One man’s banana eating habits have landed him in hot water with HR at his company. posting to Reddit‘s AITA (Am I the A**hole?) forum on June 23, user u/bananamunchee shared how he supposedly offended a new hire with his morning snack.
Describing himself as a 36-year-old programmer, the Redditor explained that he works in an office with roughly 20 other people. After a long-time employee retired recently, a young woman was hired to replace them.
The man said his quick snack of choice is a banana, which he’ll eat if he’s busy and doesn’t have time to leave his desk.
“Yesterday was one of these days. I ate my banana, threw out the skin and went back to work,” he explained.
However, the next morning he was “hauled into HR’s office.”
He said: “Someone has made a complaint that I was making aggressive and unwanted sexual advances towards them. I’m baffled, I asked who and when this happened?”
It turns out the new hire was uncomfortable with the way he eats bananas.
“I tell HR I left my desk twice yesterday to go to the bathroom but I had no contact with new girl. I haven’t spoken to her in about a week,” he wrote.
“Then HR tells me that she has accused me of making suggestive gestures and inappropriately eating my banana in her direction. She wants me fired or she will sue.”
The Redditor professed his innocence, and assured HR that he eats the fruit like “a normal person would eat a banana.”
“I’m outraged. I tell them I have done NOTHING wrong,” he continued. “I ate a banana at my desk, there was nothing inappropriate about it.”
Still, HR asked him to write an apology note to the woman and not bring bananas to work in the future.
“HR said I need to consider the potential hostile work environment I’m creating if I continue to bring bananas to work,” he complained.
“I thanked them for their time, left the meeting and started asking around about my banana eating habits.
“Everyone I know doesn’t see an issue with it but a few people have said if I’m making her uncomfortable, maybe I should just stop,” he said, asking if he was in the wrong.
Redditors found the situation ridiculous, upvoting the story more than 12,000 times and responding with almost 2,000 comments.
Maypopfop said: “It doesn’t even make sense. Is he supposed to be saying he is gay for bananas?
“Is it supposed to be self-pleasuring banana time? Banana flashing? I can’t see how this relates to her at all even if it were suggestive eating banana.”
“I was wondering that myself,” commented Vagrant 123. “How exactly is HE eating a banana to seduce HER? It makes no sense.”
Although many users found the woman’s complaint over the top, sexual harassment is a pervasive problem in US workplaces. In a 2018 study conducted by the Pew Research Center, 59 percent of women and 27 percent of men reported being sexually harassed at work, whether verbally or physically. These encounters didn’t always occur during the workday, with unwanted advances from colleagues also occurring outside of workplace settings.
Forty-six percent of those surveyed said that female accusers not being believed is a major problem. However, 34 percent believed that employers fired male staff too soon without “finding out all of the facts.”
Redditor MikeDaRucki advised that the man consult an employment attorney, just in case, writing: “It sounds to me that this girl is trying to commit insurance fraud against employers employment practices liability policy (EPLI).”
He wasn’t the only one to believe the woman was in the wrong, with Romancereacher1989 suggesting the new hire was “sexualizing” him.
“The company not only took her side when presented the truth but most likely has cameras to prove his statement. All because she threatened to sue,” she said.
Fzyflwrchld agreed, writing: “She’s the one sexualizing someone else eating a banana not even making eye contact with her and minding their own business. Maybe he should be the one filing a complaint about sexual harassment since he’s the one being sexualized.”
Many asked how the poster was supposed to eat a banana.
“It’s a banana… are you supposed to eat it like corn on the cob??” asked Imaginary_Being1949.
“Eat the peel to show dominance,” suggests ClearCasket.
“Wait, you aren’t supposed to eat a banana with a knife and fork.” wondered Fianna9.
While Kylexy929 wanted to know if other suggestively-shaped fruits were also banned moving forward.
“Does this mean he also has to avoid eating any other phallic-shaped food as well?” queried. “What an insane thing to ask of someone.”
Newsweek has reached out to u/bananamunchee for comment.