update: an employee is out to get my star performer, and no one else cares

Remember the letter-writer who managed a star performer who was being targeted by a coworker and no one else in the company’s leadership cared? Here’s the update.

First, the best news! Tina earned a huge promotion to a different department a couple of weeks after you published my letter. She’s now an AVP for retail sales strategy. It came with a big raise, annual bonus, and an extra two weeks of PTO. I still chuckle when I think how much more money we are paying her than if we would have just given her the 5 on her performance review. I’m glad she’s out of our area though; this is a better fit where she can get a fresh start with new people. We still work on the same campus and get lunch together sometimes.

As for me, I hate to admit it but I’m having a much better time since Tina left. I no longer have to deal with Dave’s constant complaints and Jen has proven to be a competent colleague now that Tina is out of the picture. I’m trying to move on and foster a good (if cautious) working relationship with Jen.

Unfortunately Dave is still targeting Tina. A nasty rumor that she was fired started up right after she left. I was able to shut it down but shortly after that rumor was quashed, Tina let me know that Dave had suddenly tried to follow or connect with her on every social media account she had. She declined and blocked him but then kept getting a stranger every couple of days doing the same things. She believes it’s Dave and had to lock down all her social media accounts. I don’t know why he is still so weirdly fixated on her.

Before Tina’s promotion, Mike announced he was leaving for another company and introduced his replacement, “Maria.” In a weird way that made me feel better since if he’s had a foot out the door then his cavalier attitude makes more sense. Then in early March Hank the VP left quite suddenly with no one lined up in the role. The rumors are wild but I have no idea what happened.

Maria has a fierce, no-nonsense leadership style that’s helped the department improve drastically. Jen’s really taken to her as well and has put some distance between herself and Dave. I didn’t realize Jen was an analyst with Dave for eight years and was newly promoted just before Tina was transferred. She’s since learned she has to put managing Dave ahead of their prior friendship. Maria’s also helped me learn how to better navigate personality-based feedback and see my missteps. I passed on a lot of Dave’s complaints anonymously to Tina before I confirmed they were false. I rushed off to Tina with Jen’s feedback and didn’t take the time to understand the background. I’ve learned a lot and will do better going forward.

{ 364 comments… read them below }

      1. Zweisatz*

        Yup, this is still concerning and if I was Tina, it would stress me out.

        I hope she’s able to flourish in her new role and if not that she will leave this company in the dust.

        1. MusicWithRocksIn*

          Tina should go to HR. If Dave is stalking her on social media it is absolutely an HR matter.

          1. Velawciraptor*

            How does she demonstrate Dave is stalking her on social media? This suggestion keeps getting made throughout these comments, but the reality on the ground keeps getting ignored.

            Dave’s profiles made a request once on each platform and were promptly refused and blocked. The subsequent requests are coming from strangers (i.e. someone not identifiable as Dave). Yes Tina’s, LW’s, and everyone else’s gut says it’s Dave, but there’s no proof these requests are coming from him.

            HR isn’t going to launch an investigation into what IP address each of the strangers’ requests to Tina’s social media accounts are coming from. The police wouldn’t even do that with a similar situation (at least, based on more than a decade of experience as a public defender), and HR doesn’t have police resources.

            Sincerely, how does going to HR with “I have a bunch of requests from strangers on social media that my gut says are Dave, but I have no evidence that it is him” help Tina? Especially given the HR and management behavior to date, how does it not, in fact, backfire on her? Think the problem all the way through to the end. What does such a complaint with a paucity of evidence actually do?

            1. Plynn*

              THANK YOU. People are using the term ‘stalker’ too freely, and imagining there are repercussions that currently don’t exist.

            2. DyneinWalking*

              The effect of complaining to HR would be to establish the pattern.
              What can be proven is that Dave purposefully inserted an error into Tina’s work output and made further false accusations about her.
              That’s big all by itself.
              The stalking cannot be proven (or rather,no-one will bother to put in the work to do that), but in the context of everything else – the bullying and the attempt to contact her on every social media platform directly followed by an odd increase of stranger’s requests – makes it circumstantial evidence, in my eyes. It’s not enough by itself but it matches a pre-existing, provable pattern, and that changes the perspective.
              In context, the (presumed) stalking suggests that the issue between Tina and Dave is NOT over yet(!). Tina has good reasons to believe that Dave is continuing to target her, and to feel targeted by him.
              Even if everything that has already happened is not enough to act upon, HR needs to be on the lookout for future transgressions. What if Dave tries to sabotage her relationships with the new department and spreads false rumors over there? Or if he targets another employee who subsequently also reports that they started to be contacted by a lot more strangers on social media recently?
              If Tina (or LW) reports the issue now – even though there is no proof – that would make it a
              lot more likely for HR to take it seriously if another employee starts to have similar issues with Dave.

              1. goddessoftransitory*

                He’s already spreading rumors, or trying to; saying Tina was fired when she was promoted. He has some bizarre hate-on for Tina and he’s not dropping it.

                I agree that HR is not the police, but establishing this pattern is absolutely critical for Tina. Dave doesn’t sound like he’ll stop until he runs her off, and probably not even then.

            3. Andromeda*

              Any sane manager or org would see the possible development of a concerning pattern here — “just after X, Y and Z bad behaviours, Tina received a lot of unusual friend requests that we suspect are Dave. We have no proof of this, granted, but this is scary if it’s true.” Combined with the whole forging-mistakes-in-work thing, that’s got to be enough for someone to informally keep an eye out in case he escalates. And yes, if Dave’s the one making the fake accounts, he absolutely is beginning to stalk Tina.

              LW has a whole raft of context that makes innocuous or annoying-seeming things to others a Very Big Deal. She doesn’t need empirical proof to pull her boss or HR aside and voice some concerns, just like she wouldn’t need it for most other work-related issues.

              I think LW should talk to Maria, who sounds sensible, has at least some of the context that LW does, will know the right channels to go down and has more capital to spend on going to bat for Tina.

            4. Candi*

              It’s not a court of law. Not even civil court where it’s “preponderance of the evidence”.

              You lay out the facts. X happened with Dave and was targeted at Tina. Y, Z, L, and D also happened under similar circumstances, with Dave acting and targeting Tina.

              Dave targeted Tina’s social accounts. She blocked him. Then strangers began hassling her constantly. The previous actions by Dave show a cause and effect that may be applicable here.

              It’s about getting him in trouble now. It’s about getting it on record he does X and Y and targets B, and that he does it repeatedly and at the same person.

          2. AcademiaCat*

            What I want to know is why HR wasn’t involved in the first place? Like, back when he was harassing her and spreading a smear campaign in the office?

      2. Chauncy Gardener*

        THIS! What on earth is up with this guy?
        Do we think he asked her out at some point and she declined and we’ve all seen this movie before?
        And why on earth is still employed there? This company is a mess indeed.

        1. ferrina*

          Seriously. This feels like classic stalker ‘revenge’. It’s creepy af.
          Someone needs to give Dave a hard wake up call and make sure Tina is okay.

        2. Sarah M*

          That was definitely the movie I had in mind once I read that he was stalking her socials. WTH.

        3. A Willow in Her Hand*

          This was my first thought: he asked her out and got turned down, and he’s retaliating.

        4. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

          I was thinking this, but I would imagine Tina would have told OP if he had ever made romantic overtures. But I also really do not understand this level of fixation without some context of that kind.

      3. MassMatt*

        I agree, and IMO it’s likely there’s a personal issue behind it, beyond simply being jealous of Tina’s superior ability. I would wager Dave asked Tina out and was turned down, therefore Tina must be punished.

        The other managers seemed threatened by Tina, and added on a layer of misogyny to the “complaints” about her.

        1. Worldwalker*

          And what happens when Dave turns his focus to some ordinary employee, one who isn’t a star performer, just a run-of-the-mill worker without a manager willing to go to bat for her like this? The odds are that Tina isn’t the first person he’s targeted, and since his campaign has been so wildly successful, she certainly won’t be the last.

        2. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

          I mean, I agree that a rejected romantic overture would best explain his fixation, but I also feel like Tina would have told OP that context at some point.

      4. goddessoftransitory*

        My first thought was “so the liar who tried to get Tina fired is now stalking her? This isn’t that great, actually.”

        I mean, I’m glad Tina’s out of the direct line of fire, and there’s not a lot LW can do directly about Dave, but he clearly has one setting: Destroy. If I were the LW I would be brushing up my resume a lot, until it shone like crystal. Because until Dave is dismissed the rest of these changes are only going to go so far.

        1. Worldwalker*

          And the fact that the company is willing to tolerate Dave, instead of firing him over the altered report issue, tells me that isn’t anything like a good place to work.

    1. Dragon_Dreamer*

      I have to wonder if Dave is trying to get her fired so he can force her to date him. She loses her job, and while her self-worth is “destroyed”, he “rescues” her and isolates her.

      He’s an abuser.

      1. Jake*

        That’s a weird leap in logic. There is nothing in either letter indicating anything like this.

      2. JSPA*

        Look, anybody can wonder anything (despite the site ban on fan fiction). And I agree that his level of overt grossness suggests there could be additional depths of festering slime in his psyche.

        But jumping from “yeah, I can see that” to a bald statement of fact is a step too far.

        Yes, it’s deeply crappy when people are bizarrely, needlessly cut-throat about non-life-or-death stuff like work (or sports, or winning trivia contests, or whatever else). But dang, there are a lot of people who are situationally cut-throat. And more who are generally jerks. But they don’t all happen to be abusers. (And plenty of abusers make a point of being squeaky-clean and respectful at work.)

      3. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

        I think that seems unlikely. It certainly would not work since Tina knows very well that he is the one trying to get her fired. If anything, I would assume he hit on her and she rejected him and he cannot handle it. But I would imagine if that were the case, Tina would have told OP about it.

    2. TG*

      Totally my thoughts / thrilled for Tina but that David guy should still have been fired and the fact he wasn’t boggles my brain even after this – trying to then connect to all her social media and starting a rumor she was then FIRED? He’s a stalker and harassing her! Seriously and the face life is easier for you? I mean sure but because your leadership was psycho!! I’d have left by now….

  1. Mainly Lurking (UK)*

    I’m happy that Tina has a new role but I’m appalled that Dave still hasn’t been fired, especially now that his behaviour has escalated.

    1. Artemesia*

      This. Media stalking an employee and his previous harassment should have gotten him fired.

      1. ampersand*

        Exactly. Dave is stalking her. Let’s just call it what it is, and it’s obviously not okay.

    2. Siege*

      Tina should take a promotion right out if this Jess if a company, and I hope she drops a hammer on Dave, since apparently everyone else wants to pretend like he’s not a lying stalker with a chip in his shoulder.

      1. Siege*

        Nesting fail, spelling fails … I have no idea why my autocorrect is so bad specifically on this site.

    3. LW Tina's Boss*

      Well we have no proof he’s escalated his behaviors nor any evidence of bad behavior at work. Believe me I’m watching for that. The only definitive thing he did was try to friend and follow her on social media using his own profile once which isn’t a misbehavior. The rest is just suspicions.

      As for being fired, Maria actually addressed that in her first all hands meeting. Apparently Jen and Dave immediately warned Maria about Tina. I learned about this at the all hands meeting because she said “I’ve heard the complaints about unprofessional behavior” glanced at Tina “And I’ll be honest I don’t see it.” glanced at Jen. “It’s time to move on.” “That said, I’ve read some very interesting behaviors in employee files and performance reviews.” Glanced at Dan before addressing the crowd at large again “Let me be clear. I won’t be changing any past decisions but in my department liars get fired period end of story.” She was true to her word and fired someone recently for setting their clockin times to before their building badge times, abusing the system we have in place that lets staff adjust their clockin to account for computer login delays since we don’t have physical clock in stations.

      If Dave does anything dishonest that I can witness or prove I believe she will fire him but I don’t have anything but suspicions.

      1. Night Owl*

        Addressing that in an all hands meeting doesn’t sound very appropriate to me. That’s likely to only increase the rumors about Tina.

        1. Cody's Dad*

          Maria put it out there for everyone at once calling BS and she is not putting up with all this nonsense.

        2. JSPA*

          Eh, people who had no clue presumably continued to have no clue. (A glance isn’t a laser pointer.) People who knew the situation got a very, very, very clear message.

          And some people in Dan’s shoes would have had a “come to Jesus” moment around then. He seems less self aware than that, but ya never know. (Not holding my breath, but I guess it’s even possible that he wants to contact Tina to make ham-handed amends, or ask her not to torpedo him, like he tried to torpedo her.)

        3. Boof*

          Idk this particular way of doing it sounds like a masterful and efficient way for a new manager to put folks on notice without rehashing a bunch of things that happened before their time

        4. Mango Freak*

          If LW had just said “She addressed it in an all hands meeting,” sure. But LW gave more detail than that.

        5. Worldwalker*

          I don’t agree. It’s a matter of department policy—liars get fired—so announcing it to the department is appropriate. And clearly Dave has been sneaking around and going behind people’s backs again. Sunlight is a disinfectant for that kind of festering mess.

      2. Spero*

        your first paragraph- absolutely not. Offsite stalking and harassment of coworkers using social media can and should be covered in your office sexual harassment policy. If a boss raped his subordinate at an offsite apartment would you consider that irrelevant to their ongoing professional relationship and make him still be her manager? Absolutely not. Dave has been notified his continued contact with Tina is unwanted and yet persists. He has disparaged her to coworkers and was proven wrong (report change) and yet persists (firing rumor). He doesn’t get a pass on the social media part just because it’s not ‘at work.’ Inappropriate behavior TO A COWORKER that occurs both offsite and onsite is still inappropriate and relevant to workplace harassment.

        1. Lenora Rose*

          Trying to friend someone isn’t what would be called inappropriate, though. The context and the possible (not proven) sockpuppets make it creepy and borderline but there’s nothing actionable. He hasn’t done anything to her offsite or online.

          1. Ms. Murchison*

            Trying to friend a former coworker whom you’ve repeatedly lied about and undermined after they leave your sphere of influence is ABSOLUTELY inappropriate. Also, creepy.

            1. KTurtle*

              I think it’s also relevant that he tried to friend/follow her on *every* platform. Sending a friend request to a coworker on facebook is one thing. Sending *all* the friend requests on *all* the platforms to a coworker you have started trouble with/for in the past is a whole other thing.

      3. Pastor Petty Labelle*

        You don’t need to see the behavior at work. You don’t need to personally witness it. Dave is stalking another employee. Even if you don’t manage Tina anymore, Dave is stalking another employee. Dave is spreading rumors about another employee.

        Things are not better. They are just as bad if not worse. Dave is still allowed to get away with this behavior towards another employee. You are failing Tina and you are failing your company.

        Go directly to HR and discuss this with them. Stalking another employer and lying about this should be a zero tolerance thing.

        1. Pastor Petty Labelle*

          Liars gets fired but Dave is still there. Please shut this down IMMEDIATELY.

        1. Dusty Facsimile*

          Because as likely as it may appear, there’s no proof that the pseudonymous accounts are really him. The fabrication of the error should have been a firing offense — that there was proof for.

      4. Slow Gin Lizz*

        Ok, I guess Maria is waiting for Dave to do something dishonest while she is actually at the company, but has she addressed the past situation wherein he changed a report that Tina had created and pretended she had made a bunch of errors? Because that is firing territory right there, no matter how long ago it happened (I mean, maybe there’s a statute of limitations on that sort of thing but it does seem like it happened fairly recently).

        But here’s hoping Maria gets a reason to fire Dave soon and that it’s not because he does something terrible to Tina. Poor Tina, I really feel for her. I’m super glad for her that she got the big promotion she deserves, but it sounds like she’d be much better off somewhere else where she doesn’t have to deal with any Daves.

        1. Mango Freak*

          Maria said, “I won’t be changing any past decisions but in my department liars get fired period end of story.”

      5. Ms. Murchison*

        Dave is stalking Tina. He has taken his hostility outside of the workplace because he can no longer directly harass her in the workplace. This is insane and it needs to be escalated to HR and Maria IMMEDIATELY. It’s concerning that you can’t see the big red flag of escalation here. Tina is in danger.

  2. MaiJai*

    Dave’s behavior and escalation is so alarming that I wouldn’t personally feel safe working with him. It’s obsessive and stalker-y, and his refusing to move on is scary to hear about. He should’ve been fired AGES ago, at a minimum, with his picture handed out to security as well.

    1. Florp*

      If Maria is so no-nonsense, I bet she’d like to know that one of her reports is stalking a woman in another department. That’s the kind of thing that can blow up in a manager’s face…

        1. ferrina*

          It’s not clear if she does know. And if she’s as good as OP seems to think she is, she would definitely want to know about this.

          OP, say something. Even if you can’t prove it, say something. Maria has the resources to look into it and address it. And if I had a situation like this and learned that one of my managers knew about it and didn’t say anything, I would be having serious doubts about that manager.

          1. Kyrielle*

            Yes, OP. Go to Maria with something like, “Look, you should be aware of all the context here. X happened. Y happened. Z happened and we think it’s connected, but we have no proof of that, just intuition.” Just make it clear to her what the info is and what the *limits* of the info is, so she can be fully aware of what you know and suspect, *before* something else happens.

          2. Straight Laced Sue*

            Yes, OP, please say something to Maria. You don’t need proof of bad behaviour, you just need to pass on a concerning story. I feel so sorry for Tina. This is an awful situation.

      1. Aerin*

        Maria should know, and HR should be informed as well. Given his other behavior, it warrants immediate termination.

        1. Aerin*

          Also if that is to happen Tina should be warned and action should be taken to protect her from his inevitable retaliation.

      2. pope suburban*

        Agreed. I would also encourage Tina, were she my friend, to stay alert, document everything, and be willing to contact the authorities. A lot of times people feel that it’s too minor or it “only online,” and like…yeah, it is until it isn’t. Knowing that it is okay to seek professional help at a point is really important. Too many people have rug-swept things to their own detriment- and that’s not a judgment, I’ve heard all the excuses people make when we (because this happens more to women) do speak up, about how we’re being sensitive or we just need to be nicer/try harder/don’t be so intimidating or he just likes you. I know it’s not easy but that’s why I find it important to say that no, when someone is acting like Dave, it is actually totally okay to reach out to people who have the power to keep you safe.

        1. Chanel No. π*

          Yeah, like the bit in the original letter about the VP who said it wasn’t his place to get involved because it was a “personality clash”. Uh, no. “Clash” implies that Tina was striking back. It’s like teachers who send the bullied kid, not the bully/ies, to the office, because “Every time there’s a problem, it involves you!” And, like you said, it also implies that Tina is bringing it on herself by being so uptight. “They wouldn’t pick on you if you weren’t such an easy target!”

          1. Worldwalker*

            In grade school, I was that kid. I was a safe target, for exactly that reason. I see that happening here, too.

    2. FricketyFrack*

      That was my reaction – he’s scary and needs to go. It’s bananas that this has been allowed to continue. I’d be going to Maria and filling her in immediately because I seriously doubt he’s going to suddenly just become a reasonable, decent person, and if he can’t get to Tina, he’ll likely find another target.

    3. duinath*

      yep. this is not the kind of thing i would be comfortable letting go. the man is disturbed. even if he does move on, i wouldn’t be surprised if he fixated on someone else.

    4. Jenny Linsky*

      100% this. Given the history here he has no real alibi on the social media stuff (he can’t claim he just wanted to be friends or something like that). That should go to HR and he should be fired for this behavior.

    5. cldlz*

      He introduced errors in an important report to get her fired! He should have been let go months if not years ago. Dollars to donuts that he asked her out and she declined.

      1. Sherm*

        I would definitely apprise Maria about this. It’s not water under the bridge given that Dave still works there.

        1. Ally McBeal*

          Yeah she’s unwilling to reverse past decisions but no decision was ever made on this humongous lie (other than to ignore it). Definitely worth raising.

        2. goddessoftransitory*

          Yes: Maria cannot possibly be the effective manager she wants to be if she doesn’t know that one of her reports is fundamentally untrustworthy and willing to try to get someone fired through flat out lies and deceit.

    6. tinybutfierce*

      Yeah, his at-work behavior was enough, but repeatedly trying to violate the CLEAR boundaries she’s set on social media is a whoooole other GIANT alarm bell.

    1. pope suburban*

      Misogyny, and a culture that both fosters entitlement and avoids issuing consequences to Daves when they behave as he does.

        1. Angry Feminist Fed*

          Oof that hits. And is the scary part – if he hangs onto weird creepy grudges like this and is stalking an employee after she’s not on his team anymore, are there others? Who else has he done this to who hasn’t said anything, quit and taken a hit to her career because she didn’t feel as if she’d be believed or anything would come of it (because obviously nothing did when Tina complained)?

          Not a lawyer, but I feel this is approaching (or has done) the threshold for a true hostile work environment with sex discrimination, especially if there’s been another woman who Dave basically intimidated and harrassed out of her job.

    1. Professional_Lurker*

      Stalking is still really hard to get cops involved in — it’s hard to prove, because so much of it can seem innocuous without context (“oh, he left flowers on your doorstep? How scary!”); and besides, a lot of times the cops can’t or won’t do much without a restraining order (or even with one: see Castle Rock vs. Gonzales).

      1. Some People’s Children*

        I worked for a police department in a civilian unit. We had someone sending us flowers anonymously and were told there’s nothing we could do. After an employee left they stopped so we suspect they were directed at her, but, yes the prevailing reaction was “that’s nice” not it’s weird and potentially problematic.

      2. Sloanicota*

        Realistically it’s gonna be hard to get police attention on social media harassment, in which sock puppeting and repeatedly friending someone is sadly low on the scale. It’s possible she could do a little digging now, when he’s probably not being super careful, and prove the sock puppet accounts are coming from him, but that would just be an interesting factoid to tuck away at the moment – it’s not illegal.

      3. tinybutfierce*

        Yup. A friend of mine has been stalked and harassed online by her abusive ex for over a year; she has EXTENSIVE documentation of him creating dozens of new accounts, emails, phone numbers, etc.. She even filed for a restraining order and the cops essentially went “well, we don’t know where he is and we can’t find him, which means we can’t serve him papers, so oh well”.

    2. LW Tina's Boss*

      I talked to Tina about supporting her going to HR but what would we even say?

      On paper he tried to friend and connect with her on social media. So what?

      We both felt that going to HR about thinking he started the rumour and suspecting he maybe making profiles to connect with her with no proof would just look like retaliation for the report and performance review scuffle.

      For now Tina wants to let it lie and has controlled her social media and all I can do is watch for any provable bad behavior. So far Dave hasn’t been linked officially to anything actionable since the report incident.

      1. Michelle Smith*

        Please explain how any of that would look like retaliation. I genuinely don’t get it. The only person who has ever received any negative consequences whatsoever for anything has been Tina. Dave has been rewarded at every turn.

        1. LW Tina's Boss*

          You don’t think pointing the behavior at Dave for the rumour and the fact that she has randomn social media invites from people who aren’t Dave doesn’t seem like trying to tar him?

          All he has done was try to friend or follow her once with his profile. The rest is just our gut but there is no proof. For all I know someone else started the rumour and the other invites are unrelated.

          I have not gone to HR without Tina’s consent. She knows of he does anything at work we can tie back to him or even outside in person I’ve got her back but he hasn’t done anything actionable.

          1. NotARealManager*

            You’re not tarring him. He’s built the reputation himself. You can go to HR and definitely go to Maria and use what you said here. Something like “Dave has behaved in the following ways towards Tina in the past (list examples) and now the following odd things have also happened to Tina (list examples). These may not be Dave (IMO Jen and Sally are also likely culprits), but given what has happened in the recent past, we need to flag everything in the event it is or does become further retaliation against or a danger to Tina.”

            1. DyneinWalking*

              This is an excellent wording!

              And yes, LW, you should bring this up with HR. Even if they won’t act on the situation right now, if Dave tries anything in the future, they have the backstory already and will be primed to see it under that light. Otherwise, there’s a possibility that they get to hear Dave’s story first…

            2. HipsandMakers*

              Exactly this. HR is not a court of law. They can take the actual incidents where he attempted to undermine her (including when she left the team!), the odd incident of trying to friend her repeatedly on social media after she had left (using multiple platforms to make the request at the same time is not at all the same as making a single request on one), and make a reasonable inference that the new string of requests from strange accounts may be part of the same pattern.

              This is about protecting Tina and the firm from Dave’s actions, not protecting you and Tina from some theoretical accusation from future Dave. Dave created this situation.

          2. Pastor Petty Labelle*

            This is how guys like Dave keep getting away with it. Oh I said bad things about her so she is retaliating. That’s not how this works. You cannot let how Dave will react — which will be badly whether you act or not — dictate your response.

            Dave’s possible claims of retaliation cannot trump Tina’s right to not have lies told about her or be stalked.

            1. goddessoftransitory*

              I agree. Right now it’s framed like Dave is in charge of this situation.

              I don’t think HR is going to hoist Dave on his own petard right in the middle of the employee lounge if they’re informed, but they can’t do anything unless they receive a report about what he HAS done.

              These aren’t a series of one-offs. They are a pattern, and it isn’t wrong or paranoid to point that out.

          3. HonorBox*

            You’re not doing Dave any more of a disservice than not reporting anything is to Tina (or others). You’re creating a paper trail. The social media thing may not be enough. Nor is the potential that he started a rumor. But those things are potential evidence of bad behavior that could be compounded if others report similarly ugly behavior. Plus, he targeted her prior to her promotion – falsifying reports to make her look bad, misreporting things she said, dredging up years old mistakes that ultimately led to less money for her – that are ways he’s actively tried to harm her.

            These new things on their own probably aren’t enough to warrant any sort of discipline, but they’re continuation of some harassment of an employee of the company.

            1. EchoGirl*

              Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think OP’s concern is that it will negatively impact Tina’s reputation (unfair though that may be) if it comes off looking like she’s trying to “get Dave in trouble”. I’m not saying I agree 100% with the conclusion OP has come to, but I don’t think OP is doing what she’s doing out of concern for Dave.

          4. Irish Teacher.*

            You don’t think pointing the behavior at Dave for the rumour and the fact that she has randomn social media invites from people who aren’t Dave doesn’t seem like trying to tar him?

            Not given the context, no. And even without the context, “Dave tried to contact Tina of every social media account she has and when she didn’t respond, she started getting requests from strangers” would be grounds for reasonable suspicion. Perhaps not proof, but certainly, it would be weird to think that was an attempt to “tar him” rather than reporting a reasonable concern.

            Given the context, I think any reasonable manager would be concerned for Tina.

            And it would really only be retaliation if she had been the one previously targetting him. Somebody reporting a concern with somebody whose behaviour was previously a concern isn’t retaliation.

            1. Irish Teacher.*

              And look at the responses here. Out of all of them, there is exactly one response that doubts your word. And we don’t even know you. Given the context and the fact that Maria already seems to be suspicious of Dave, she should be less likely to doubt you than strangers would be.

          5. zuzu*

            All he has done was try to friend or follow her once with his profile.

            I’m not sure I agree with your police work there. Here’s what you said in your post, emphasis mine:

            Unfortunately Dave is still targeting Tina. A nasty rumor that she was fired started up right after she left. I was able to shut it down but shortly after that rumor was quashed, Tina let me know that Dave had suddenly tried to follow or connect with her on every social media account she had. She declined and blocked him but then kept getting a stranger every couple of days doing the same things. She believes it’s Dave and had to lock down all her social media accounts. I don’t know why he is still so weirdly fixated on her.

            Let’s take a look at what has actually happened:

            1) Rumor starts up about Tina getting fired;
            2) You quash it shortly after;
            3) Shortly after that, Dave just happens to follow or tries to connect with Tina on “all” her social media accounts (how many is that? You don’t say);
            4) Which results in Tina deleting and blocking him from “all” her accounts;
            5) Which leads to some strangers mysteriously just happening to very quickly after the deleting and blocking of Dave to make the same follow/connect requests on the very same accounts of Tina’s;
            6) Which leads to Tina taking all of her accounts private.

            You yourself are characterizing this sequence of events as Dave being obsessed with Tina, starting a rumor about Tina, Dave harassing Tina, but you somehow state that this is Dave only ONCE contacting Tina on social media under his own accounts?

            Hon, it’s at least once PER social media account. However many accounts Tina has, that’s the number of times he harassed her under his own name. And the rest of that sequence is pretty darn suspicious, no?

            So maybe you take your suspicions to Maria, along with the screenshots from Tina’s MULTIPLE accounts, your own accounts of having to quash the rumor that Tina got fired, the timing of it all, your suspicions (and Tina’s) that Dave is harassing her, and let Maria decide what to do? You give her the facts and let her decide if it’s enough to do something about an employee who should have been given the boot long ago and is frankly a lawsuit waiting to happen.

            1. Aerin*

              Also, having to take her accounts private is not a small thing. She’s again the one experiencing consequences for his behavior.

          6. Aerin*

            Bombarding her with friend requests on social media when she already blocked him on his personal accounts is STALKING. It’s not a minor thing, and it is 100% actionable all by its lonesome.

            It’s not tarring him to point out his actions. You have no obligation to save him from the consequences of his harassment.

          7. Name Required**

            OP, why are so concerned with Dave and what happens to him here, and why are you so unwilling to put Dave’s actions in prior context, which were very clearly mendacious, relentless, targeted harassment of Tina? You are responding as if trying to befriend her on social media is an action just out of the blue, without a whole troubling history behind it.

            I’m sorry, you say that you’ve learnt from past mistakes in dealing with Tina and not taking a strong enough stand, but it’s hard to see you really supporting her here when you are so willing and eager to carry water for Dave.

          8. Boof*

            I get what you’re saying and as someone who once had a major online stalker it’d probably be impossible to get the police to care; hr may or may not care, but it might be good to create a paper trail – maybe don’t demand action now just a “these are my concerns and i’d like it on record in case something escalates; i am doing my best to avoid them” especially if dave actually does this to multiple people

          9. Jake*

            When he’s been demonstrably and provably dishonest in the past… No, I don’t think it looks like tarring. You have an ethical obligation regardless of your discussions with Tina. Your perspective has been so warped by this situation that you aren’t seeing things that are dangerous and wildly inappropriate as anything more than suspicious. Please do the right thing.

      2. NotARealManager*

        You can go to HR or at least Maria because the potential rumor starting and social media stalking don’t exist in a vacuum. They’re part of a worrying overall pattern of behavior towards Tina. Even if nothing comes of it now, HR has it documented for when he inevitably does something actionable. And if Maria doesn’t already know about Dave falsifying reports and Jen and Sally’s prior actions towards Tina, she needs that context too.

        1. Aerin*

          I frankly wouldn’t be surprised if HR already had some reports of Dave doing stuff that was not quite actionable. You get it on their radar so they can build a case if (when) the behavior continues.

        2. HonorBox*

          This. I think Maria is a better place to raise this than HR actually. If for no other reason than to ensure she’s aware that Dave has done some very underhanded things to Tina and now that she’s in a different department, Dave has made her at least a little uncomfortable with the attempted connections on social. She needs all of the history related to Dave so she can be aware of other actions that might, on their own, just seem odd, but when put into the pot with the rest of the ingredients make for one nasty soup.

        3. DyneinWalking*

          Exactly! As Alison so often points our, patterns are important. A lot off odd or just plain wrong-but-not-egregious behaviors or fine if they are a one-off, and a fireable offense if they are a pattern. (Think: coming in late, ignoring a coworker, not checking work email, missing a(n unimportant) deadline…)

          What’s important is often the sum of behaviors – and to get the sum right, you need to add up everything. Even the small and insignificant things, because if there are a lot of them they add up to a lot.
          Ever been surprised by your grocery bill for individually inexpensive items? Saying “this behavior is individually too unimportant to note” is like saying “the flour and pasta and salt and potatoes and […] didn’t cost much so it doesn’t makes sense to list them when explaining why my grocery bill is so high”.

          The best way to explain how seemingly little things add up to a lot is to list ALL of them.

      3. Typing All The Time*

        Tina should take screenshots of the times he’s sent invites or follows to connect with her. If she’s on IG, she can set her account as private and he’d have to be approved by her to connect.

      4. Csethiro Ceredin*

        I think in the context of the very targeted attacks on her before, and his willingness to use underhanded methods, HR should care very much about the situation, even if they can’t prove the stalking.

        It’s truly bizarre that he has suffered no consequences and this is why he clearly feels safe to act with such impunity.

          1. Monkey Princess*

            It’s very easy for people to normalize toxic situations, and I think you’ve been in a toxic situation for so long that you’re not seeing things clearly… this is not your fault, it’s what we as humans do to get through the day.

            But EVERY SINGLE PERSON here is telling you to take this to HR yesterday, and please, please listen. Just send them these links, and say that they’re from you. This isn’t a safe situation for Tina.

            1. Octo*

              Yes. Just because it’s our normal doesn’t mean that it’s actually normal. Tina’s boss, please dear god escalate this.

            2. Ms. Murchison*


              LW has been sitting in the slowly heating water of people excusing this guy for so long that they can’t see how twisted and wrong this is. And Tina may be telling you not to go to HR because of this company’s history of excusing Dave’s behavior and retaliating against her. She may believe she’ll lose her job if she reports it and no one in HR takes this stalking seriously; look at you, by your account you’ve been her best advocate and you don’t take his stalking seriously either.

          2. Observer*

            Maybe you should read The Gift of Fear by Gaviin DeBecker (skip his chapter on DV, which he’s walked back and is not really relevant here.)

            A major thing he point out is that we don’t need absolute proof to draw *reasonable* conclusions. And we have no obligation. legal, moral, ethical or common sense, to ignore both past behavior and time lines. The history and time line here paint a very suggestive picture. The fact that you insist on filtering that out is not wise.

            PS I don’t know if I agree with the posters who believe that he’s a physical threat. (But I also don’t know that I disagree with them!) But the core tenet of DeBecker’s work is very, very relevant here. Sure, jumping to major conclusions over every. single. thing. is unhelpful. But ignoring strong signals is just a really, really bad idea that is not anchored in reality or ethics.

          3. Csethiro Ceredin*

            Yes, but given his trying to frame her and get her in trouble before, and all his past targeting of her, if I were his/her manager or HR I would want to at least know about it.

            If he were just a random colleague trying to friend her I wouldn’t see it as an issue.

          4. jasmine*

            But you’re saying he did this on every social media account she had. So it’s not just once, but it’s once per account

          5. Lils*

            LW, I don’t mean to be harsh, but you seem to be *bending over backwards* to find a reason not to report this. Please, please alert HR and Maria to this situation immediately. It’s not a court of law, you don’t need proof. Someone needs to talk to this guy, like yesterday–*his behavior is scaring people and it needs to stop.* His intentions DO NOT MATTER.

          6. Name Required**

            OP, I’m sorry, but it’s really concerning that you keep repeating this like a) it was no big deal that he did it even once (it was, it was weird and alarming given the background of his actions), and that b) since his name isn’t engraved in stone on all other disturbing happenings, welp, whaddya gonna do, amirite?
            You yourself talk about patterns here. You are not presenting criminal evidence in a court of law. You are making HR aware of a long history of disturbing behavior by an employee who, quite frankly, sounds unhinged. The rest is up to them.

            You admit to not having dealt with the situation appropriately previously, but your attitude here is extremely passive and a little hard to understand. Please take in the reactions of the commentators who are all telling you the same thing.

      5. Over my head in bananas*

        Have you talked to Maria about this? If she’s as great as you say, maybe she’d finally impose some consequences on Dave. It sounds like everyone else in the company has just been letting him get away with murder so their own lives are easier.

      6. Observer*

        On paper he tried to friend and connect with her on social media. So what?

        Given his history, even the first request was out of line. the fact that he did it on *every* platform she’s on? That’s even more weird. The fact that she had to lock down all of her accounts because of a sudden spate of “strange” guys trying to comet is a huge red flag. She doesn’t need sufficient proof to convict in a court of law, for HR and Maria to take this seriously. There is enough here to for them to follow up on this.

        We both felt that going to HR about thinking he started the rumour and suspecting he maybe making profiles to connect with her with no proof would just look like retaliation for the report and performance review scuffle.

        I’m sorry, this makes no sense. You are not doing her any favors by encouraging this kind of thinking. The idea that only suspicions for which you have 100% proof can be brought to management is absolutely toxic. And the idea that saying “Someone started a really nasty and totally untrue rumor about me, and I think that this person who lied about me and tried to sabotage my work did it” is inappropriate “retaliation” would be funny if it weren’t to outrageous.

        Also, what happened with the reports and review was not just a “scuffle”! Please don’t use language that minimizes this as just a somewhat stronger than usual clash in the office.

      7. cldlz*

        Each objectionable behaviour doesn’t exist in a vacuum.
        Dave so far has :
        – Falsified a report to try and frame Tina – and Tina has receipts
        – Overall fostered a climate of hostility around Tina
        – More specifically, launched a rumor about her that can be traced back to him
        – Stalked her online
        Each one of those would be ground for some serious talk with the HR. As a whole, it’s extremely alarming, and the HR absolutely need to know.

        1. LW Tina's Boss*

          I could not trace the rumour back to Dave. If I was able to prove it was him Maria would have fired him.

          The rumour existed, I shut it down, but I was never able to trace it to the source. I should have made it clearer that I suspected it was Dave. I was trying to be brief.

          1. cldlz*

            I understand that you lack proofs, and that Tina herself is wary, but I wouln’t wait until I had a smoking gun. This is still a worrying pattern.

          2. Jake*

            This is only tangentially relevant. One small piece of a much bigger pattern of behavior. You DON’T need a smoking gun to inform HR that you have a major problem in the company. You just need to provide them with the evidence, as circumstantial as it may be. Once you’ve done that, at least you’ve fulfilled your ethical and moral obligation as a decent person. Reasonable people aren’t going to expect you to torch the company to the ground trying to figure out how to protect Tina, but ALL reasonable people will expect you to escalate the evidence to the people who are paid to deal with this stuff. That’s the bare minimum, and you need to do it.

      8. Gemstones*

        Why isn’t the report issue enough to fire him over? If someone got fired for lying about their clock in time…lying to make a coworker look bad seems firable.

        1. LW Tina's Boss*

          Maria made the call not to overturn any past decisions. If she had been the manager when it happened Dave would probably have been fired.

    3. CzechMate*

      Whenever my partner and I hear about things like this, we sing “Call the police, call the police” to the old KitKat “Gimme a Break” jingle, i.e. “Call the police, call the police, call the police before s*** gets worse.”

      But yes, in all seriousness, that’s not okay and it needs to be escalated asap.

        1. Sloanicota*

          Yeah sadly this is one of those times the commentariat isn’t going to be useful. We all hate to see injustice but this is just not going to rise to the level of calling the police yet.

        2. Observer*

          Yeah, sending someone social media requests is not really “stalking.”

          In the legal sense? No. But the repeated phony requests are certainly stalking adjacent, as used in the vernacular. And that’s what HR / Mario should be looking at.

          We, rightly, have different standards for when Police/ The State gets involved in behavior than for when private individuals and companies take action.

          I doubt that there is anything for the police her. But for the employer? Yes.

      1. tinybutfierce*

        As someone who’s currently watching a friend have to deal with being stalked and harassed by an abusive ex with absolutely no help from law enforvecment, 100% this.

        To paraphrase something I’ve read elsewhere: they don’t care how many times someone’s threatened to harm you, they only care when they actually do (and often not even then).

        1. Person from the Resume*

          Trying to friend someone on social media isn’t even trying to harm them, though.

          Tina’s right; it probably is Dave but the police will not investigate anything this vague. Dave is not even using his name on the accounts any longer.

    4. Person from the Resume*

      Let’s not be unrealistic about how the world works.

      Tina let me know that Dave had suddenly tried to follow or connect with her on every social media account she had. She declined and blocked him but then kept getting a stranger every couple of days doing the same things. She believes it’s Dave and had to lock down all her social media accounts.

      (1) He tried to connect with a former colleague on multiple socials after she left the department. That’s not evidence of stalking. He gave up after one try.

      (2) Now every few days someone she doesn’t know is trying to connect with her on multiple social media sites. There’s no proof that’s Dave. The police are not going to investigate attempts to connect on social media. HR can’t act on this or don’t have resources to investigate and prove that it’s Dave doing it.

      Yeah, it’s is most likely Dave who is strangely fixated on Tina and she needs to watch out for him. But so far he’s done nothing provable that will get the police involved.

      He should have been fired for falsifying and report and blaming Tina, but since the company let that go they are not going to fire him because there’s no proof of this latest harassments.

        1. LW Tina's Boss*

          No he did. Person is completely correct. He reached out with his profile once and only once.

          Then Tina started getting strangers requesting across her platform.

          If Dave had kept repeatedly asking from his profiles then I would of course report that but he didn’t.

          1. Dara*

            You are not trying to act as the prosecuting attorney in a court of law where there is an opposing counsel that you have to go toe to toe with. You have noticed a worrying pattern of behaviour and justified suspicious that you can document and bring to HR with a ‘this is what I have noticed and It Is Concerning.’ You do NOT have to have something airtight in order to bring it to HR’s attention.

          2. zuzu*

            You keep saying “once.”

            It’s not once. It may have been one time per platform, but each instance on each platform is a separate incident. Just because he spammed all her accounts simultaneously doesn’t mean that the cumulative contact counts as one incident.

            You really, really need to see this for what it is: a sustained campaign of harassment that warrants a hell of a lot more concern than what you’re giving it. You already have documentation of this guy’s bad behavior. This kind of spamming of her accounts is of a piece with that past behavior – he’s letting her know that if she puts herself out of his reach at work, he knows how to reach her out of work. Put a stop to this now.

          3. Jake*

            Look, calling the police and informing HR are not equivalent. You have a moral obligation to call HR. If you don’t, you have no business being a manager of anybody. Please, please sleep on this and think about the fact that 95% of the conversation on here is BEGGING you to contact HR.

            If you don’t want to call the police, then don’t. I wouldn’t.

      1. jasmine*

        You don’t need proof to go to HR. It’s HR’s job to look into things or tell you something doesn’t warrant investigation. A competent HR isn’t going to judge a concerned employee.

        LW mentioned retaliation, but retaliation is when you try to punish someone for reporting something to HR. Dave never made a report to HR, that LW or Tina knows of. And even if he did, I don’t think talking to HR classifies as retaliation. Again, it’s on HR to take care of the action, you just share the information you have.

      2. Smithy*

        Yeah, I genuinely understand the desire to elevate these concerns to Maria because in the context of these letters it is both concerning and disappointing. However, if Tina wants to continue working with this employer and has found a means to do so that she feels good about – this repeated escalation to HR and Maria would realistically make that harder.

        Already this employer has shown some dysfunction with the decision making by Dave and Hank. But I think the bigger reality for most of us, is that often we need to find “livable” options. As a reader, yes, I think Dave should be let go. But I’ve felt that way about a number of people I’ve worked with who’ve behaved at ways at work I found to be worthy of that and then not seen that happen. And so there comes a point where you personally make peace with what it means to stay and what it means to go.

        If I were talking to Tina, I’d still talk about how it might be best to just stay with this promotion for no more than a year. Have the promotion on the resume, and then get out of a workplace that won’t protect you. But I’ve known plenty of Tina’s who really want to stay where they are for all sorts of reasons. And none of them find the way to do that by regularly reporting their coworkers. No matter how warranted.

      3. David Rose*

        THANK YOU. I wish we all lived in the world of, like, r/pettyrevenge where everything is actionable and everyone sees the whole story and the good guy wins, but, in reality we need to be realistic about how other people will see things without full context.

        1. subaru outback driver*

          I wouldn’t want to live in that world. Everyone loves pettiness until someone is petty to them.

  3. Pool Noodle Barnacle Pen0s*

    “She believes it’s Dave and had to lock down all her social media accounts. I don’t know why he is still so weirdly fixated on her.”

    Someone needs to find out and put a stop to it, or this is going to mushroom into a big, ugly legal problem for OP’s company. Dave is dangerous. It’s pretty unbelievable that he still has a job there after all this.

    1. Kitano*

      Plus, who knows if Tina’s the only person Dave’s been gross to. Maybe there are other victims of his bad behavior who didn’t have Tina’s star power and confidence to call him out? It would be even weirder for a normally pleasant guy to turn into a vindictive stalker than for a quietly awful guy good at covering his track to get enraged at someone who bites back at his nonsense.

      1. Glazed Donut*

        Yes – and maybe Tina is the only one right now, but that’s not to say he won’t switch to a different person when he loses access to Tina. If he has a history of this behavior, it should at least be documented somewhere and Dave’s manager should be aware for future hires in order to check in, if needed.

      2. Lils*

        Spoiler alert: there is exactly 0% chance Dave hasn’t also been gross to other people too. He’s been practicing on people with less power and visibility than Tina and LW for years.

    2. Ginger Cat Lady*

      You don’t need to know WHY in order to act to put a stop to it.
      In fact, I’d say it’s a good thing you don’t understand that kind of behavior, because it’s completely inappropriate.

      1. ferrina*


        At the end of the day, the Why is less important than Making It Stop. There’s no way that Dave doesn’t know that what he’s doing is inappropriate, and he’s choosing to do it anyways. He’s an adult and he’s making decisions about how he treats people, namely Tina. Actions should have consequences. Let him face that.

      2. Chanel No. π*

        And it kind of implies that if Tina knew “why”, she could (should?) change her behavior so as not to provoke Dave.

    3. The Leanansidhe*

      I agree. I see a lot of people pointing out that this isn’t the sort of repeated contact that the police could look into as stalking/harassment. But surely, there has to be a different standard for “legal action will be taken” from “this should be flagged for our boss.”

    1. Professional_Lurker*

      Ms. Elaneous had a great line on yesterday’s post — “Management everywhere needs to stop mistaking quiet for peace.”

      Things may be better for OP, but they might very well be getting scarier for Tina.

        1. Irish Teacher.*

          Dave is a whole missing staircase and people are using parachutes to get down rather than dealing with him.

          1. goddessoftransitory*

            Dave is one of those scary as hell staircases to nowhere that are found in the New England woods.

    2. Stipes*

      He introduced a purposeful error to a report in order to lie and claim it was a rival’s mistake, and he is still around! Every day that continues to be true is another huge failure in judgement by the company as an institution. OP, if you feel like things are going well now, your perspective is skewed by your workplace.

      1. ferrina*


        This isn’t a good outcome. It’s less bad than the first letter, but that isn’t the same as good.

      2. Sarah M*

        Seriously. That is a textbook example of a firing offense. It doesn’t get any clearer than that.

  4. Professional_Lurker*

    Holy cow, OP, report Dave to Maria. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.

    Give her the whole history — the lying, the fabricating the error in the report, the rumor — and that he still appears to be intent on stalking a/o harassing her. He has clearly indicated that this isn’t over, and Tina needs people in her corner.

    1. Laser99*

      100% agree. Any time a smart, successful woman is flourishing, there are people lined up to take her down.

  5. HonorBox*

    Dave’s behavior is potentially criminal, and I’d hope that some information can flow up to Maria to let her know what has happened and what continues to happen. Between falsifying reports to stalking a coworker, he’s putting the company at risk and that needs to be dealt with.

    1. New Jack Karyn*

      I’m not sure he’s breaking any laws. He’s not calling her or going by her home. He’s not threatening her or messaging her. At the most, he’s making sockpuppet accounts and trying to connect on social media. That might violate the terms of service, but it probably doesn’t violate the law.

  6. Stuart Foote*

    Going from school, working a seemingly entry level position (based on how many layers of management were involved) for a couple years, to AVP is quite the jump, especially given that Tina’s entire management chain of command besides the LW either didn’t like her or were indifferent towards her. Remarkable that Dave is able to stalk a AVP but no one seems to care, even though presumably Tina wields a good bit of influence now.

    I’m a little skeptical of this one. Seems like someone might be wanting to exercise their creative writing muscles.

    1. Silver Robin*

      This against the spirit and rules of the site. We take LWs at their word and Alison has been really clear about her stance on veracity multiple times.

      1. Jane Anonsten*

        Yeah, this is the commenter who refused to believe the “people are asking out my chat bot” LW was real even after multiple people confirmed this is a real thing that occurs. They’re a troll.

    2. Enough*

      And don’t forget that titles can be very unique to a company and entry level doesn’t mean never worked anywhere before. It just means it’s the lowest level at this company/location.

    3. HonorBox*

      I hate that I’m even replying to this, but we are to trust what the LW is writing and take them at their word. Their place of employment is not your place of employment so why do you need to be skeptical? Your comment is not the least bit helpful.

    4. Parenthesis Guy*

      Could be investment banking. AVP would be arguably the next step up from an Associate.

    5. learnedthehardway*

      In some industries, titles are very inflated. It’s not unusual in client-facing financial services industries, for example, for there to be one set of titles for the client-facing people, and another internal set.

      1. LW Tina's Boss*

        Yes! Ha. I have no idea what’s happening many of my replies are taking hours to appear or just not showing up so sadly many of my answers aren’t there. I guess my internet is terrible today.

        But it’s a bank and everyone above a certain pay grade is an AVP. Tina did get a sizeable bump of 3 steps but as a college level grad her entry level is still a decent high pay grade.

        1. I should really pick a name*

          If your comment disappears, it’s probably gone into moderation, and that can take some time.

  7. Yup*

    I mean, that’s great and all, but Tina has a stalker targeting her work and personal life and spreading rumours, and honestly I don’t see how this isn’t written in big,red flags and alarm bells.

    1. Hannah Lee*

      And her stalker has demonstrated that he’s not opposed to messing with company documents for whatever reason, falsifying reports, making unauthorized changes.

      Why is this person still employed there?

  8. Ellis Bell*

    There is positive stuff here, but it’s a bit like a watering can on a five alarm fire. Maria’s leadership advice sounds great, but unless she’s also gathering together information about the stalking and preparing to fire Dave… I’d still be slightly underwhelmed by the change in management.

  9. bamcheeks*

    Dave is very bad vibes, and it’s extremely concerning that *everyone* including LW seems to be taking this as, “huh, what a weirdo, guess there’s nothing actionable here though!”

    1. Yossariana*

      Right? The passive approach is contributing to the problem by normalizing the behavior and letting it persist, and acting like the update is an improvement and everything’s fine now.

      LW sees no sign Dave has escalated his behavior?? First, no escalation needed in order for him to be fired. He falsified information in someone else’s work to try to frame them and get THEM fired. Now he’s stalking the victim and spread rumors that she was fired. What would it take for OP to see an actionable problem?

  10. Over my head in bananas*

    This… isn’t a positive update.

    Dave is now stalking Tina, who still works on the same campus as he does. He and his minion Jen never faced any consequences for their behavior. And the major point that OP seems to have taken away from this is that having bullying victims leave makes her life easier.


    1. Dust Bunny*

      OK, I’m glad I’m not the only one who was thinking that. The vibe here is way more “whew, glad I don’t have to be responsible for this any more” than “I muffed it and should have handled it in X, Y, Z ways. Oh, and I’m reporting Dave.”

      1. Awkwardness*

        Thanks for putting this into words.
        Even though on the surface everything turned out well for Tina, I could not exactly describe what was bothering me.
        I’m a bit sad now.

    2. Jane Anonsten*

      Yeah, Jen’s distance from Dave seems to be just that now she’s ignoring him from further away. This is not a good update.

    3. Sloanicota*

      Yeah, OP lost a former star performer who previously carried a lot of water for their department but they’re fine with that because it makes dealing with their bozo coworkers easier. Bees, there’s bees in the house.

    4. I'm the Phoebe in Any Group*

      Thank you. That was my gut reaction to the post. OP, if you are reading the comments, are you willing to do some introspection?

    5. goddessoftransitory*

      It’s also very disturbing, along with everything else here, that the place of employ is apparently a bank. A BANK EMPLOYEE is falsifying records; if he’s willing to do that to get someone fired for being good at their job, what other records is he falsifying?

      Your employers cannot be persuaded that Dave is a bad look for them, LW, but I promise you a potential embezzler is a far, far worse one.

  11. Observer*

    As for me, I hate to admit it but I’m having a much better time since Tina left.

    I’m sure that’s true. But I’m dismayed that you are looking at it through that lens. Because that ties the issue to Tina, which is not fair to her. Also, it’s not wise because you are still dealing with two people who are seriously problematic.

    Now, I hope that Jen’s improvement is real and sticks, but I would still be cautious around her, given her past really bad judgement. It’s not just that she was too close to Dave – it’s just how overboard she went in targeting Tina just because he had an issue with her, and how ridiculously she protected him from deeply unethical behavior. That potentially speaks to a real lack of integrity.

    As for Dave? He’s trouble, even though has stopped complaining to you *for now*. You have no idea what he’s likely to do next. The only thing you could be sure of is that whatever it is, it’s likely to be poison. So, you really, really need to watch your back.

    Also, others are right – you should report what you know about Dave’s harassment to HR and Maria and encourage Tina to do the same.

    1. Sloanicota*

      I also wondered what happened to that workload and the extra benefits Tina was providing in the previous letter. I guess OP just lost out on those?

    2. LW Tina's Boss*

      Some things are way slower without Tina for sure. She very kindly shared some BAT files with me and showed me how to use Task Scheduler to automatically run them so the data extracts from the legacy systems of the acquired companies are still smcoming to our server. The analysis is behind, the prestigious VP report is a mess every month but now there isn’t even a VP to report it too.

      It felt pretty to complain about these things. I tried to focus on what I learned to do better and how the department is looking up since Maria. I’m definitely cautiously optimistic about Jen like I said in my letter. Aside from the Tina debacle Jen is showing good judgement. My perspective is that, as a former friend of Dave’s, she rushed to defend him as this was the first time he had ever been caught doing anything like that and they had worked together aong time.

  12. Aggretsuko*

    I’m glad Tina got away (though apparently not enough away), but it made me said to read that life is easier without her because everyone else is so happy to not have her around. Oh yeah, and that Dave is still stalking her and everyone’s okay with that. Yikes.

    1. Sloanicota*

      This is so often true for people who are going through a hard time. They get blamed for bringing it up and being the source of drama, creating problems, and not being able to smooth things over – even though they are the victim who did nothing wrong. I have definitely declined to report things for fear of this happening and it sucks.

      1. Aggretsuko*

        Yes, that’s been my experience as well, especially for my work stalker. I’m lucky mine backed off once she won and I was gotten rid of. I didn’t report until she screamed at me in public and I had no choice about it.

      2. Laser99*

        That’s how I read it. Tina likely hasn’t made a stink about Dave for fear of being labeled as a “drama queen”.

    2. Part time lab tech*

      I disagree that everyone is happy because Tina is gone. They’re happier because Dave isn’t punishing anyone who sticks up for Tina. That’s what abusers do. They punish anyone who supports the target. They can be strangely and effectively vindictive. Almost fallen in hate brain chemistry combined with being reasonable to other people.
      I personally think reporting the pattern to HR is important and also specifically asking them not to talk to Dave unless there is proof. The main reason not to talk to Dave is that any contact can feed the obsession.

  13. Kitano*

    Could Dave ever be able to access Tina’s personal info via work servers? It sounds like he’s taken her excellence as a personal insult to his intelligence and is now hellbent on destroying her to prove he was right all along. He really needs to be fired, and you should tell Tina to document every time this happens and file for a restraining order. This behavior is the start of a potentially homicidal cycle from Dave and Tina needs to be protected.

    1. Catherine*

      As someone who has been stalked in the past, what Dave is doing doesn’t escalate to the level that most law enforcement would take seriously. In my case an ex making dozens of burner accounts to evade blocks and continue reaching out to me was treated as nuisance behavior rather than the scary and threatening activity I experienced it as.

  14. Dust Bunny*

    I feel like this just got passed along rather than resolved. The OP got the management problems solved without having to manage them. I don’t get the feeling that the OP understands what a hot mess this workplace is, either, just that she’s glad she doesn’t have to deal with Dave and Jen acting out so much.

    Dave is a massive creep and somebody needs to make a huge stink about him to Maria and possibly the police.

  15. Ashley*

    So glad everyone else in this comment section is also going “for the love of God, get rid of Dave” because jfc the red flags are turning into full fledged banners. I get that the social media stuff from strangers is likely hard to prove as him but everything else is verified and pretty damn concerning.

  16. What about Sally*

    Any explanation on Tina’s former manager Sally, and why she gave Tina a 1/5. Was she also connected to Dave?

    1. LW Tina's Boss*

      She was not. She is in a different state and department since summer 2023. She doesn’t manage anyone in our department since 2023 and our departments don’t intersect. I only had to deal with her on the performance review because she managed Tina for a few months in 2023.

      Best I can tell, and this is pure conjecture, her dislike of Tina was based off of two things. 1) Tina was very forward in two meetings in 2022. Her manager at the time addressed it and Like I said in my original letter Tina’s behavior their improved drastically. I did some digging and Jen and Sally both were very insulted by Tina’s behavior personally.

      2) The first week on Sally’s team Tina uncovered a process error that was resulting in millions of dollars not being worked correctly or following the strategy for collections. This was something Sally should have found even if the error started way before her. I believe that embarrassed Sally and that is why she disliked her so strong but who knows. Dan’s behavior started up after Sally so if anything I think Dave saw an opportunity to tear down a star performer who threatened his status in the department. As the Sr analyst apparently everyone use to go to him but they quickly started going to Tina.

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        LW, I am begging you, no sarcasm; look for another job. This is beyond a bee’s nest, it is the Winchester Mansion of murder hornets. Sally got caught out not doing a part of her job that could have cost the company millions and her immediate reaction was to shoot the messenger, and that seems to be the go-to tactic for every problem here.

      2. DyneinWalking*

        Apart from the bullying from Dave and the likely stalking, should definitely also mention part 2) to HR…

        The company might want to know that they have employees that will tear down a coworker for doing a good(!) job that massively benefited the company.

        Because this means that this isn’t exactly a personal dislike – it’s a dislike for someone being good. Which means that this absolutely can happen again to another good hire in the department.

  17. Csethiro Ceredin*

    Hopefully Maria is no-nonsense enough to talk to leadership and get something done about Dave.

    Because Dave HAS to be yeeted. Hopefully in some kind of trebuchet.

  18. Dont ask about StateFarm*

    OP, I think this is a perfect example of you being warped to accept as normal things that are NOT normal. You seem to have taken some of this WAY too calmly. Dave is cyberstalking your coworker. He’s not being weird. He’s not being pushy. He is committing a crime and you and your company just sit and wonder what his problem is?

    OP should seriously reconsider their mindset around all this!

  19. Liz the Snackbrarian*

    OP, please report Dave to Maria. The social media stuff pushes this all over into creepy stalker territory. In addition to all of Dave’s behavior being flatly unacceptable, I feel like this could spell trouble for the company if Dave does anything else to Tina and she decided to take legal action. I’m sure a lawyer would be thinking “Why didn’t you get rid of Dave earlier.”

    1. SnarkyNurse*

      Dave is now solidly in “we need to talk about Kevin” territory. I’m scared for Tina.

    2. K Smith*

      OP, please please do this. 99.9% chance that Dave has already, or will in the future (or both), cyber stalk/harass someone else at the company. This is a work issue, please report it to management.

  20. Decidedly Me*

    I’m glad that Tina got a promotion and all, but I’m also sad for her. She still deserves way better than she’s getting and I wish she had this new opportunity at a different company.

    1. goddessoftransitory*

      I certainly hope she uses this to get a much better position far far away from this mess.

  21. SnarkyNurse*

    I am scared for Tina. This is stalking. This is harassment. This is…not a positive update.

    I’d advise Tina to be hyper-vigilant safety wise, and find a new job. The call is coming from inside the org.

  22. so very tired*

    Dave is a disgusting creep for continuing his harassment after fact. He was a disgusting creep to begin with, but this puts him in the top 1% of Creepville. Dave needs to get a life.

  23. delaware baby*

    I’m sure many other readers see this, but just worth saying out loud that none of this– immense sabotage, inaccurate paragraphs of negative feedback on being too “pushy” and “abrasive”, and now a STALKER– would be happening to a guy employee. I really feel for Tina here. The company has dropped the ball left and right.

    1. goddessoftransitory*

      Jen and Sally both turning on Tina for being “too forward” in a meeting is a classic example, unfortunately. You can bet that if Tina was Tim they would not both have lunged for her throat like that.

    2. Mr. Mousebender*

      Eh, no.

      Let me be clear; neither of the experiences I had were anything like as severe as what Dave did to Tina.

      But as a guy whose first real job, back in the early 90s, was in a call centre (and isn’t it strange how that theme keeps recurring?), I had:

      An obsessed female colleague, whom I knew from previous conversations lived on the other side of the city, board the same train as me, engage me in EXTREMELY personal conversation, and attempt to follow me home; and also:

      Within a few days of being moved into a specialist team which had until then been entirely female, one of them hauled me into a meeting with a supervisor, brandishing a written list of over 20 things I had allegedly been doing wrong in my role. I had never received any training in the role – neither from her, nor anyone else (yes, dysfunctional workplace*) at that point: and this meeting was the first interaction, of ANY kind, that I had had with this person.

      I’m sure men, on the whole, don’t get treated this way nearly as much, or as severely, as women. But it does happen.

      *A few years later, in a different role with the same company, I had my arse groped by a senior employee from another department. In public, when I happened to pass them in the street.

      1. Boof*

        Yeah, in my experience (as a woman) i know there are women out there who think “it’s ok / a compliment when a woman does it!” (Ie, sexual harassment). For all the hypothetical arguments about power dynamics it’s not something anyone should be subjected to and usually is just another manifestation of toxic gender stereotypes to boot

  24. JTM*

    I’m happy for Tina but wow, both you and Jen need some serious management training, and I hope that Maria is helping you both learn to be better leaders.

    At this point, I can only assume that Dave is either a nepobaby or has some dirt on HR cause why is he still allowed to keep his job and wreck havoc???

      1. Jake*

        I’m not JTM, but you’ve received this specific feedback from dozens of people, “Report Dave to HR immediately with all of the relevant information as documented and detailed as possible, irrespective of any conversations you’ve had with Tina.”

      2. L Dub*

        Nothing about the situation has actually been addressed or resolved, and frankly this update is horrifying.

        Tina still has a stalker and for whatever reason, no one is willing to go to HR and Dave’s behavior is still not being addressed. In fact, everyone is still excusing his behavior. His pattern of behavior that has lasted years from the sound of it.

        HR, now. Tina deserves someone who is willing to advocate for her, and clearly no one has been willing to do that up to this point. But her being promoted and moving to a different department hasn’t changed the situation at all, despite all your arguments that you can’t prove it’s Dave. (It’s Dave. Everyone knows it’s Dave.)

        Tina has been failed so many times by this company and Dave continues to be protected. It’s absurd.

  25. Engineer*

    I’m speculating Dave hit on Tina or asked her on a date, and she rebuffed him. It seems like his behavior is escalating too. I would consider him a threat to my safety. I hope Tina is able to put some things in place to protect herself.

    1. Sloanicota*

      It doesn’t have to be that, and stalking isn’t always from a romantic origin either (although I admit, going after her in a personal arena like social media rather than trying to create more trouble at work does point me slightly more in that direction). It could also be simply that she’s wounding his ego by being held up as more successful than him, and he wants to “bring her down a peg” or whatever.

      1. Ellis Bell*

        Yeah, while the scorned romantic overture is definitely plausible, the Dave’s of this world don’t limit their demands on women to just one area. It could be literally anything that set him off; she didn’t smile or act submissive enough, she outperforms him unapologetically instead of being a free resource to steal credit from, she has used direct language when he was being unreasonable. The only way to avoid the ire of guys like this is to basically be their free therapist and PA. In a functioning workplace, Dave would have his arse handed to him, but this one thinks Tina will forgive and forget, and smile sweetly if she’s given a promotion she deserved anyway.

      2. Ellis Bell*

        I just refreshed my memory by rereading the original post and the way Tina did things like reply all with proof of Dave’s sabotage would definitely have been seen by him as unreasonable and “pushy” behaviour from a woman deserving of punishment. He expects women at work to be like Jen; who as a “friend”, sees him as the main character and who prioritises him and his career over doing her own job, and protecting her own reputation.

    2. Takki*

      See, I hear all that’s gone down, and I see Dave as a mid-30’s white guy that’s been average at his job, and praised for it. In walks this girl fresh out of college, and proceeds to raise the bar a TON. Not only did he get shown up, but he got shown up by a GIRL that’s about 10 years junior to him. I’m betting he would want to date her, but knows she’s out of his league, so he’s just trashing her right and left because she’s a constant reminder of his perceived inferiority – both at work, and as a romantic partner.

      I could be way off base, and Tina killed hiss puppy when she was in middle school or something, but this feels like a 2 pronged hate attack to get her gone, so he can feel good about himself again.
      If I am right, it’s a matter of time before Dave escalates. OP needs to at least speak to Maria, and start documenting. Hopefully OP has been documenting all of this crap from Dave, because Dave could easily turn dangerous to Tina outside of work.

  26. AuDHD spaghetti monster*

    I’m shocked Dave is still employed. He sounds terrible. I listen to a stalking podcast, where guests come on to share their stories about stalking and things they did to try to stay safe & end the stalking (it’s incredibly hard to get stalkers to stop, suffice it to say), and his behaviour reminds me of stories that I heard on that podcast – like escalating negative behaviour and obsessive fixation on someone for, often, unhinged seeming reasons.

  27. Blarg*

    This is all so disturbing. I hope Tina stays safe and gets the hell away from this company and all these people.

    1. Blue*

      Yeah I am frankly alarmed that this update is framed as good news. The only positive thing here is that Tina is making more money and hopefully someone outside of her workplace loves her enough to tell her to start a f*ck off fund.

  28. PotsPansTeapots*

    You have:

    -Dave, who’s committing serious, scary, and potentially criminal activity against a co-worker. The kind of behavior that often (though not always) ramps up into something more serious.

    -Jen, who exercised extremely crappy management judgement including participating in bullying and doesn’t seem to have remorse about it. (And may very well allow this situation to happen again, whether it involves Dave or not.)

    -A company in general who doesn’t seem to be taking this whole kerfuffle with the seriousness it deserves. Someone tried to sabotage to behavior of an amazing employee and exposed the company to all kinds of legal liability and management either helped or didn’t care!

    You seem to have adopted some very skewed views of management from this job. I really hope you take some time off (if you can) and reevaluate your own role in all of this. AND TELL MARIA THIS IS HAPPENING, GOOD GOD!

    1. Monkey Princess*

      Agree with everything you say, but just want to add one thing… even if Tina was the worst employee ever, sabotaging her work should result in immediate firing. You just can’t do that at work to anyone, ever, no matter what.

      1. PotsPansTeapots*

        I agree 100%. I was just trying to emphasize that this whole situation, in addition to being wrong and horrifying, is counterproductive to the business. That signals to me just how toxic this whole place is; it’s rare for a whole company to be acting this much against their own interests.

    2. tabloidtained*

      Re, point #1: I don’t believe that following someone on every social media account, first as yourself, and then presumably as a sock puppet, rises to the level of even “potentially” criminal. He’s an enormous walking red flag and I’m getting the creeps just reading about him, but women don’t get justice for in-person stalking, so I can’t imagine our systems care about this type of cyberstalking…

      1. Aerin*

        Telling dirty jokes around your coworkers is 100% not illegal, and will 100% get you fired if you keep doing it. It doesn’t have to meet a criminal definition of stalking to meet an organization’s GTFO threshold.

        1. anywhere but here*

          It is not “100% not illegal.” If the jokes are unwanted + severe and pervasive enough, they can constitute a hostile work environment. Legally, employees have a right to work in an environment that is not subject to constant sexualization. The difference between illegal offenses & fireable offenses is important, but this isn’t a good example for demonstrating it.

    3. goddessoftransitory*

      Don’t forget Sally, who turned on Tina like a honey badger with a toothache after Tina found a flaw that could have cost the company a whole wagonload of money, and Sally had not spotted that error.

      Tina is the epitome of “no good deed goes unpunished” and this company does NOT deserve her.

  29. Gritter*

    Something is really odd here, does Dave have issues with other colleagues, particularly women?

    I just can’t understand why he would have an almost obsessive personal grudge against just Tina, unless there is some history here that we are not aware of.

    1. Irish Teacher.*

      It could be a whole load of things.

      -Perhaps he fancied Tina and she turned him down. Or she didn’t even turn him down but just didn’t show any interest.

      -Perhaps she disagreed with him on something and he took offence at it. It could even be that she was correct about something and he was wrong and he felt she made him look a fool by drawing attention to his mistake.

      -Perhaps she was skilled in some area that he considered to be “his role” and he disliked the idea of somebody else competing with him.

      -Perhaps she is part of some group he is prejudiced against (could be because she’s a woman or could be that she is working class and he middle class and he looks down on her or vice versa; she is middle class and he working class and he resents her or feels she is looking down on him or could be that he is very religious and she is an atheist or belongs to a different religion than her and he judges her for that or maybe she is religious and he has had a negative experiences with other people of her religion or any other combination).

      -Perhaps she reminds him of somebody he had a negative experince with in the past. Somebody who looked like her/had the same accent as her/was from the same demographic as her previously undermined him at work and he is convinced she is going to do the same.

      -Perhaps she didn’t seem impressed enough by something he did that he expected her to be impressed by.

      In other words, there could be a whole load of possible reasons that nobody would know about except Dave. The reasons why bullies bully others generally only make sense to them.

      If I were to make a guess, I’d say she seems like a rock star and I would guess he was jealous and wanted to undermine her, either because he was afraid she’d make him look bad by comparison or just because he felt he wasn’t good enough when he compared himself to her. But it could be anything.

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        Honestly, I wonder if Dave, Sally and Jen were all on some kind of embezzling scheme that Tina inadvertently ruined with her abilities. Because this stuff is coming across as “we could be found out any minute” at this point.

        1. Irish Teacher.*

          Yikes, that hadn’t occurred to me, but now you mention it, yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised. It would explain why so many people behave so utterly bizarrely.

    2. Ellis Bell*

      Being a female rock star (like way above average) at work can be a bit like daring to be female and on the internet in some visible capacity. Oh you can certainly do it if you want to, and you may even get laurels. But you’ll also get a lot of derps who think you’re “just doing it for attention” and who see their role as trying to bring you down either by sabotage or by objectification.

    3. LW Tina's Boss*

      I have no idea why myself! According to Tina he never asked her out or behaved creepily like that at all. He just became obsessed with knocking her down a peg as she put it from around her 2nd week on the time.

      Apparently he has never one behaved like this in his 9 years on the team. He was just passed over for a promotion, Jen got it over him, and then shortly after Tina started and suddenly everyone started deferring to her as she demonstrated extreme competance.

      1. Cinn*

        I know we’re not supposed to speculate, but I think youve hit the nail on the head with your second paragraph. He was the “senior” one who everyone asked, then suddenly they all start asking the new start. Some people can’t handle that, even if the only reason is the other person is more approachable – they just double down on the attitude that makes people not want to deal with them and take it out on the usurper (their pov).

        But please keep an eye on Dave (and Jen too tbh), if everyone’s gut suspicions are correct the minute he does something provable get it reported. (You said previously Tina doesn’t want to report at this stage, so I’m gonna respect that, but please make sure she’s documenting stuff in case it’s ever relevant. Though I hope it never comes to that.)

  30. chewingle*

    If NOTHING else, there should be a paper trail with HR about the stalking. Maybe even police. I don’t care that they likely won’t do anything, the point is to have something to cite if anything DOES happen. Though hopefully it doesn’t.

  31. Pretty as a Princess*

    So Jen became a “better” manager and colleague when there wasn’t a younger, successful woman around for her to compete with, it sounds like? Because that is what she was doing. Teaming up *with* Dave to put down a successful young woman.

    The LW should absolutely not assume they now have this effective positive relationship with Jen. I have spent 25+ years as a woman in a male-dominated field and women who target other women are a whole separate category. I would absolutely not assume that just because her behavior is better *right now* that it always will be. She has deliberately targeted another employee in the past – that is far far further than just learning the boundaries between friendship and management.

    1. goddessoftransitory*

      This PLUS Sally: this has all the earmarks of a gang-up on a younger successful woman.

  32. Scott*

    I could only echo the outrage from others here. The one other thing I’ll add is to address the last line of your letter, “I’ve learned a lot and will do better going forward.” I hope that is true but your letter does not inspire a lot of confidence that this will be the case.

  33. Seeking Second Childhood*

    In the original letter, OP said one of the upper managers refused to do anything because there was nothing discriminatory in Dave’s actions.

    I think it’s time to directly ask Tina if Dave ever asked her out. Because his social media stalking sure sounds like an indicator of sexual harassment to me.

  34. Happy*

    “I’m trying to move on and foster a good (if not cautious) working relationship with Jen.”

    I’m confused – why the “not” in the parenthetical?

    1. A Manager for Now*

      I think it’s a misuse of a phrase, think “I could care less” instead of the correct “I could not care less”

  35. RaginMiner*

    Jesus, take the wheel!! this has NOT been resolved and dave is stalking tina!!! The only reason things are “better” is because Tina is no longer OP’s report. Dave’s behavior is unconscionable and he should no longer work there.

  36. Lurker*

    I feel the only thing that has changed is that Tina is now in another position and department. I have a feeling there will be another Tina and they will behave poorly with that person as well. Good luck OP-hope things go well.

  37. RJ*

    OP, I can’t really say I’m happy about Tina’s being in another position/department given the ongoing situation with Dave. Hopefully things will go well, you should report and document any of Dave’s actions towards her. I just don’t think things are going to end well given his fixation and anger towards Tina.

  38. Joan Crawford's Jello Mold*

    So glad for Tina, but why the hell is Dave still at this company and still able to stalk/harass Tina?!?!?!?!?

    1. Irish Teacher.*

      Yes, I feel even more strongly now that they both need to get out because it seems like they are starting to accept this kind of environment as normal and are thinking, “oh well, we can’t even report him because nobody will believe us and they’ll just think we are causing trouble.”

      Which is understandable, given the reactions so far and the fact that Dave still hasn’t been fired but it seems like they aren’t just thinking, “this place is so toxic that it’s not even worth reporting such horrific behaviour”. They seem to be thinking his behaviour falls within the category of “problematic but the sort of thing you just have to put up with.”

      Tina sounds awesome and the LW sounds like she is doing her best in a crazy situation. They both deserve to work somewhere that isn’t full of rabid bats as this place seems to be.

  39. A woman never gets a break*

    I agree. An attorney friend once told me truly wacky behavior is driven by sex, money, or drugs. I think Dave hit on Tina, he didn’t get sex, and he’s gone crazy trying to destroy her.

  40. A_Jessica*

    Now I have that viral TikTok sound in my head.

    On a serious note, it feels like it might be appropriate for Tina to file a police report?

  41. LW Tina's Boss*

    I’m doing my best to engage on this letter during my lunch break since I missed the last one but there are now a lot of threads so hoping to answer most inquiries here.

    Tell Maria about the report! – She knows and her decision was to not overturn past decisions made months before she started. She made it clear at an all hands meeting that honestly is required on her team. She’s already fired someone for being provably dishonest.

    Dave’s getting away scott free – not really. Before this mess he was next in line to be promoted to a manager and that’s not going to happen. He’s on a short leash with Maria. He’s been the model of professionalism but he’s probably never going to advance in her department.

    Dave’s stalking Tina – Not really? He maybe tried to stalk her digitally but maybe not. He only sent one invite across their shared social media invites from his profile. One request with no negative comments on being rejected is not a pattern of bad behavior. Is the timing of those other invites from different people suspicious? Yes! But what would work possibly do with that? Can they even find out who is sending an LinkedIn invite if the profile is some random person?

    Go to HR and/or Maria about Dave – With what? HR is aware about the report. They know I disagree with how Jen and Dave described her communication.

    Jen immediately complained to Maria about her and Maria made it clear she sees no issue with Tina’s communication (I had more details about this but my comment disappeared so for brevity I’ll leave it there).

    More importantly though Tina wants to leave it and move on with her new role. She gets along great with her new team and the managers over there and she doesn’t want to spend any more time on Dave. I’m supporting her choice and I’m also keeping a close eye on Dave. Since she locked down her social media there has been no issues.

    Theres no way she got such a huge promotion when so many managers disliked her this letter is fake – obviously I have no way to prove this. All I can do is point out that I’ve been consistent about this position since posting in the open thread a few days before my letter was answered. (Sorry about that! Since it had been a month since I wrote in I thought I wasn’t getting an answer and jumped the gun. The commentors gave me the same excellent advice as you though!) She impressed a VP in the other department through work in a BRG. Also AVP is automatically given to people at pay grade 10-14 even if they aren’t managers. She certainly did get a big jump of 3 pay grade levels but she’s performing well so far so I think it’s appropriate. She also worked as a lab assistant through college so despite being entry level for a college grad she does have work experience. This was her first office job but not her first job. It also turns out that she and the VP were both involved in something called Fulbright. I’ve read up on it and it sounds pretty prestigious and they have a network and stuff.

    Also I noticed this in the other letter too but not everyone was out to get Tina. Although I can see how I came across that way. There are over 100 people in our department which is a call center. Including Dave and Tina’s old role there are 6 analysts. Including myself and Jen 8 managers. Dave, Jen, and Tina’s former manager Sally were the only ones complaining. All the other managers were declining to get involved. Mike was very cavalier and Hank decided it was below his pay grade. I don’t know why folks think Hank hated Tina. He actually specifically requested Tina be on his team during a restructure that resulted in layoffs and as far as I can tell he liked Tina. I agree it’s weird he didn’t get involved, but I believe the reason may be a case of support your direct report gone awry like some commentors suggested.

    Which leads me to thank you. Thank you so much to all the commentors especially on the first letter. It was very validating to see everyone agree with me about Dave. I read and reread the answer and comments many times so thank you all.

    1. tabloidtained*

      Thanks for the additional information, LW. There’s always going to be some disconnect between the experiences you’re relaying and how the commentariat interprets them.

      I do agree with you that it would be difficult to prove that Dave is doing something wrong with the social media invites.

      1. Aerin*

        It doesn’t have to be something you can prove in a court of law for HR to want to take action or to deem it against their policies. And hopefully there will be someone in HR who has been on the internet for more than five minutes and understands that the sock puppet thing is suspicious as hell and merits inclusion in Dave’s file. If he really is totally innocent and keeping his nose clean, then it won’t go any further than that.

        1. Jake*

          EXACTLY. Personally, I’d write up the full situation with as much documentation as I could and place it in HR’s hands, that way they have full context, even if it is only my perspective, but the least LW can do is report the sock puppeting. You don’t need proof the make sure HR is aware of suspicious behavior.

    2. Ellis Bell*

      I agree that it’s up to Tina how she wants things handling from this point forward and she doesn’t owe us a neat narrative circle if she thinks things have actually settled down enough. It’s a little hard to believe Dave has reformed enough, as he was more than just a bit shameless and people like that don’t change…. but I guess if he hasn’t there’s a new sheriff in town.

    3. Stipes*

      Dave might not be “getting off scot free”, but you still have someone in your department who’s lied before, for very petty and personal reasons. The reason to fire people like that isn’t only for abstract reasons of justice — it’s because you shouldn’t keep untrustworthy employees on staff! A partial punishment like this might have scared Dave away from petty, easily-catchable lies, but you have to know someone willing to lie like that might do so again, much more carefully, and for something much more serious.

      Maria not wanting to “overturn past decisions” is a silly way to frame it, even if she seems otherwise more competent than her predecessor. Every day the company is making another decision to keep placing trust in someone that it shouldn’t.

      1. Stipes*

        (not to imply by “much more serious” that the original lie wasn’t already serious!)

    4. jasmine*

      It’s good that you’re supporting Tina in her decision. But the thing that is setting off alarm bells for most of us, I think, is that even though the crisis has passed and everyone’s happy, both of you can still do so much better. And I feel like you’ve both spent so long in a toxic situation and are (rightfully) relieved that things are working out now, that you don’t see that it’s still… bad.

      This isn’t a good company. Tina sounds like an excellent employee, and you sound like an excellent manager. It sounds like there are a lot of organizations that would be lucky to have you. If Tina wants to leave everything behind and you support her, that’s great. But when you say things like “we don’t have anything to report to HR anyways”, I worry that you’re both normalizing things that are not normal.

    5. Grits McGee*

      As someone who’s been in a similar situation (but supporting my Tina as a colleague rather than a boss), I just want to say that I think you are being reasonable in your approach to not go to HR right now. There’s a reason why there’s no HR-themed CSI spinoff: they’re not investigators, and they’re not crusaders for truth and justice. I have a feeling that a lot of the commenters berating you for not going to HR have never had to sit in that meeting getting told over and over again, “That’s not harassment,” “that’s not a credible threat”, “that’s outside the scope of our authority.” When you go to HR with speculation and suspicion, you earn a boy-who-cried-wolf reputation. It’s not fair, it’s not justice, but it’s the real world.

      In my situation, my Tina got a better job elsewhere, did not respond to our Dave’s social media overtures, and Dave toned down his more obnoxious behaviors and eventually got a job at another company because he knew he was under a microscope. Escalation by Dave is not the inevitable consequence people seem to think it is. And if it does escalate, then you can get concrete evidence that is actually actionable. Our Tina wanted to deescalate the situation rather than go back and forth with her Dave, and 4 years later she’s happy with the outcome. It’s not the most narratively satisfying outcome, esp for an internet observer, but again, that’s real life.

      1. Manic Pixie HR Girl*

        As HR, can confirm. I agree it’s super suspect, but there is next to nothing I can do about puppet social media accounts that are created after hours and not on my company’s tech (and, even if on my tech, pretty limited to what I can do!). Furthermore, while OP used to be Tina’s manager, she is not anymore, and therefore it is the right call for her to respect Tina’s decision to let it lie.

        1. LW Tina's Boss*

          Thanks for sharing this. I haven’t had to go to HR outside of firings or layoffs. Tina and I’s sense was that HR wouldn’t be able to do anything.

          1. Jake*

            I’m a partner in a firm. I’m not HR, but we have a multiperson HR department, and I can assure you that even if HR doesn’t go investigate (which they almost certainly won’t!), having that documentation on file will do nothing but be helpful down the road for you, Tina and the company.

            I’d consider firing somebody who sat on this without reporting, particularly if I’m trusting them to manage others.

    6. Observer*

      Not really? He maybe tried to stalk her digitally but maybe not. He only sent one invite across their shared social media invites from his profile. One request with no negative comments on being rejected is not a pattern of bad behavior. Is the timing of those other invites from different people suspicious? Yes! But what would work possibly do with that? Can they even find out who is sending an LinkedIn invite if the profile is some random person?

      Maybe they can. Certainly they can do some digging that you can’t. Also, your employer does not need to prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that he is doing this. They CAN act on information if they find out enough to make it strongly probable in their estimation. And if they only come to the conclusion that “It sounds like it, but we’re not THAT confident”, they can keep it on file to see if a pattern of these types of issues come up, at which point they can certainly take action. If they don’t have it, they can’t see that there is a possible pattern.

      Mike was very cavalier and Hank decided it was below his pay grade.

      This is one of the reasons I suspect that your company has broader problems. I think it’s worthwhile for you to recognize the issue, even though you can’t really do anything about it, because it’s important not to get your norms warped.

    7. Stuart Foote*

      As someone who has worked in a call center, I no longer find this story implausible. Call centers bring out the crazy in people. Consider me convinced this is true.

      I had the impression that the team was much smaller vs being around 100 people.

    8. WellRed*

      I think at this point it’s best to follow Tina’s lead. But be ready to step in if necessary for whatever reason. Dave should be fired but it’s possible he’ll move on from Tina. I realize things can escalate with creepy dudes but comments saying to call the police (and say what?) or that he’s a homicidal maniac are an unfortunate side effect in this forum lately.

    9. RecoveringSWO*

      Tina was a Fulbright scholar?!? Yeah, that big promotion tracks. I know 3 Fulbright scholars. 2 work in Supreme Court litigation and 1 was on the Forbes 30-under-30 list.

  42. Pastor Petty Labelle*

    OP I had to walk away for a bit to calm down.

    You are still not managing. You are throwing your hands up and saying welp nothing I can do. Dave is gonna Dave.

    You need to step up and do your job. Fire Dave. Or talk to whoever has the power to fire Dave. You don’t need proof that will hold up in a court of law. You just need to put two and two together. Why would someone suddenly be getting requests to connect every day or two right after blocking Dave? Who most likely started the rumor, some random person or the person who already lied about her?

    1. Dovasary Balitang*

      Yeah. The relief at having the victim in the situation off her team is a bit unfortunate.

      1. LW Tina's Boss*

        What a ungenerous view of my statement. I I was honest about the fact that, yes my life is easier post Tina leaving. That’s a far cry from saying I’m relieved she’s gone.

        I’m relieved she’s on a good team with people who respect her and treat her kindly and that she’s getting paid way more.

        1. subaru outback driver*

          I read it that your life was easier and you were happy for Tina. Sadly, many of the commenters on this blog really see things as black and white and don’t understand nuance.

    2. Amykins*

      OP doesn’t have the power to fire Dave, and has already spoken to the people who do have the power to fire Dave, and they are declining to do so. Is there more OP can do? Probably, yes. But firing Dave isn’t one of those things.

    1. I should really pick a name*

      Look for Alison’s comments on the original post. She explains why this isn’t a hostile work environment.

          1. Velawciraptor*

            And it’s not proveably him. Gut instinct says it is. But there’s a long distance between gut feelings and proof.

        1. Emily*

          How do you propose they get proof that the profiles were created by Dave?

          LW has made it *very* clear that this is just a guess on LW and Tina’s part.

          LW has also made it *very* clear that Tina does not want to take this any further.

          LW has also made it *very* clear that Maria seems wise to Dave. LW does not have the power to fire Dave (and LW has made it clear that if she did she would).

          There is a lot of misplaced anger being directed at LW here. LW stated she realized where she went wrong and how she needs to do better moving forward.

          Sometimes this comment section becomes “what we want to have happen in an ideal world” and then the commenters become angry when LW can’t make it so.

          1. Jake*

            Reporting to HR the full context from beginning to end is not something she can’t do. It is something we would fire a manager for not doing at our company.

  43. Quinalla*

    Yeah, still don’t understand why Dave has not been fired. He was caught lying about something to try and make a colleague he already had a grudge against look bad, why would you EVER keep someone on who did that? What the hell else is he lying about and falsifying to make himself look good. And he’s now keeps trying to connect with her on social media? Dude is bad news. I really hope OP talks to HR about this or that Tina is, though HR handled this so poorly last time, she may just be done with it.

    Glad to hear Tina is in a better spot, I hope she actually gets a job at a different company sometime soon!

  44. Dovasary Balitang*

    Good for Tina!

    Dave should be fired. Going back and re-reading the original letter got my blood boiling all over again, because this is the sort of thing that young women deal with so often in professional situations. Especially if they have the audacity to be both competent and not deferential.

  45. BlondeSpiders*

    Anyone else suspect Dave tried to shoot his shot with Tina, got turned down, and is now trying to torpedo her career? I don’t usually go in this direction, but the level of vitriol is….something.

    1. Jake*

      While possible, I lean more in the direction of a young, smart woman is outperforming him, so he is struggling.

      My speculation (and let’s be clear that it isn’t more than that):

      -He is a decade plus older than she is with at least that much more experience, maybe 2 decades.
      -He has plateaued in his career at, “solid, not promotion worthy, analyst”
      -She comes in, does a great job, not just for her experience level, but just a great job period, and is clearly better than he is.
      -She doesn’t bother to listen to Dave’s advice, or consider him a mentor, so he flies off the handle knowing he has been surpassed by somebody of the lesser sex with less experience.

      Don’t get me wrong, he’s still all the wrong things, but I wouldn’t jump to romance, especially considering the age gap.

      1. Irish Teacher.*

        Yeah, while either (or a whole load of other options, including some none of us are likely to think of) are possible, your suggestion or some variation of it would be my guess.

  46. Jane*

    So Dave the liar, sabotager, and creepy stalker is still at the company? Time for Tina to involve the police or a lawyer along with HR, IMO.

  47. Glowworm*

    If Maria doesn’t oust Dave lickety-split, she’s not a no-nonsense manager, she’s a some-nonsense manager. I don’t understand why this flailing liar has managed to keep his job for so long; now it seems he’s branching out into stalking territory.

  48. Jake*

    At the end of the original Letter, OP asked if there was anything else she can do.

    At this point, she not only can go to HR about the cyberstalking, she has an obligation as a not horrible person to do so.

  49. anon_sighing*

    > A nasty rumor that she was fired started up right after she left.

    He is so pathetic and weird. And frankly, very very creepy.

  50. Pete*

    “Maria’s also helped me learn how to better navigate personality-based feedback and see my missteps. I passed on a lot of Dave’s complaints anonymously to Tina before I confirmed they were false. I rushed off to Tina with Jen’s feedback and didn’t take the time to understand the background. ”

    What does this mean? That you shouldn’t let Tina know about these things? That is the reason Tina screenshotted the report before sending it.

    1. tabloidtained*

      That putting false feedback on your employee’s plate before you’ve done your due diligence is poor management. Your employee shouldn’t hear feedback that is meritless.

    2. LW Tina's Boss*

      It means that when Dave was originally coming to me with comments like “Tina was combative about getting this report done and came across negatively on the X call” that instead of passing it along to Tina as “hey someone on the X call let me know you came across as combative. I’m letting you know so you can be aware how you came across.” That instead I should have reached out to some other folks on the X call and got their perspective before giving Tina any feedback. I also should have tried to monitor Tina’s behavior to verify these complaints before passing them on.

      1. Observer*

        I give you a lot of credit for learning and improving your own management from this mess.

      2. Emily*

        LW: It’s clear you’ve done a ton of introspection, and I’m sorry there have been a lot of keyboard crusaders commenting on your update and innapropriately taking frustrations out on you.

      3. Jake*

        I’ve been pretty rough in other comments, but I am happy that you have seen this and find it as a potential spot to improve. To be fair, I don’t think your original way of handling this specific part of the saga was a cardinal sin, just a suboptimal. Good on you for genuinely wanting to improve.

    3. Irish Teacher.*

      In the original letter, she says that Jen said “Tina isn’t perfect. She did X and Y” and the LW went and spoke to Tina about X and Y. Not just letting her know that Jen was saying this about her but went to Tina to correct her for having done X and Y. And Tina basically responded with “yeah, I know. I did some stupid things my first few weeks here. I thought I’d already improved in those areas though. Do you still have some concerns?” and that was when the LW realised that Jen was talking about something from Tina’s early days in the company and which Tina had already corrected when the LW was speaking to her as if they were ongoing problems, having assumed that Jen had noticed something recently.

  51. Nat20*

    Rereading the original post and feeling the same rage I did when it was posted. It’s probably one of the most infuriating letters of 2024 so far. Glad at least Tina is doing well, but Dave is an asshole and a creep.

    I can’t help but feel like he’s either upset about a young woman outperforming him, he’s attracted to her and/or got rejected by her so he’s being an actual stalker, or both. Honestly my guess is that it’s both, which is why he’s this weird, intense combination of aggressive and persistent. I’m kind of still worried for her even though she transferred.

  52. Ms. Murchison*

    I can’t remember an update before with this much cognitive dissonance, where the LW is this cheerful and seems to sincerely believe that the situation is all better now, but the commentariat is full of “Um actually DANGER & RED FLAGS LIKE WOAH.”

    1. Ms. Murchison*

      LW, have you ever asked yourself why he tried to connect with Tina on every social media profile she has, and created sock puppet accounts when he was blocked, when you know that his goal at work was to undermine her and make her life hell?
      He’s trying to gather information and get access to her life. What do you think he’ll do when he finds a way to get that information and access? He’ll find new ways to make her life hell. And shrugging that off as “well at least he’s taken his behavior our of our workplace, it’s no longer our problem” is not a good look.

    2. a table with a view of outside*

      We’re reacting to what the LW says, whereas the LW is reacting to all their other experiences with Dave, so they think “oh it’s not that bad” and meanwhile the rest of us are still going “Dave did WHAT”.

      LW, this all has been normalized to you over time, but it’s not normal and it’s not okay.

  53. Pizza Rat*

    Thank you for the update! I’m happy for Tina, and I wish you luck in what looks like a continuing struggle. You need better support and I hope you can get it.

  54. Fluffy Fish*

    “Maria’s also helped me learn how to better navigate personality-based feedback and see my missteps.”

    AH Alison this topic would be a FANTASTIC one to cover in depth or even just like when you do the bunch of links about one issue.

    I have lost count of how many times I’ve heard “its just a personality conflict” used to excuse very bad behavior and not getting along with colleagues.

  55. learnedthehardway*

    This is NOT a good update. Yes, it turned out better for Tina that she’s in a more senior role in another department, but what if it had NOT turned out that way? It’s just a happy coincidence that it did, and you can bet that there were SERIOUS DISCUSSIONS about her UNDESERVED 1 star performance review before that happened, that could have derailed her move. That bad review was career sabotage, and it is VERY LUCKY for your company that Tina didn’t get fired or leave – because she would have had a very good case for consulting a labour lawyer.

    Jennifer has not become a better person – she just doesn’t have a target. She strikes me as the kind of woman who can’t stand seeing other women succeed. She’s just as bad as Dave, in my book.

    And Dave – well – he’s harassing someone outside of the department now – so it’s okay?!??! Sure, it’s still Tina he’s targeting, but at least she’s not around to be inconvenient about being the victim of his behaviour?!!!

    I get that it is hard to go to HR if Tina won’t do it. I think she’s in a better place now to do so, but I can see why she just wants to get on with her new job.

    I can also see how it is hard for you to talk to Maria about all of this – I mean, will she believe you or will she think you are a sh*#disturber? But remember – Tina can confirm what you tell her. Also, Tina’s 1 star review is on file, and yet she got promoted to AVP in another department (it’s pretty telling when someone who – on paper – should have been fired – instead gets a great promotion after a series of nasty rumours, harassment and bullying.) Maria sounds like the kind of person who would set the ship to rights.

  56. anywhere but here*

    Alison, I know you don’t add any commentary to updates, but I would love to hear your opinion on Maria’s decision to not fire Dave for behavior that occurred before she was in charge. Obviously, Dave should have been fired at the time for falsifying an error and attributing it to Tina. That being said, what should a new manager do about something that occurred before the manager was managing, and how much does it depend on severity?

    (I would think that, for example, punching someone or stealing from the company would merit a prompt firing regardless of when it happened, but short of actual crimes I’m not sure where the line would be drawn.)

    1. Marvel*

      I would also be really interested in this. As a manager myself I’m not sure where I would land on the issue!

  57. Marzipan Shepherdess*

    Why on earth is Dave so obsessed with Tina? I’m wondering if Tina’s race/ethnicity/religion (or lack of one)/sexual orientation/political views are setting Dave off, or if he just plain doesn’t like a young, brilliant female colleague (them goldarn womenfolk that don’t keep their place, y’know!)

    Seriously, something is very, very wrong with Dave and I hope that OP’s company wises up and kicks him out before he escalates his vicious behavior. He’s already stalking her on social media – it would be VERY easy for him to get hold of her home address, phone number and closest family members’ personal info too…and we all know how THAT ends!

    Even if the company is selfishly oblivious to his expanding his hatred of her outside the work realm and into the personal (her social media), how could they ignore his deliberately sabotaging a project in order to discredit her? That should have been a screaming red siren (not just a flag!) that he’ll blithely endanger the whole company if it means smearing her reputation. Why are they waiting until he crashes their computers or starts sending Tina mysterious boxes with ticking contents before getting rid of this loon??

  58. Wow, really?*

    I went back and read the original. Even as passive as I am, I would have been looking for another job as soon as the ink was dry on that performance review. I’ve had some crappy reviews too, but at least they were from current supervisors about things I’d actually done or refused to do.

    No amount of money is enough, unless 4 or 5 people actually get fired from the organization.

  59. Yours sincerely, Raymond Holt*

    Dave’s behaviour is alarming! Does Maria know? Does HR know? Is he not creating all kinds of risks for the company with his stalking and harassment campaign?

    I’m glad for Tina but disgusted that Dave has got away with all this. Glad Jen has learned the management basics (!) but struggling to feel particularly warm towards her too.

    I still think you should leave this mess of a department tbh.

  60. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

    Can you ask your IT/HR to keep an eye on Dave’s electronic behaviour for a while? From my experience those who are obsessed with another coworker tend to show bad signs that way too. Things like:

    1. Use of company email account to harrass
    2. Use of websites to set up fake profiles and stalk others
    3. Inappropriate images stored on servers

    Just give IT a head’s up.

  61. Ask A Manatee*

    LW, since you’ve been commenting, I hope you are still engaging with this thread. You said in one of your comments that you and Tina had discussed going to HR but she decided not to. Please consider that she may have decided that based on your insistence that “there’s nothing we can do without proof” (I’m paraphrasing) etc.

    You are 100% wrong that you need more than you have to report her concerns and suspicions. You don’t need proof! You keep harping on proof! Just report the facts, your suspicions, and let HR decide what to do. Even if you don’t believe the 99% of commenters who say so, at least let Tina know that there’s a strong difference of opinion about the threshold for going to HR. Link her to this comment section and let her see for herself.

    1. Jake*

      Honestly, I don’t see why Tina should go to HR. She’s escaped.

      It’s actually LW that I can’t believe isn’t going to HR. She has to keep managing this guy, and doesn’t care that HR isn’t fully informed of the situation. That is absolutely bonkers to me.

      1. LW Tina's Boss*

        You’ve been all over the comments today demanding I go to HR against Tina’s will and calling my morals amd ethics into question if I dont.

        I’ve been keeping an eye on the comments today as a few insights are still trickling in.

        But the fact that you think I have any management oversight or authority of Dave at all makes it clear you have not comprehended the situation in the slightest.

  62. LW Tina's Boss*

    I hear what you are saying, but I did not tell Tina to not go to HR. I asked her if she would like to go to HR when she brought to me that he had tried to connect with her and then she started getting potential sock puppet requests.

    She said she didn’t want to because:
    1) Dave didn’t get in trouble when their was a provable misdeed and she’s afraid her sharing suspicions with no proof will look like she’s trying to get him in trouble for the past error now that there is new leadership

    2) She’s got a good thing going on her new team. Gets along with everyone, no issues with her boss or coworkers. She’s afraid if she drags up these suspicions she’ll look dramatic or like she can’t let things go.

    3) She’s just done with Dave and his drama and wants to move on.

    I see her points and I respect her decision.

    1. Jake*

      As her former boss, it is YOUR responsibility to handle this in the way that protects the company the most. That means YOU go to HR with all the documentation. Your (and Tina’s) suspicion that nothing will come of it is almost certainly correct, but it will mean that Dave has all of this information already sitting in a file in case he does something batshit crazy again.

  63. Ozzie Gal*

    LW, I get that it can be frustrating that Tina just wants to keep her head down and not “rock the boat.” She’s been through enough, and that was stuff that would have many other people saying “I can’t deal with this, I’m out of here and I don’t care how it looks on my resume.” I doubt that any future employer would see “getting away from a creepy/cyberstalking colleague” as a non-valid reason to have abruptly left a job.. Dave might be on a short leash with Maria, but really all he’s learning from all of this is “don’t get caught harassing someone during work hours and don’t say/do anything that will lead directly back to me.”
    Ask yourself, please, how you would react if your sister, or niece, or daughter, was in Tina’s position (past and current) at their place of employment? How would you advise them to proceed? They have a (male) colleague who is falsifying documentation in order to, hopefully, get them fired, who, after (only!!) being reprimanded for that, attempts to friend them on any and all social media accounts that they have – which is usually five or six different platforms minimum these days, and there is suspicion that this colleague is continuing to cyberstalk her. Nothing provable, just fear and suspicion. Would you tell your relative to document, document, document, screenshot suspicious friend requests and so on, keep a written, dated record (in other words, diarise) of incidents and make a formal report to HR so that there’s something on record in case something happens to someone else in the future? Or would you tell her, well, he seems to have backed off a bit, best you put it all behind you and forget that it happened? It’s easy when it’s “Tina, my ex-report who is no longer in my team” but not so easy when you replace “Tina” with “my relative whom I love dearly.”

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