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To feel angry at partner's employers and their blatant disregard for the health of their workers?

(13 Posts)
Sophrosyne1 Tue 11-Aug-09 09:07:29

My partner, who works for a large IT firm, received an email addressed to all employees stating that 'as everyone is likely to contract swine flu this autumn, employees who are displaying flu like symptoms should come into work regardless.' hmm My partner can't understand why I am livid about their blatant disregard for the health of their employees and their families. We have a one year old (with a very slight heart defect) and I am already worried about her as I am a teacher and she attends nursery part-time. I know the disease is usually mild but there must be pregnant employees at the company, people with underlying health problems and others who might be affected by this irresponsible policy.

I have looked into the Health and Safety Executive and NHS guidelines and this completely flies in the face of what they recommend. I feel like contacting them myself but my partner definitely wouldn't want to rock the boat as they have made many redundancies this year. I know that times are tough for businesses but this doesn't mean they can play Russian roulette with people's health, does it?

flashharriet Tue 11-Aug-09 09:10:21

That is completely ridiculous angry. So all those employees are going to travel to and from work infecting people as they go? I would send the email by post with any identifying info cut off, to absolutely anyone I could think of - press, MP, union, local NHS Trust etc etc

sleeplessinstretford Tue 11-Aug-09 09:16:31

forward it to the papers and have done with it...
let their pr department have to deal with the repercussions of it.
I do think you might be being slightly hysterical though by the way,both myself and dd1 have holes in our hearts,i am not planning on staying in isolation over the coming 12months just in case.

welshdeb Tue 11-Aug-09 09:52:40

I don't think the SF thing has been handled well by govt media or employers.

There was a lot of media hsteria at the outset.

Yes it is a very serious illness for someone with other health problems, but so are other illnesses.

However with the fact that its being diagnosed over the phone and people were being told to take a week off work, its inevitable that some people would take advantage. Maybe your husband's employer has had a lot of problems with absenteeism. I think there is a hige difference between flu like sympoms and the actual SF, and I don't think that anyone with it (genuinely) would physically be able to get to work for at least a few days, and this is probably an insensitive way of drawing a line in the sand for the shirkers rather than anyone actually suffering. However it is worrying if they are atutally going against issued advice.

But saying that my boss's son had symtoms last week he phoned in and was told by our immediate line manager that as long as he wasn't showing any signs of it he had to come in to work or take annual leave.

To give you my personal experiences my dd has had a few instances of viral infections since the outbreak started and I am sure that on at least 2 of these ocasions if I had rung the help line there was a good chance she may have been diagnosed, - very high temp, sore throat, headache, fatigue etc all classc "flu like" symptoms but also many other viruses. As it is she has recovered in both cases with 48 hour rest clapol and neurofen and I am convinced it was not the SF.

Unfortunatley the media and public panic has backfired and people like you unfortunately are affected.

Notalone Tue 11-Aug-09 10:03:52

YANBU - my friend had SF quite badly. However it started off with a cold and she got very ill very quickly on the second day of the illlness. She is a very fit and active 26 year old with no health problems but she said at one point she thought she was going to die with it as she collpased on the floor while trying to be sick. If it hadn't been for her husband getting her upright and to the toilet it could have been a lot worse.

I am not sure what you could do though to make it any better though - especially as you are worried about redundancy. I think as Welshdeb said, those who genuinely have SF will not be able to come in. However it will stop those trying a fast one so maybe this is the idea all along?

Sophrosyne1 Tue 11-Aug-09 10:07:14

I don't think I'm being 'slightly hysterical', I'm aware the illness is generally mild but surely the less we spread it about the better? If people are ill they should staff off work rather than spreading their germs around. That's just common sense, isn't it?

Sophrosyne1 Tue 11-Aug-09 10:08:52

stay off work... doh!

sleeplessinstretford Tue 11-Aug-09 10:23:27

of course it's common sense if you have symptoms but as someone else has said on this thread-there are seasonal colds and bugs going round which could be diagnosed,over the phone,by someone not qualified to do so-unless you are planning to be 'the boy in the plastic bubble' then chances are if it's that virulent and that widespread you will get it.
anyone with actual flu would be unlikely to be able to get to work though so it's a bit of a misnomer really. have you ever had flu?i had it once and was unable to stand up or hold a cup as the joints in my toes and hands hurt that much,i could no more have gone to work or left the house than i can fly to the moon.

Longtalljosie Tue 11-Aug-09 10:59:28

Swine flu or not, if you have flu-like symptoms, you should be off sick.

edam Tue 11-Aug-09 11:06:07

The employer is ridiculous. Is your partner in a union? Would think the MSF might cover his industry.

If not, he could join and then seek advice, or you might consider sending the email in confidence to the Health and Safety Executive.

edam Tue 11-Aug-09 11:10:44

(But I'd phone the HSE beforehand for advice about how to handle it and confidentiality.)

Satsuma1 Tue 11-Aug-09 11:40:10

Wow, that's very strange.

The company I work for has made it very clear that anyone with any symptoms is absolutely NOT to come into work. I've had a cold over the weekend and had to call HR for permission to go into the office tomorrow.

I don't think YABU to be concerned, I would seek advice as others have already said.

Sophrosyne1 Tue 11-Aug-09 13:26:43

Partner is not in a union and, to be honest, if I start going on about this situation will probably say I am being unreasonable (we have quite different political views and he likes to wind me up by calling me a communist wink), I will have to leave it up to him to fight (or not) his own battles. If it were my employer...it would be a different kettle of fish entirely grin. I suppose I just wondered if I was alone in thinking the policy was out of order really.

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