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Employee Loaning Money and Intimidating Borrowers

I have a situation where one employee loaned money from another at a 50% weekly interest rate, basically he is a loan shark! It has now gotten to the point where the loaner has been intimidating the loanee at work during company hours. How do I go about handling this situation?

The best approach is to meet with the employees separately.

Start with the loanee. Really, the loan is a private matter between the employees but obviously it’s affecting workplace relations. So, focus on how the employee is being treated. Inquire about incidents of intimidation or other unprofessional behavior and how such actions are affecting the work environment. Let the employee know that harassing behavior is unacceptable in the workplace and it will be stopped.

It may be worth it for you to find out if the terms of the loan are illegal in your state. Some states impose restrictions on excessive interest rates, collection methods, and maximum loan amounts for personal loans. You may consider expressing concerns regarding the terms of the loan but be careful in providing advice or getting too involved. Unless the loan agreement and/or the loaner’s actions are illegal, these are two adults who made a contract presumably outside of work. Your focus is on ensuring the workplace is a safe and productive environment.

When you meet with the loaner, again focus on his inappropriate actions and behavior. Hear his side of the story. Be clear that harassment of any kind is prohibited and any behavior of that nature must stop immediately. Mention specific examples of inappropriate behavior. If you have an anti-harassment or bullying policy then refer to it. Let him know that any intimidating or aggressive behavior is completely unacceptable in the workplace and any further occurrences will result in disciplinary action. Depending upon his actions either now or in the future, termination may be warranted.

Let’s say that the loaner is asking the loanee every day to repay the money he borrowed. This may be pervasive and a nuisance but it doesn’t reach the level of intimidation or harassment. In this case, making the loaner aware that his behavior is inappropriate and a distraction at work and that it must stop should suffice.

However, let’s say the loaner is waiting for the loanee at his car every night with a group of “friends” or the loaner is repeatedly verbally assaulting the loanee or the loaner has threatened physical violence. These types of behavior warrant termination.

Remember to document the meetings and follow up on the situation.


This entry was posted on Monday, June 19th, 2017 at 8:21 pm and is filed under
Human Resources Management.
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