For a fruit, bananas seem to cause a lot of drama. From the prank that indicted a college student, to the giant supermarket banana that went viral for its size, bananas are no ordinary berry.
One man’s banana eating habits have gotten him into trouble with HR at his company. User u/bananamunchee posted on June 23 on Reddit’s AITA (Am I the A**hole?) Forum about allegedly insulting a new employee with his morning snack.
The Redditor described himself as a 36-year-old programmer and explained that he works in an office with about 20 other people. After an old employee recently retired, a young woman was hired to replace them.
The man said his quick snack of choice is a banana, which he will eat when 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 peel and went back to work,” he explained.
The next morning, however, he was “draged to HR’s office.”
He said: “Someone has filed a complaint that I was making aggressive and unwanted sexual advances towards them. I am baffled, I asked who and when this happened?”
It turns out that the new employee wasn’t comfortable with the way he eats bananas.
“I tell HR that I left my desk twice yesterday to go to the bathroom, but I had no contact with a new girl. I haven’t spoken to her in about a week,” he wrote.
“Then HR tells me she has accused me of making suggestive gestures and eating my banana inappropriately in her direction. She wants me fired or she will file a lawsuit.”
The Redditor claimed his innocence and assured HR that he eats the fruit as “a normal person would eat a banana”.
“I am furious. I tell them I did NOTHING wrong,” he continued. “I ate a banana at my desk, there was nothing inappropriate about that.”
Still, HR asked him to write an apology to the woman and not bring bananas to work in the future.
“HR said I have to consider the potentially hostile work environment I will create if I keep bringing bananas to work,” he lamented.
“I thanked them for their time, left the meeting and started asking around about my banana eating habits.
“Everyone I know doesn’t see a problem with it, but a few people have said if I make her uncomfortable I might have to stop,” he said, asking if he was wrong.
Redditors thought the situation was ridiculous, voting for the story more than 12,000 times and responding with nearly 2,000 comments.
Maypopfop said: “It doesn’t even make sense. Should he say he’s gay for bananas?
“Should it be a banana self-satisfaction time? Banana flashes? I can’t see what this has to do with her at all, even if it were suggestive banana eating.”
“I was wondering that myself,” Vagrant 123 noted. “How exactly does HE eat a banana to seduce HER? It makes no sense.”
While many users found the woman’s complaint exaggerated, sexual harassment is a pervasive problem in American workplaces. In a 2018 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, 59 percent of women and 27 percent of men reported being sexually harassed at work, both verbally and physically. These encounters did not always take place during the workday, and unwanted advances from colleagues also occurred outside the workplace.
Forty-six percent of those surveyed said not believing female prosecutors is a big problem. However, 34 percent believed that employers fired male staff too early without “knowing all the facts.”
Redditor MikeDaRucki advised the man to consult an employment attorney, just in case, writing, “It sounds to me like this girl is trying to commit insurance fraud against the Employer’s Liability Policy (EPLI).”
He wasn’t alone in believing the woman was wrong, and Romancereacher1989 suggested the new hire was “sexualizing” him.
“Not only did the company side with it when it presented the truth, but most likely have cameras to prove its statement, all because it threatened prosecution,” she said.
Fzyflwrchld agreed, writing: “She’s the one who sexualizes someone else who eats a banana, doesn’t even make eye contact with her and minds their own business. Maybe he should be the one to file a complaint of sexual harassment since he is the one being sexualized.”
Many asked how the poster should eat a banana.
“It’s a banana… should you eat it like corn on the cob?” asked Imaginery_Being1949.
“Eat the peel to show dominance,” ClearCasket suggested.
“Wait, you’re not supposed to eat a banana with a knife and fork.” Fianna9 wondered.
While Kylexy929 wanted to know if other suggestively shaped fruits were also banned in the future.
“Does that mean he shouldn’t be eating any other phallic-shaped foods either?” asked. “How insane to ask of anyone.”
news week has reached out to you/bananamunchee for comment.