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to be angry with contagious flu colleague for not calling in sick when I'm pregnant?

(122 Posts)
Evie2014 Thu 20-Mar-14 16:12:31

On Tuesday one of my colleagues was very obviously unwell- coughing, sneezing and snuffling. She's a bit of a workplace martyr, and was clearly enjoying the attention she was getting for coughing and spluttering all over the place. I was only in her company for one meeting on Tuesday.

However, I knew that she and I would have to spend all day Wednesday (yesterday) in an enclosed space working together with three other people on a project. I am 26 weeks pregnant with twins. I tried to ask her tactfully to stay at home if she was sick but she insisted she would come to work.

She came to work yesterday, and coughed and phlegmed all over us while making a big deal about how sick she was and how hard it had been to come to work. She asked everyone for Panadol and explained that she had a temperature and that she was trying to bring it down.

I tried to move as far away from her as possible within the confined space, explaining that because of being preggo my immune system is not operating at full capacity. She said "Oh that's okay, I'm not offended," in a tone of voice that suggested she WAS offended. So I gathered that I wasn't giving her the attention/praise she wanted; it was fine for her to advertise the fact that she was sick but not for me to react by moving away. (Not that it did any good at all, mind you.)

Eventually she went off home an hour early with the solicitous good wishes of everyone at work. (Having made sure everyone knew exactly how sick she was.) Fine. Whatever gets you the attention you clearly can't get any other way. She called in sick today and we got someone to fill in and worked perfectly well without her.

I've only now got really annoyed with her, though, because I just came home from work achy and sore with streaming eyes and the beginning of a runny nose. I am really worried I've caught her cold/flu/whatever. I'm really cross because in my current state I can't take any medicine for a cold, plus the last cold I got while preggers took almost four weeks to clear up because the old immune system is buggered. It will be shitty enough to have the burden of a cold and scary if I start running a temperature.

I'm freelance. My colleague is employed by the company and so entitled to sick leave. I'm half-smiling at myself because I'm a complete have-to-drag-yourself-to-work-whatever-the-pain person myself, as a previous thread proves. However if I was really contagious and running a temperature I would think twice about locking myself in a room with no fresh air for a whole day with a woman who had a high-ish-risk pregnancy. I think that's actually completely selfish.

Fingers crossed I'm just tired and cranky, not actually coming down with something, but AIBU to be really cross with my colleague?

Losthearts Thu 20-Mar-14 16:17:07

YANBU but I suspect lots of people will think YABU

WooWooOwl Thu 20-Mar-14 16:18:12

It's selfish to come into work when you are very contagious anyway, I don't think your pregnancy is at all relevant to that. Other people are likely to have just as valid reasons why they don't want to get sick.

SelectAUserName Thu 20-Mar-14 16:18:27

If she was coughing, sneezing and spluttering it's a cold, not flu so that's something. I know a lot of remedies are contra-indicated in pregnancy but can you take paracetamol?

It sucks that you've caught it and especially from a workplace martyr but being pragmatic I guess you can't hope to avoid everyone with something contagious for the whole nine months. Perhaps if it happens again raise your concerns with your manager, and make sure it has been noted on your risk assessment?

YANBU - I hate workplace martyrs like this. How does spreading your flu around the whole department = efficiency and good team work.

NurseyWursey Thu 20-Mar-14 16:21:11


A lot of people can't afford to be off work though sad

sleeplessbunny Thu 20-Mar-14 16:21:53

It really pisses me off when people come into work sick. You can almost see it fly round the office. It's just rude IMO, whether your colleagues are pregnant or not.

MyChemicalGerard Thu 20-Mar-14 16:21:56

I do think YABU. The world is full of viruses and infections. We have moved on from the old days of locking away lepers. Even if they didn't come in the virus is still present in the air and in many people without them displaying any obvious symptoms so the chances are you would have already caught it around the same time as her before she started to get symptoms. The world carries on people should not be taking time off for silly little things, as for the vulnerable people they will catch sickness anyway.

BadztMaru Thu 20-Mar-14 16:22:15

I can see why you're annoyed but would she get paid if she took a sick day?
I have to work if I'm ill or I can't buy food etc
If I got sick pay I'd stay home

fanoftheinvisibleman Thu 20-Mar-14 16:27:47

If she was capable of hauling her backside out of bed to even get dressed she did not have flu.

I think YABU tbh, can you imagine how much the sick pay bill would be if everyone took the entire time off sick from work whilst they were suffering from cold symptoms?

Pumpkinpositive Thu 20-Mar-14 16:27:57

YANBU in principle but there is something in your tone that is a bit unpleasant and martyrish.

And as for "preggo" and "preggers"... hmm

JennyOnAPlate Thu 20-Mar-14 16:28:01

I can absolutely see why you don't want to catch it but I'm afraid YABU. If everyone took time off when they caught a cold (and it isn't flu, if it was she wouldnt have been able to contemplate getting to work) the country would come to a stand still.

charlietangoteakettlebarbeque Thu 20-Mar-14 16:29:36

I really, really can't stand when people do this at work.

Fuck off home with your germs.

I am currently off with a cold because the martyr woman who sits opposite me came in on Tuesday and proceeded to cough and splutter all over everyone.

I would rather stay home. Get myself better, without inflicting my germs on the whole office. I don't get paid for sickness but I feel so strongly that you should stay off if you're ill, that I am willing to forego my days wage and work back the hours slowly over the next few weeks.

The fact that this woman knew you were pregnant and still came in is beyond selfish. She thinks she is so great for making it in when she's so ill. Not so. She is an arse.

Its funny that people post YABU here, but if were a healthy seeming but still contagious child being sent to school the guilty parent would ne virtually accused of the murder of theoretical children with compromised immune systems and the homelessness of families who might have a child contract the illness and have to be kept off, resulting in hypothetical situation in which a parent of such a cross infected child lost their job for taking time off...

MostWicked Thu 20-Mar-14 16:30:30

I don't see how your pregnancy is relevant.
It's not always easy to take time off sick. Most work places have a limited amount of time that you can take off before losing pay or facing disciplinary action.
She has a cold (not flu), you could contract it anywhere, and although annoying, it won't put you at any risk.

JabberJabberJay Thu 20-Mar-14 16:31:27

I'm in two minds about this. Sometimes no work = no pay so unless they physically can't get up, some people has no option but to soldier on. On the other, it clearly isn't fair to spread a virus around a whole workplace. I do think that somebody who is obviously unwell and has a temperature should not come into work. I don't think the fact that you're pregnant should have much to do with it though TBH.

She didn't have flu though. If you genuinely have flu then moving from your bed is an impossibly. Still, it sounds like a nasty cold.

charlietangoteakettlebarbeque Thu 20-Mar-14 16:33:08

Although saying that, you could have refused to sit in the same room as her and taken a days leave

MyChemicalGerard Thu 20-Mar-14 16:33:45

The world is a contagious place...maybe buy a bubble to live in so you will never be infected ever...actually that sounds so much fun as well!

shallweshop Thu 20-Mar-14 16:34:42

Sorry but I think YABU. People can't just call in sick every time they have a cold and the cold virus is everywhere so you can't avoid it. If its proper flu then presumably you have had a flu vaccination as you are pregnant?

Losthearts Thu 20-Mar-14 16:34:44

Fuck off home with your germs

Yes, I agree

AuntieMaggie Thu 20-Mar-14 16:36:26


Our company actually asks people not to come in if they have these symptoms because they spread it to others and then more sick days are lost as more employees have to take time off.

Pisses me off that people are that selfish when they get sick pay not just because you're pregnant but also the person they give it to could have other reasons for not wanting it such as family members with reduced immunity etc. Its a bit different in a wide open space but in an enclosed space its just not on.

Pawprint Thu 20-Mar-14 16:36:59

Have the flu jab (assuming you have not got flu and you actually have a cold).

Drives me mad when smug, germ infested martyrs come into work and give everyone else their fucking germs.

ormirian Thu 20-Mar-14 16:37:06

I don't think it can have been all that bad as she was in work. A cough and a snotty nose isn't all that bad really, just unpleasant.

Hope your cold clears up quickly.

Sirzy Thu 20-Mar-14 16:37:20

It's annoying but people can't really take time off every time they have a cold.

MammaTJ Thu 20-Mar-14 16:37:29

YANBU but did you not have the flu jab?

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