Author Topic: Bringing a sick child to work  (Read 5860 times)

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goddessofpeep

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Bringing a sick child to work
« on: January 28, 2012, 03:54:46 PM »
A friend of mine is having an issue at work, and I was hoping someone could give me a bit of advice to pass on to her.

My friend works in a family run company.  Her father runs it, and a good percentage of her family works there also.   Yesterday her brother brought his daughter to work while she was sick with the stomach flu.  There is only one bathroom, and the kid was occupying it for a good percentage of the day.   She spent the rest of the day lying on her dad's office floor in misery while he worked.  It seems that certain family members in the company think that it's fine to bring a sick child into the work place because "it's just family" who work there.  This has happened before, and my friend is very, very angry about this.   So were several other coworkers, but nobody wanted to confront the offender because not only was he one of the highest bosses, but the owner wasn't sympathetic about this either.  And it's all family, so there's all sorts of family history going on.

Unfortunately, the people who believe that it's ok to expose everyone to whatever their kid has brought home are also the ones in charge.  My friend's father is firmly of the "just suck it up and get back to work" mentality, so it will be difficult to approach him about this.  The brother who did it this time is one of the office managers, and he sees absolutely nothing wrong with this.  I find it absolutely amazing that he sees nothing wrong with dragging a sick child out of bed and forcing them to spend the day lying on the floor in his office, let alone exposing coworkers and members of his own family to illness, but he just doesn't get it.   Most of the other people in charge don't get it either.  My friend is not management, so she has no say over office policy.

Also, since it's a fully family run business, anything she says can have some serious personal repercussions.   She did reply to a facebook post by the wife of the brother who brought in the sick child.  The original post was something to the effect of "isn't it great my husband works for a family company so he doesn't have to miss work due to our sick daughter!"   My friend was quite delicate about it, so the message probably didn't penetrate. 

It's a big mess since it's family as well as a work issue.  Does anyone have any advice on how to politely approach the bosses to stop this "it's family, so it's ok to bring sick children to the office" idea without causing serious problems in her work AND family life?  It's happened before, and not just with this brother.  Unfortunately the other people who are doing it are also in management positions. 

WillyNilly

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Re: Bringing a sick child to work
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2012, 04:08:43 PM »
I doubt there is much anyone can say. But everyone could call in on Monday unable to come in to work because they caught a stomach flu. If it happens a few times management will realise its better to lose 1 employee for a day or two then several employees for a day or two and policies will change.

NyaChan

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Re: Bringing a sick child to work
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2012, 04:16:28 PM »
I doubt there is much anyone can say. But everyone could call in on Monday unable to come in to work because they caught a stomach flu. If it happens a few times management will realise its better to lose 1 employee for a day or two then several employees for a day or two and policies will change.

I agree - if the people who make the decisions are fine with this policy, saying something will have no effect. 

Surianne

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Re: Bringing a sick child to work
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2012, 04:21:08 PM »
I agree...it seems management is in favour of the policy.  They probably consider it a perk of working at a family business, not a negative.  You'd have to change the whole culture of the business, it sounds like. 

I do love WillyNilly's idea of everyone calling in sick with the flu afterward. 

DoubleTrouble

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Re: Bringing a sick child to work
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2012, 10:41:42 PM »
I doubt there is much anyone can say. But everyone could call in on Monday unable to come in to work because they caught a stomach flu. If it happens a few times management will realise its better to lose 1 employee for a day or two then several employees for a day or two and policies will change.

And considering how contagious stomach flu is, I won't be surprised if no one had to make up a illness next week. DS2 got exposed to a stomach flu on a Monday, came down with it on Wednesday & passed it to 6 other people by Sunday including DH who wasn't even in the same state as us until Saturday & did everything he could to avoid getting it.

TheVapors

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Re: Bringing a sick child to work
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2012, 11:11:16 PM »
I doubt there is much anyone can say. But everyone could call in on Monday unable to come in to work because they caught a stomach flu. If it happens a few times management will realise its better to lose 1 employee for a day or two then several employees for a day or two and policies will change.

POD. It sounds like their minds have been made up, and don't want to hear about how gross it is.

This is a real "squick" issue for me. If it were me, I'd have to take a "illness prevention" day off just to get away from the office in that situation. And then bring a big bottle of disinfectant to dump over the whole bathroom when I got back in the next day.

Steve

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Re: Bringing a sick child to work
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2012, 09:32:40 AM »
All this, and somehow I only get the picture of the poor kid lying on the floor of that office.

I could not care less about the bugs everyone gets exposed to, the company policy or the fact that the bathroom is occupied a lot, but that poor kid really gets to me.



bah12

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Re: Bringing a sick child to work
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2012, 02:33:23 PM »
If this is something that company leadership ok's with policy and such, then it's an unfortunate case of company culture not matching up with an employee's (or plural).

I don't think it would be out of line for several employees to bring up their concern about having sick children at work...it opens employees to getting sick, not to mention the distraction from doing actual work.  But, if the ownership isn't willing to change policies, then there's nothing that can be done outside of finding another job.

bopper

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Re: Bringing a sick child to work
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2012, 09:34:13 AM »
Not sure what kind of work is done, but could you try:

"Boss, is it okay if I work from home today?  With the big TPS Report coming up, I can't afford to get sick with what little Timmy has. "

Show how it will impact business.

O'Dell

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Re: Bringing a sick child to work
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2012, 10:22:30 AM »
I'd start laying it on thick with concern for the kid. "Poor kid! So sick and stuck sleeping on an office floor and running to the bathroom in front of all these people? Nephew must be miserable! Why put him thru that, Brother? Why didn't you just stay home with him? Dad? Can't Brother take Nephew home so Nephew can sleep in his own bed and get better? It's a family business and all but the kids aren't on the payroll...why make them 'suck it up' and be here sick all day?"
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
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ShadesOfGrey

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Re: Bringing a sick child to work
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2012, 10:37:03 AM »
If she really thinks nobody will have a problem with it, then she needs to start sticking up for herself by working from home - with pay. 

I would start by addressing it - and telling the big boss that there really needs to be a policy - even day cares have policies for the benefit of all the other kids, etc. If, after a rational discussion, there's no resolution, then she should either 1) deal with it, or 2) next time someone brings a sick kid into the office, she should pack her stuff up, and leave, quietly. On her way out (with coat on and laptop in hand), she should stop by boss' office and calmly & matter-of-factly let him know that she cant afford to get sick, so she will be working from home until the sick child has returned home. Then she walks out without another word to anyone - literally. At *most*  a pleasant "working from  home today, you can catch me on email or by phone if you need me."  and then she calmly leaves and returns in just the same fashion. 

If the benefit of working for family is that you can bring a sick child in, then the benefit of working for family is that you can pull a stunt like that.  Good luck to her!
Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning. - Maya Angelou

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Carpathia

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Re: Bringing a sick child to work
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2012, 04:02:45 PM »
How horrible for that poor child; so low down on his parent's list of priorities that one of them can't even take a single day off work to have him tucked up in his own bed with a familiar bathroom nearby. I'm really horrified by that  :'(
I feel sorry for your friend and other employees too, it's very unfair on them. I would suggest she speak to other people and see if they can't approach one of the higher-up bosses as a group. I would have thought that management wouldn't like to see their ill grandchildren/nieces/nephews etc forced to lie on an office floor all day. If they want to be able to bring sick kids to work they need to equip a sickroom where the kid can be at least partway comfortable and away from other people.

Kaypeep

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Re: Bringing a sick child to work
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2012, 04:13:15 PM »
I like the calling out sick idea very much, assuming your friend has the time and inclination.

Another option is to address the bathroom issue.  Perhaps couch it as "I'm very grateful for the benefit of letting us bring our kids to work when they are unwell, but I've spotted a problem in that we only have one bathroom here and we had a problem with little Timmy last week when his illness forced him to spend a lot of time occupying the restroom while workers had no where to go.  Can we come up with a solution to this so that it doesn't happen in the future?  Several of us were quite uncomfortable because they couldn't go, and I don't wish to go through that again."

gingerzing

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Re: Bringing a sick child to work
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2012, 04:18:29 PM »
I am not sure how your friend should bring it up, but I am another one that was sitting her thinking, "Poor kidlet" It is bad enough being sick, and even worse when you aren't in your own bed with some 7-up and able to snooze while the TV is on cartoons.  But to be curled up on the floor?  We have decent offices here but no floors that I would want to sleep on. 
Never mind taking the only bathroom for a long time (and spreading the crud in that confinded area.) 
I like the comments of working from home, if possible. 

And if I followed correctly, the sick kiddo was the owner's grandson?  And somehow this is okay? 

Bibliophile

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Re: Bringing a sick child to work
« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2012, 04:22:56 PM »
Company leadership is her dad.  She should be able to have a private discussion with her dad about this.  Write it out before hand and bring up rational reasons why it's not a good idea to bring the contagion into the office to infect the rest of the family/staff.

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