Ask Natalie by Natalie Bencivenga

Office Tension After Legal Issues

DEAR NATALIE: I had some issues with a woman I worked with. She claimed I was harassing her, and she took me to court. The judge saw through it, though, and I was found not guilty of the charges. The only problem is -- well, there are two issues -- is that we still work in the same building. Of course, we have no contact, and I worry that she has told my boss about what happened. Now that the situation is resolved, should I tell my boss that I was found not guilty? I have no way of knowing if she talked to her, but I am worried that she did. Should I ask the woman who filed suit against me if she did tell my boss? Or is that going to create a whole new set of issues? -- FREE AND CLEAR

DEAR FREE AND CLEAR: Without knowing the whole situation, it is still safe to say that you should not approach the woman that you had legal issues with at work. Regardless of what happened between you two, keeping your distance from her is the best thing for everyone involved. (And, come on, why would you want to flame the fire after it has started to die down?) 

As far as your boss is concerned, don't say anything unless you are sure that she knows what happened and it is affecting your work relationship in a negative way. If she doesn't know about it and you bring it up, you may be opening a can of worms. Be glad that this mess is behind you and move forward in the spirit of gratefulness. Also, take some time to reflect on everything that happened, what your role was in the situation and how you can learn from this unfortunate incident so that history doesn't repeat itself. If things become challenging at work -- with having to deal with being around this woman or with your boss -- you may want to consider putting out feelers at other companies and getting a fresh start.

Natalie's Networking Tip of the Week: Be careful what you post on social media. We all enjoy a fun night out, but think about what you are putting out there, who is seeing it and how it could affect you professionally and personally down the road (yet another reason why life was simpler before Facebook).

Please send your relationship and lifestyle questions to nbencivenga@post-gazette.com or tweet them to @NBSeen. You can also send postal letters to Natalie Bencivenga, 358 North Shore Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15212

(This column was originally published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)