Did This Coworker Go Too Far In Blackballing An Associate?

When you work in an office environment it can be hard to know when to involve HR and when to mind your own business, but I think most of us can agree that if someone makes you repeatedly uncomfortable, that’s a sign.

And that goes double if you have asked them to please stop and they persist, despite your wishes.

This self-described brown man living in the UK was working at a law office with an American who really likes to talk about how open-minded he is about race and equality and all of that.

OP finds the majority of his comments offensive, and that was before the coworker began learning Hindi.

I am a brown man, of mixed english, scottish, and indian descent.

I currently work in a legal office, in the uk and we have an American working with us. He prides himself on being super diverse and available to all cultures. I honestly don’t know much about him, but he’s always making everything about race. Everytime I speak, it’s something like “did they teach you that in India? Is the teaching there super strict”. I’ll call this guy Brian for ease.

I’ve always found him highly offensive. He makes comments about how Indians are super good at maths, but the parents are almost always abusive as hell. Recently, his “thing” has become learning Hindi.

OP does not identify strongly with his Indian heritage and culture because he grew up in the UK. He also does not speak Hindi, which did not stop the coworker from exclusively speaking Hindi to him even when he said he didn’t understand.

When he tried reporting the actions to HR he was told that without proof, there wasn’t really anything they could do other than tell him to stop.

Obviously, because I’m brown and have an Indian name, I must know Hindi. I don’t know Hindi at all. Being honest, I’ve always felt more like a white guy in brown skin because I grew up in London, around white people, and around British culture. I feel no real connection to any part of Indian culture and i’m ok with that. Brian is not.

Every time he needs to speak to me, he exclusively speaks Hindi. He’s doing a pretty good job of learning it, because he is speaking quite fluently, and only really uses words in english every once in a while. Every single time I say anything, he responds only in Hindi. This happens even when I’m not talking to him.

Eventually I got fed up and reported him to HR, but they said there was no solid proof, so they couldn’t do anything more than tell him not to, because he denied it.

So, OP began recording their conversations. Not only was it proof that OP was telling the truth, but also that a large portion of the time the coworker was insulting him in a language he couldn’t understand.

So, I started putting my phone on record, and whenever he’d come to me, he’d start off speaking Hindi. I told him that I do not speak Hindi, and he would continue speaking Hindi. I got all of this on recording and sent it to HR.

Apparently they also translated what he was saying and found out half the time he was insulting me, my family, the fact that I have scars from wars, and a s**tton of other including stuff like “how can a brown Paki like you not even understand Hindi. Trying to be some white guy is it?”

OP was fired, and whenever other places call for recommendations they’re told the reason why, which has made it hard for him to find a job elsewhere.

OP is wondering if he went too far.

This obviously got him fired and now whenever we get calls about recommendations, we tell him what he did.

He recently began a flame war on social media about me and how it’s my fault I don’t understand Hindi and how he was just trying to learn a new language, and that I should apologise.


I think I know how Reddit is going to weigh in here, but let’s take a peek just for fun!

The top comment points out that the man is a racist, and racists get what they deserve (in a just world).

Image Credit: Reddit

In reality, the man is just dealing with the consequences of his own actions.

Image Credit: Reddit

Apparently nowhere in the world is as accepting as we would like it to be.

Image Credit: Reddit

PSA: Not all Indian people speak Hindi.

Image Credit: Reddit

And people are allowed to interact with their culture at any level they would like.

Image Credit: Reddit

This guy is a jerk and honestly, there should be more dire consequences for people who act like this at work.

What do you think? Have you encountered an issue like this? If so, tell us in the comments how you (and HR) handled things!