Dear Annie: I have worked in the same office for 18 years. For many years, there were five of us in our division: three women and two men. One of the men left for a different job a year ago, and he was replaced by a woman, “Carla,” who is very difficult to work with. In fact, I’m convinced that she is a liar and a troublemaker. The only man left in our division, “Fred,” is quiet and shy but fundamentally a very kind man. He has never married, and I don’t ever remember him going on a date. He lives with his mother, goes to church and does not seem to have a lot of other activities.

Carla claimed that Fred asked her on a date, which I found difficult to believe. She then claimed that Fred committed sexual assault on her, which I found impossible to believe. She reported her claims to human resources, and they investigated. Poor Fred. I thought he was going to have a heart attack!

It turns out that the most aggressive they found him to be was to agree to give Carla a ride home after work one day when her car was in the shop. He said he dropped her off and went home to have dinner with his mother, and his mother backed up his story. Carla made up all kinds of scary stuff, and anyone who knows Fred knows those things didn’t happen. Human resources concluded that they had no proof of any wrongdoing, so they let the matter go. They encouraged Carla to file a police report if she wanted the matter investigated. She declined to do so. I am determined to get rid of Carla. I used to love my job, but now I dread going to work because I have to interact with her every day. I can only imagine how Fred feels. The two other women in our division agree with Fred and me and don’t want anything to do with Carla. Do you have any advice for us?

— Dreading Carla

Dear Dreading Carla: My advice is for the four of you to visit the human resources manager of your company. You can ask that Carla be fired, or, at a minimum, moved to another department. Explain how awkward your work has become because of this drama queen. Sexual assault allegations are not to be taken lightly, and it seems like your human resources department did their due diligence.

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