Being Hit By A Coworker


What can I do about a coworker hitting me three times on the back?


Fed Up


DearĀ Fed Up:

Whether the coworker is hitting you or merely touching you, if you don’t like it, he should stop.

First, try telling the coworker directly that you don’t like being hit. You can do that in a friendly way and still be serious sounding. “Ouch! That hurt! Don’t hit me like that. OK?”

Or, you might do this: Stay aware of your coworker’s apparent intentions and when he or she is approaching you, turn around and face him and say, “NO. Stop. Don’t hit me again. Really. I don’t like it, so don’t do it, please.”

If those direct methods don’t work, talk to your supervisor about it and ask for advice and assistance. Tell your supervisor clearly that the hitting isn’t welcomed by you and that you want it to stop.

It may be that the coworker thinks he is showing friendship, but hitting like that can be uncomfortable and eventually end up not being friendly at all.

On the other hand, if the hitting is done to be painful or to bother you intentionally, you have a more serious problem and that should definitely be reported to your supervisor with a request that it be stopped.

If others are being hit as well, it’s time for all of you to tell the employee to stop. If others don’t view it as seriously as you do, that still doesn’t mean you have to accept it.

So, try talking to the person directly. Don’t joke about it and don’t become angry, just be honest and sincerely concerned sounding. If the employee does it or acts like he will do it, even one more time, go to your supervisor. Hopefully it won’t come to that.

Best wishes as you find the best way to deal with this. If you have the time and wish to do so, let us know what happens.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.