone who follows you can see it.

      Reply
    2. That Would Be a Good Band Name

      I’m not a big snapchat user, but you can post things (called a story) and everyone that has followed you can see it. Or you can send direct messages. It always takes me a minute to remember how to post a “story” because I only have snap due to my sister preferring to use it over text messaging.

      Reply
      1. Elizabeth H.

        I would also point out that you have to actually click to view someone’s story. If this dude posts content you find offensive or obnoxious, and you are bothered by it, you can always choose not to click on it. If he’s sending it to people directly in an unwanted way that is a bit different IMO.

        Reply
    3. Cookie

      It’s a bit of both – you can send things to particular people or add it to your “story,” where anyone could see it.

      Reply
    4. EddieSherbert

      You can also post a “story” on Snapchat, which is a pic or video that’s available for 24 hours to anyone who anyone who you are friends with.

      Reply
  3. Falling Diphthong

    Are the letters today all built on the theme “bizarre things people thought their coworkers would really appreciate?”

    Stick to free carbohydrates.

    Reply
  4. Widgeon

    It sounds like your company needs to tighten up the reigns on professionalism. I realize some companies have a much more relaxed culture, but if things have gotten so lax that such things are prone to happening? Perhaps you and the other managers need to have a good talk about expecting higher standards from your staff in general.

    Reply
    1. Purplesaurus

      Yeah, totally agreed. I appreciate a laid back culture, but one that allows personal chattering throughout the day where employees feel free to send animal-covered nude pics to each other and talking about it openly… I’m suspicious that this is the only questionable thing going on.

      Reply
    2. Jenny

      Agreed. A place where it is normalized for people to send nudes to each other is a lawsuit waiting to happen when one employee feels coerced to go along because of “fitting in” or culture. It is not okay to have nude pictures at work. Full stop.

      Reply
  5. AnotherAlison

    You can also snap a picture that you already have saved on your phone. I assume you can add the same filters. So, even if the coworkers are getting a direct message snap, for all we know, he is recycling one picture and adding new filters. No reason to jump to conclusions that he’s nude at work. Still inappropriate, but a lot less creepy than picturing him in the bathroom taking the pictures.

    Reply
    1. The OG Anonsie

      I don’t *think* you can add filters onto a photo that’s already been taken, I think it has to be done when the camera is actually on. Unless there’s a way that I don’t know about.

      Reply
  6. A N O N

    This sounds exactly like the type of thing that could’ve happened in my last office.

    OP, you may feel like doing as Alison said might make the employees see you as a killjoy, but keep in mind that as HR, you are not really in a position to be friends with employees and joke with them in the same manner. I know that can sometimes be a hard pill to swallow as an HR dept of one.

    Reply
  7. NW Mossy

    At the risk of sounding like an overbearing schoolmarm, what exactly is the business purpose of sending/viewing/discussing nudes of one’s colleague at work? Even if you caveat out who owns the device used to take them, when/where they were taken, and who the audience is (specific or general), it’s still a headscratcher to me as to why any of the observed behavior has any place at work. There are plenty of ways to socialize and have warm relationships with one’s colleagues that don’t involve nudity – putting the kibosh on this is totally reasonable.

    Reply
    1. Fake old Converse shoes

      Apparently some people think that the edgier the better.
      (And if they’re caught and face consequences for it, they’d pull the ‘free speech’ card. But that’s another story.)

      Reply
  8. tigerlily

    Just wanted to point out, there’s nothing in the OP’s post that indicates these photos were ever sent during work hours. She overheard a conversation during work hours, but they way she’s described it – the nude photos happened to come into the conversation naturally because they were talking about Snapchat. Not because they had just received one.

    I do think a conversation is warranted – but based solely off of what OP has written the behavior that needs to be curbed is the talking about nude photos during work hours.

    Reply
    1. TeacherNerd

      I was coming to ask this too. I didn’t get the impression that these were specifically sent at work; they might have been, but the LW doesn’t say one way or the other, just that this particular team was talking about it at work.

      Reply
    2. TootsNYC

      I think the conversation during work hours is wrong. There may be employees who just don’t want to hear that sort of TMI.

      Reply
      1. Iris Eyes

        Agreed. Viewing them at work is just as much of a no-no which one would presume they are doing if they are talking about it.

        Reply
      2. TeacherNerd

        I wouldn’t want to hear that conversation either, but it might affect whether it could fall under the parameter of would-be sexual harassment.

        Reply
  9. Lora

    I have worked in some super relaxed places but this really takes the cake, the frosting and the candles on top.

    It’s bad enough all the weenie pictures that happen on OKCupid and whatnot, even though you’d think it would be common knowledge by now that this is not a successful tactic to woo a lady and instead gets you blocked/laughed at. To bring those shenanigans to work?!? Is it a demon that possesses people and inspires them to do this?

    Reply
  10. Nervous Accountant

    For some reason, I pictured our HR/recruiting specialist (whos the closest to HR we have) person saying this (laid back culture, ppl are friends etc) and imagined this was a group of my coworkers. And oh god, after a weepy AM, this was a much needed laugh lol

    Reply
  11. Loopy

    Also something to consider: If I worked there and overheard that I would be so uncomfortable even knowing my coworkers were seeing/exchanging such things.

    Reply
  12. gnarlington

    OK, my first thought is that I don’t think there’s any practical way to make the face filters work on your… ahem, you know. They need to detect a face. And sometimes there are glitches, but your… ahem, you know (AYK)… would have to REALLY look like a face to work consistently. Is it more likely that he’s covering up his AYK with an emoji? And therefore there isn’t any nudity at all—just the suggestion of nudity?

    I don’t think that makes it better. But I can’t imagine someone would send nudes to SEVEN coworkers openly. I’m reeling from this post.

    Reply
    1. Nervous Accountant

      OMG GOOD POINT. Yeah I’m now wondering if there’s something lost in transaltion. Bc those filters only work on actual faces not random body parts. I shared part of the post with my coworkers, I’m cracking up.

      Reply
      1. Wulfie

        There are plenty of images out there where people do the face swap thing and Snapchat swaps their face with like, an orange or something. Mine sometimes recognizes a damn blank wall as a face.

        Reply
    2. Emilia Bedelia

      I think there is something being lost in translation here and the emoji/sticker is likely what’s happening- not everyone is fluent in the exact terminology of Snapchat features and I don’t think it much matters in this situation.

      Reply
    3. Going for the anon

      Yeah, I gotta say…. if it’s a pic that has images covering the naughty bits, it’s not really a nude. If we had the same convo about someone sharing pics of themselves with co-workers wearing a bikini, or a speedo, would we be up in arms? There ARE universes where sending a speedo pic to a coworker could be sexual harassment, but posting them in your general snapchat story doesn’t really get there.

      Reply
      1. fposte

        I don’t think whether the emoji’s there or not is really the point; if he’s consensually exchanging nudes or near-nudes out of the workplace and it never affects the workplace, I’m not going to care. If it’s becoming a workplace thing, I care. This is a workplace thing. I don’t know exactly what it is, but I want it to end.

        Reply
      2. LBK

        I think this is one of those things where the geometric measure of flesh coverage might be the same but the intent, process and context do make a difference. I would definitely see a picture intentionally taken while completely nude and then covered over digitally as more risque than a photo taken while wearing a skimpy outfit, especially if the outfit wasn’t explicitly put on for the purpose of the photo (eg someone posting pictures of them in a bikini from their weekend beach trip).

        Reply
  13. Fake old Converse shoes

    I really hope that person is not one of my ex coworkers at Old Job, who sent snaps of his privates to the project’s Whatsapp group (including his supervisor!) while drunk.
    (PD. He wasn’t fired for it, buy I bet my last paycheck there it added to the supervisor’s opinion of him)

    Reply
  14. Nathaniel

    Non-consentual dissemination of explicit imagery to coworkers, whether in or out of the workplace, is sexual harassment. An organization that is protective of its employees would investigate. Make sure you have a clearly stated policy and training in place as well.

    Reply
  15. KC

    It doesn’t actually say in the letter that he sent it to his coworkers, just that they know about it. So what if the scenerio is more 2 colleague/friends talking about funny sexual things and he goes, “yeah to make my boyfriend laugh I send him sexy photos with the snap chat filters on haha” then the knowledge spread from there? That reads as over sharing to me, but far from sexual harassment. And if talking about snap chat it wouldn’t be odd to being up the crazy thing you heard. There are too many angles, and a conversation about personal boundaries is needed, but there are a lot of assumptions being made that his coworkers saw his junk.

    Reply
  16. Audiophile

    I’m sorry, these two sentences in particular have me to stifling laughter in my cube.

    – because it’s not okay for employees to send each other nude photos during work time, animal filters or not.
    And even if these seven are completely fine with it — even if they adore these photos and clamor for more and beg him to use the giraffe filter next-.

    I have a feeling I’m not succeeding.

    It’s a good thing all the managers in my department are out today.

    Reply
  17. Fiennes

    Are the photos necessarily nude photos of the coworker himself, or others he has taken/downloaded?

    I think it would be fair to state that employees shouldn’t post explicit images/content online where coworkers can see them. If this dude needs to share his fetish with the world, he can filter out coworkers. (I’m assuming they’d have to exchange info to find each other.)

    Reply
  18. Michael

    If I’m ever on the fence about acting on information like this, I always think, “If this does blow up later, I don’t want anyone to be able to say, ‘We/you knew about this and didn’t do anything?'”

    If you talk to him and the guy is not doing anything, then all you’ve done is clarify your company’s policies and hopefully prevented someone from acting foolishly in the future.

    Reply
  19. FTW

    Questions for HR professionals out there:

    – Has technology increased the number of issues you have deal with over the last 10-20 years, or is it simply same issues with a different medium? (Also recognizing that technology may bring visibility to what was previously more difficult to track).
    – Do you feel equipped to manage all the tech related issues… (I feel like there are so many curve balls that come up with each new platform)?

    (Not using this to try to start an HR consulting business or anything, just genuinely curious!)

    Reply
  20. DataQueen

    So even if he’s posting them on his public story and outside of work hours, I’d have a conversation with him about the boundaries that you need with coworkers even if you’re friends with them outside of work. 80% of my friends in my city are from work – we are a super close office and everyone hangs out. But I am more senior than most of the people my age, and because of that, I choose to remove myself from certain situations where I just can’t be around it. Hanging out and drinking beers? Fine. But now they want to go to the strip club? I’m out of there (Yeah, that actually happened – that is the LAST place I want to see my coworkers!!). I just don’t want to put myself in the situation where I know something that I have to report, even when it’s happening on your private time. I would unfollow anyone’s Snapchat story that I felt was crossing those boundaries, but I would also give a heads up to that person, if they were more junior than me, that those posts are probably Not A Good Idea. And not just more junior people necessarily or people on my team – I once gave a gentle heads up to one of our C-Suite execs that their profile wasn’t private/friends-only after I stumbled across some vacation pictures of them that I didn’t think they’d want the staff to see. They were mortified and happy to know!

    Reply
    1. Chinook

      “So even if he’s posting them on his public story and outside of work hours, I’d have a conversation with him about the boundaries that you need with coworkers even if you’re friends with them outside of work.”

      Ironically, if he is posting them outside of hours as a public story, he is not the one that should be talked to – it is the coworkers who were bringing it up during work hours that were crossing the line. He didn’t do anything to require them to see or discuss the photos and he isn’t able to control who sees the photos (because once it’s one the internet, there is no control). The people in the office were the ones who had the conversation and created an uncomfortable situation for anyone who overheard them the same way they would have if they were discussing a Playgirl and passing around the magazine to show a photo from a colleague’s past. If a talking to is warranted, it is to those ladies, not the gentleman who likes to think he us sporting an elephant in his pants.

      Reply
      1. Roscoe

        Totally agree there. It really seems like the talkers are the issue, not the sender (Assuming he isn’t harrassing someone)

        Reply
  21. Christine

    I agree with writer that stated that they shouldn’t be discussing nude snap chats at work. If he’s taking the photos in his office or the mens’ bathroom he’s not about to admit it. HR should talk to both supervisors, the talkers and poster … maybe even as a group. The photos shouldn’t be discussed, viewed, or sent during working hours, using the companies Wi-Fi. It’s also easy to ask IT to check to see if it’s coming across company computers. They are having a boundary issue, it needs to be discussed and possibly a written warning placed in their files … stating that it was discussed and wouldn’t happen again that they signed. I believe that IT, can do a search for obscene or nude material, etc. Even a search looking for Snap chat on the office computers.

    Also if the man is taking the photos at work?? duffus, he needs an eye opening discussion with HR and his manager. This is something that could be a huge teaching moment for employees involved. They should also be required to attend sexual harassment work shop, etc. If they company doesn’t have one in place, they need to get one set up, include social media in it, and operate it like a mandatory SOP. When they are hired, they must do it within say 15 working days, and retake it once a year. That way the company is protecting themselves and their employees.

    Reply
  22. Detective Amy Santiago

    Would it make sense for the LW to talk to one of the people who sits right outside her office and get more information before approaching the alleged sender?

    “The conversation I overheard last week about X and snapchat concerned me because of A, B, and C. Can you give me more information about that? Is he sending them to you or just posting them on his story? Is this happening during work hours?”

    Reply
    1. IANAL (I Argue Nightly About Llamas)

      That’s what I thought. I’d frame it as following up about potential harassment.

      “Jane, I want to follow up with the conversation we had next week about Phteven’s snapchat habits. I know that you are friends, but I’m concerned that he’s crossing a personal or professional boundary and, as the HR at the company where both of you work, it’s my job to make sure that that doesn’t happen. I want you to know that I am here to support you and maintain inter-office relationships as best as I can.”

      Worst-case scenario, you end up looking like a stick-in-the-mud, which isn’t the worst thing HR can be. Jane laughs it off and feels slightly uncomfortable, and everyone moves on. Or, I guess, worst-case scenario, Phteven IS sexually harassing his coworkers via snapchat and that’s a whole thing.

      Reply
    2. The Queen of Cans & Jars

      I agree that this is the best place to start. I think the important thing is that OP take some action, which doesn’t necessarily mean punitive. And regardless of the results of that conversation, OP needs to talk with the snapper because he may not be aware that people are talking about his pictures at work, and may (hopefully) be mortified that the conversation was had within earshot of management. It could be a real eye-opener for him about the need for boundaries with coworkers. Even if there’s nothing actionable, having a reputation at work for being the guy who posts weird nudes on Snapchat is not really going to help his career with the company.

      Reply
      1. myswtghst

        I think the important thing is that OP take some action, which doesn’t necessarily mean punitive.

        Completely agreed. As HR, I think it’s important the OP does something, but I think that something can be having conversations to investigate and set expectations. It’s worth talking with the employees OP heard it from, to try to get a clearer picture (no pun intended) about what is going on, and to make it clear they should avoid this type of talk at work, and it’s a good idea to talk with the guy sharing the photos, to make sure he understands the potential impacts of his Snapchat habits (regardless of what has actually happened).

        It’s probably also worth revisiting both the harassment policies and training/documentation at OP’s workplace, just to see if a refresher is needed (for the policy or employees). Even if nothing is actionable at this point, it’s good to make sure everyone knows what is expected of them, just in case this comes up again in the future.

        Reply
  23. JKP

    I’m a snapchat virgin.

    How does the animal filter work? Is it a totally nude pic where he has an animal head instead of his own? Or does it alter the nude portion, so that it censors it in some way like the proverbial fig leaf, but with something animal related?

    If the nude part is censored by the filter, would that make it okay?

    Reply
    1. Undine

      Oh, I also didn’t think it was his head and face that would be replaced. I was getting a very interesting image for the giraffe filter…

      Reply
    2. Emilia Bedelia

      Censored nude pictures are no better than fully nude pictures- just because you can’t see the full package does not make it okay.

      I feel like it’s similar to all those debates about the “cold shoulder” tops and dresses with cutouts and fishnet stockings- it’s not necessarily about the amount of skin showing, it’s the strategic showing of certain areas that creates a sexual effect. And when you’re talking about sexual harassment, it’s not about nudity, it’s about creating an unwanted sexual environment.

      Reply
    3. That Would Be a Good Band Name

      The actual filters are placed on someone’s face. If you do facebook, maybe you’ve seen pictures where people have puppy ears/nose transposed on their face? They are using snapchat filters to do those.

      In this instance, it sounds like they are somehow getting those filters to apply more like a fig leaf.

      Reply
  24. AlsoAnon

    Personally I do not see this as something to confront the person’s manager about and am very surprised by that suggestion. The OP is “fairly confident” s/he overheard something about this person posting nudes on Snapchat, and when OP asked for further clarification, nobody confirmed or denied it was happening. To bring it up to the person’s manager with no hard evidence or confirmation seems like the risk outweighs the benefit.

    I would be incensed if HR raised some potentially baseless concern to my manager that could be so damaging to my career and my reputation.

    What if OP is wrong?

    Reply
    1. JB (not in Houston)

      Then the manager would learn that by talking to the employee, and the employee’s career and reputation wouldn’t be damaged. Nobody is saying that the OP should tell the manager that the employee is absolutely sending nude pics to his coworkers. Nobody is saying the OP should tell the manager to discipline the employee without investigating further. But the OP would not be doing her job if she just ignored it.

      Reply
      1. AlsoAnon

        I think the OP should AT LEAST be sure who the person in question is before taking any action or speaking to anyone about it. I did not get that from the letter–and from subsequent comments about “if it’s during work hours” or “if it’s not during work hours”, I don’t think anything actionable is happening. Nobody is nearly sure enough about what’s going on to put someone’s reputation on the line. And I disagree with you that the person’s reputation would not be damaged by a false implication. I’ve worked for too many toxic managers for that. OP has too many unknowns to proceed.

        Reply
        1. JB (not in Houston)

          “OP has too many unknowns to proceed.”
          So you think the OP should just do nothing? Not even investigate further? If so, I have to disagree because while we don’t know from the letter for sure that there’s a need to take action, but we also don’t know enough to know there isn’t such a need. And the risk of not taking action when she should is too big to just ignore it.

          Reply
          1. fposte

            Yeah, I don’t think it has to be a level five investigation; you just start by saying this is disrupting the workplace and it needs to stop. I don’t need a full confession from him of exactly what he did, though if he says he was doing it on work time I’m probably going to consider taking more severe action than a knock-it-off conversation.

            Reply
          2. AlsoAnon

            I’m just flabbergasted that my suggestion that HR needs to at least know *who the person in question is* before initiating a sit-down *with their manager* is such a stopping point for you?? The letter blatantly says they aren’t even sure if it’s Fergus downstairs. This is why people hate HR.

            Yes, absolutely if someone came to OP directly saying they were receiving disturbing messages on social media from a specified coworker, despite having asked said coworker to stop… That’s actionable. Vague overheard water cooler talk is not.

            Also, how Snapchat works is an issue. You have to add someone on Snapchat and elect to view their content. And you can remove them if you find something objectionable. That’s how Snapchat works. We seem to understand this point easily around here when someone gets an online dating message they don’t like and wants to go harass the person at their employer. I don’t see how this is different. Except that OP has no complaint and isn’t sure who to even target.

            Reply
  25. That Would Be a Good Band Name

    Is it possible that he doesn’t even know that these other coworkers are looking at it? I’m not a big snapchat user, but it seems like it wouldn’t have been difficult to set up a profile that wasn’t tied to any of my real info. I was just on instagram and reminded that I actually follow a local business owner that does body building as a hobby and frequently posts semi-nudes. Could the employee be doing something like this and not even aware that some of his followers are coworkers?

    Reply
    1. Turquoise Cow

      Ha, I said something similar below. maybe the guy doesn’t even know that he’s the talk of the office!

      Reply
      1. addiez

        Regardless of whether it’s sent directly or posted for anyone to see, you can look to see who’s viewed it.

        Reply
        1. That Would Be a Good Band Name

          I’m assuming you can see the snapchat user name, but if you don’t know that cutiepie1234 is the same as Jane in marketing, then you still don’t know that your coworkers are viewing it.

          Reply
        2. kb

          But I think there’s likely overlap between people who don’t realize their privacy settings aren’t how they wanted them and people who don’t realize you can see who saw your stories.

          Reply
  26. Turquoise Cow

    I don’t use Snapchat, but is it possible that the nude coworker sent his nudes to a specific person, who then spread them around the workplace? The OP doesn’t know any details – like whether he sent them to a single person or as a public post – so maybe this is just a case of gossip gone wild.

    In either case, the OP should investigate. Talk to the Nude Guy first. Is he *intentionally* sending nudes to coworkers? Do said coworkers appreciate these photos? Maybe he sent the nude to someone who requested them – maybe they’re having or thinking about having a sexual relationship. It’s possible he doesn’t know the nudes are making their way around. If he did post it with the intention that *everyone* see it, that’s another conversation about work-appropriate behaviors.

    Either way, OP should talk to the guy.

    Reply
  27. always in email jail

    I posted this above in a reply to Alison, but didn’t see it mentioned anywhere else. I think everyone has the right to send what they want to who they want (barring someone has specifically asked them to stop). However, people should not knowingly be looking at and/or discussing nude images during work hours. To me the larger issue is those looking at and discussing the images, not the sender!

    Reply
  28. Fronzel Neekburm

    i think the key words here are “I think.” Seriously… if you don’t know and there’s a problem, your job is to find out first, then move on that information. You don’t know what they were laughing about, just “whispers.” I’m really tired of people acting on rumors like they’re 100% Gospel. Because not many people are going the other way: If you accuse this guy of sending nude snapchats during work hours and he isn’t, you get in trouble.

    Find out. Then act.

    Reply
  29. nonymous

    It sounds like HR may be able to address this in a 1-2-3 combo; (1) & (2) by having direct convos with the poster and audience, and (3) with a timely general training regarding professional norms and the issue of optics, for example when it is perceived in the framework of sexual harassment (among other transgressions).

    Office workers who aren’t customer facing still need to step up to org expectations of professionalism and affect. No one is policing their thoughts, but it is very reasonable to ask staff to clearly separate work from professional time (and vice versa!).

    Reply
  30. MsChanandlerBong

    This brings to mind the time my boss got fired for taking naked photos in the manager’s office at work. He got fired not so much for taking the photos, but for taking them with the corporate logo (for a corporation almost all of you are familiar with) visible in the background and then sending them to someone who told him she was a 16-year-old (it was not really a 16-year-old, nor was it a woman).

    Reply
      1. MsChanandlerBong

        No, it actually was a fellow employee who didn’t like the manager and was trying to catch him doing something wrong.

        Reply
  31. pahcad

    HR or his manager needs to remind the poster that what goes on the internet stays on the internet. You can’t rely on the privacy settings to protect yourself. Once the pictures are sent, you can’t get them back. Ask the revenge porn sufferers just how difficult it is to stop unwanted pictures. Those pictures may come back to haunt him at the worst possible moment. Please tell him to stop posting and/or sending the pictures.

    Reply
  32. MissGirl

    You don’t have a “liberal, laid-back” culture. That would imply one could wear flip-flops and refer openly to their same-sex partner without getting side-eye.

    What you have is an immature culture that needs to be addressed.

    Reply
  33. Shadow

    No disrespect to Alison’s advice but as an HR person you might want to look at an HR certification. Even thinking of letting it an issue like this go tells me that you aren’t aware or can’t recognize even the most basic issues this could cause for your employer. If you’re tasked with addressing or providing guidance on HR issues like these you need more HR training.

    Reply

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