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WIBU to speak to manager about colleagues coming into work when they are s

(64 Posts)
candycoatedwaterdrops Mon 30-Jan-17 12:46:38

I have a primary immunodeficiency, as well as taking immunosuppressive medication for an autoimmune condition. I also have other complex health problems and I am disabled as defined by the Equality Act.

My manager has begun to make "you're off sick a lot" comments and talking about an Occy Health referral and further adjustments, which I understand and have accepted. I totally see it from their view and have nothing bad to say about my employer. I'm nowhere near official disciplinary stages, although I worry that I am edging towards that if my health doesn't improve

I'm a bit miffed at colleagues who insist on coming into the office when they are clearly unwell. I'm not talking about simple colds. They come in, cough, splutter and moan about their temperatures whilst looking hideous but refuse any suggestion that they should be at home. Frustratingly, people come in with stomach bugs too. I wouldn't mind but we are encouraged to work from home, so they don't have to be in the office. I totally understand that my colleagues have responsibilities and bills to pay

I don't know what I would gain from telling my manager this because he is aware that people come in when they shouldn't. I just feel like he should be aware that sometimes I am catching bugs from fellow colleagues.

I'm totally 50-50 on whether I should even say the words; "I am catching infections from colleagues". I'm open to being told I'm BU. I'm also keen to hear suggestions from other people who've been in my shoes. I really love my job and I'd hate not to work. Mentally, it's really important to me.

candycoatedwaterdrops Mon 30-Jan-17 12:47:31

I didn't notice that my title was too long, obviously the last word is 'sick'.

OlennasWimple Mon 30-Jan-17 12:48:14

I would tell him what you have just put in your OP

harderandharder2breathe Mon 30-Jan-17 12:53:56


Your colleagues aren't choosing whether to come in or lose pay in which cause I could understand. They're choosing whether to come in or work from home and are still selfishly coming in spreading germs.

If people lose pay or have disciplinary action for sickness I do understand why they come in. But that is not the case here as they could work from home and still get paid and not put your health at risk

Awwlookatmybabyspider Mon 30-Jan-17 12:54:00

I sympathise. I really do. However. People are too scared to take time off.. Too many days off and any sacking matches its bye bye to them.
And sadly the law allows them to do that.

FairyDogMother11 Mon 30-Jan-17 13:00:29

One of my colleagues came into work yesterday with a sickness bug. I have Type 1 Diabetes and if I catch the bug from her, I'll be very very unwell. I could end up in hospital dehydrated/in DKA. She says she couldn't afford to take a day off but I don't see how she thinks anyone else can afford it when everyone else catches it as well. We also work in a food establiment which only makes things worse! YANBU.

RhodaBorrocks Mon 30-Jan-17 13:11:26

Hi OP I have the same problem. I'm chronically immune suppressed following having a transplant (not on treatment now but my immune system has been wrecked by the drugs - we're looking into whether I might have secondary immunodeficiency). I'm going through a disciplinary process at the moment.

There's no option to work from home where I am and the absence policy is such that no one wants to take time off - they get paid, but if they're off more than 4 times they'll be disciplined too.

Tbh I don't know what I can do. They know people come in sick. But while they come in with coughs and colds, I end up with throat infections, chest infections and ear infections. I've had 2 courses of antibiotics since 1st January and I'm still coughing and have a temperature.

I'm hoping OH will assess me as fit for work (again - they always have in the past), because the DWP won't find me unfit. And it won't matter where I work - if I'm in an office with others, I'll catch their germs.

Immunological problems are tough because people can't see them, and to others it looks like you're just off with a cold, but they don't see the high temperatures, the inability to get out of bed, just how hard these infections take control.

By all means, tell your manager, but if it like my job you'll be told there's nothing they can do and you should just 'try harder' to come in and/or be well.

hollinhurst84 Mon 30-Jan-17 13:14:31

I'm currently on a sickness stage, I can't go off sick or I could be dismissed. My sickness triggers won't be raised and they can't stop colleagues coming in sick
I'm immunosuppressive and severely neutropenic sad

RhodaBorrocks Mon 30-Jan-17 13:14:40

Oh and I'm at work with a stomach bug today because if I take any more time off I will lose my job. I know IABCU but I'm using plenty of soap, hot water and antibacterial hand gel and scrubbing the loo every time I use it. I also already don't share the office crockery or cutlery and bring my own.

mickeysminnie Mon 30-Jan-17 13:22:55

If can work from home would it be possible to talk to your colleagues and ask them to let you know if they are ill so that YOU can then work from home?

OnionKnight Mon 30-Jan-17 13:26:38

But the OP's colleagues can WFH, so why are they coming into the office? They can WFH instead of taking the day off as sick.

TheMysteriousJackelope Mon 30-Jan-17 13:27:02

Definitely talk to your manager about it because they may not realize exactly what the knock on effect is for you and how bad the infections can be.

When someone is sick at work could you wear a surgical mask to prevent you breathing in germs? Can you wear latex gloves? Can your desk be moved to a more isolated area? Can you have a window open near you to help dilute germs in the air you are breathing? Can you have equipment that only you use? I feel bad suggesting this but I think you are going to have this problem wherever you work. I know at my last place one man had 10 years without a missed day because he'd come in no matter how sick he was. Everyone else was dropping like flies from his flu and vomiting bugs while he crawled around doing his job at the speed of a sloth. It caused a lot of bad feeling.

dannydyerismydad Mon 30-Jan-17 13:45:44

Fairy I'm disgusted by your colleague and would be tempted to report to environmental health.

There have been cases of outbreaks of d&v traced back to particular food establishments and the consequences are severe. She's incredibly selfish.

cdtaylornats Mon 30-Jan-17 13:53:57

Having the ability to work from home doesn't mean the conditions are right for them to do that.

I would have thought that it would have been safer for the OP to work from home and me more in control of contacts.

Amaried Mon 30-Jan-17 13:56:07

Honestly in your position I definitely wouldn't approach your manager . In my company there is a unspoken rule that you come in as long as you are not on deaths door, People who take a day off for what are deemed not serious illness's are absolutely judged by management,
If you are approached by your manager about your sickness record, I would absolutely raise it then and cite specific examples but given your sickness record, I don't think I would raise it first but that's just from where I'm sitting in my company, Others may be a lot more accomadating.

FairyDogMother11 Mon 30-Jan-17 14:02:35

danny I wholeheartedly agree, it's ridiculously selfish. We all know what the risks are and what can happen and it's like she just doesn't care about anyone else.

Astoria7974 Mon 30-Jan-17 14:02:41

Let occupational health know. Keep a diary of names, dates, and your own sickness. And let management know so they can amend their policies. We've had to do something similar as a guy who just returned from leukemia treatment has been laid out for three months following an idiot coming in with d&v. From now on people who come into work when sick can be punished under gross misconduct procedures - but everyone has the ability to work from home so no excuses.

Moreisnnogedag Mon 30-Jan-17 14:02:43

I know you shouldn't have to but is full time wfh an option for you?

LiviaDrusillaAugusta Mon 30-Jan-17 14:09:57

Most places at which I have worked have kicked off about people being off sick so even if your colleagues work from home, you will still come into contact with people in the street who are ill.

Also the 24/48 hour rule has never applied to anywhere I have worked - if you finish throwing up at 3.00 am, you are expected to be in the office the next day!

And some things are contagious before they are symptomatic

Are you able to work from home more often? I know you shouldn't have to but it might be the only real solution.

candycoatedwaterdrops Mon 30-Jan-17 14:17:50

Thanks for your thoughts. I appreciate the honesty. My gut feeling is to say nothing to my manager because, although they can be germy fuckers, I do like my colleagues. Overall, my work place and work mates are great people. I don't want to jeopardise that.

I do work from home more than I did. I'm fine with this and it suits me better. I get more done because I don't have a commute, so I start earlier and finish later. It's win win for everyone. I do occasionally need to be in the office and I like the interactions with others as you can get lonely WFH all the time. That said, over the last few months, I have mainly based myself at home. I think it's worse because it's winter.

WicksEnd Mon 30-Jan-17 14:19:55

I share your frustration, unfortunately sickness policies mean people drag themselves in when they're not fit. I am also type 1, I carry a Vicks first defence nasal spray with me so at the very first sign of a sniffle/sore throat, I squirt it up my nose and touch wood I haven't had a single cold so far this winter. I have anti bac on my desk and work in very large open plan office, (also deal with general public) so use it several times a day

I draw the line at a mask and gloves though! shock

I know if I needed it though my trigger point for disciplinary can be extended under the equality act and I would most definitely bring it up in your meeting. Your manager has a responsibility to ensure his/her staff are fit to be at work, you may want to mention that too.

Dizzybintess Mon 30-Jan-17 14:24:43

I once has swine flu dud to a selfish bint who came in with it despite the company telling people to stay away with swine flu. she was on a target but had been told swine flu didn't count. I'm asthmatic and I ended up sat outside a hospital while a nurse in a mask came to the bench outside to give me a prescription. I couldn't breathe and most medical places had stated to stay away. I genuinely thought I was going to die!

joystir59 Mon 30-Jan-17 14:24:57

I don't think you should say anything to your manager. It seems you are managing your health very well by working from home when possible. It seems that you have reached the best all round resolution and I wouldn't rock the boat if I were you.

shovetheholly Mon 30-Jan-17 14:26:11

I would raise it, not least because you say homeworking is encouraged.

Sometimes these things can be cultural. Person A comes in deathly sick, and then person B, a week later, thinks "God, I'm ill, but this is the same cold as Person A had, and they were in, so I'd better go in too". Sometimes a clear steer from management about staying at home when unwell can work wonders in allowing people to feel that they can actually take up that offer. Having someone like you to provide a strong reason can be liberating for everyone.

The other thing is that, since your sick record is a bit of an issue for your boss, I am not sure you can afford not to raise it.

Helbelle75 Mon 30-Jan-17 14:29:39

I'm very much with you on this. I'm 30 weeks pregnant and work in a school. Both students and colleagues come in when they're ill and i'my catching everything going at the moment, so have had lots of time off. Any illness can potentially be harmful the baby, so it makes me really cross.
People are inconsiderate, but schools and employers have a really dim view of illness and absence. It's a funny world we live in.

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