Human Resources/Coworker issue


Hello Pankaj,

I'm having an issue with my coworker. Several months ago my coworker started having issues with his girlfriend. At one point his girlfriend made him wear an audio recorder to work. I informed my supervisor who abruptly dismissed this by saying there is no such law stating that our coworker can't secretly record conversations. Then a few weeks ago I found out my coworkers girlfriend hired a private investigator to follow me around. Apparently, she originally hired the private investigator to follow her boyfriend and not me, but he mistakenly followed me instead.

Last night my coworkers girlfriend contacted my wife. These two never talked before this and the purpose of her contacting my wife was to stir up problems between my wife and I. In her text message, she claims she has screen shots of her boyfriend and myself talking about my relationship issues between myself and my wife. I have always kept my distance from my coworker, and I would never talk to him about my relationship issues.

So today I plan on going to HR about these issues. I was just curious as to know how these kind of things go? I live in Arizona. If there is anything else I forgot to add,  or if you need further information, please let me know.

Thank you for your time.


Hi Jared
First of all my apologies for the delay in responding. I had seen your query but was into several assignments and could not sit down at peace to respond.

Being spied upon is not a pleasant experience anyway irrespective of whether it is part of corporate policy or not. It is sad that your co-workers wife is misusing the information received from the investigator meant for her boyfriend.

There are two aspects to this as I see it. First of all is the issue at home. Such issues are best dealt with through an open dialogue and if there is sufficient trust in the relationship, these issues will not rock the boat at all. I do hope that you enjoy such a trusting relationship with your wife and therefore have the space to discuss out any adverse information and let the truth emerge and close the chapter.

The second aspect is related to the work place. Going by the earlier response of your supervisor and even otherwise, given the fact that the investigator is private and I presume stalking in a manner that does not disrupt office work, HR is unlikely to take any action. They may dismiss it as something happening in each individual's private life - beyond work. If the investigation is disturbing the office working, then there could be a case for discussion and action.

Quite separately, it may help to have a discussion with the co-worker and alert the individual to the private investigation being done and get the person to put an end to this.

Hope this helps. Do revert if you want me to clarify any aspect or if you have further queries based on this response. I will be happy to respond. All the best.



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Pankaj Bhargava


Questions related to choice of career, inter-personal issues at the workplace, performance management issues, structure issues, compensation structuring issues, culture building issues, linking HR with org. strategy


22 years in HR and Org. Development, designing & facilitating interventions, leading an HR team of an Indian multinational & facilitating multiple organizations across industries to build the desired culture to serve business need

HR magazine of TISS (an HR institute of repute - Tata Institute of Social Sciences)

B. Tech (Chemical Engineering) from IIT Mumbai (one of the most reputed engineering school in India) and PGDM (MBA) from IIM Kolkata (one of the most reputed management institutes in India).

Awards and Honors
Was awarded the Gold Medal for excellence in HR by the Bengal Chamber of Commerce at IIM

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