General Etiquette > All In A Day's Work

Now She Thinks I'm A Leper

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I’d like to know if there was an etiquette breach in the following situation.

I posted a couple weeks ago about the coworker I sit next to and her sensitivity to my lotion which, for now, no other conversation has taken place.  But today, she made several comments that kind of made me say to myself, “wow, am I a leper?”

I am suffering from a sinus infection, which I am over the best of it, save for a few sniffles and nose-blowing.  I’m not a honker, I discreetly turn away, bend over slightly and blow my nose if I can’t catch it in time.  Other times, I walk away from my desk and go to a corner and blow.

Coworker has made the following remarks:
“Cookiehappy, are you sick?” (I replied:  Yes, getting past a sinus infection, believe it or not the worst it over and I chuckle)
“Ugh, you need to go home.” (I replied:  I’m fine, not contagious.  Plus, I have reports to finish)
“I’d go home if I were you.” (I replied:  Well, I have to be here, I have work to do)
“Is there anything I can do for you so you can go home?” (I replied:  coworker, you’re making too much of this, please drop it)

EH, it’s not like I am hacking and spewing germs all over the place.  She’s making me to feel as if I can’t even breathe in her direction.

Now, she has taken to staring at me at the slightest sniffle.  I’m thinking of repositioning my monitor so I can face away from her.

Any thoughts?

I'd go straight to HR with this.  You're handling it well, but you've got a drama queen of a cow-orker so I'd bring HR into the loop in case things escalate.

There's a word for what she's doing: Harassment.

I'd tell her once (and only once) that she needs to stop commenting on your health.  If she continues, go to HR.

I would just make sure to be as visible as possible when you take your sanitization measures like washing hands, using wipes on the desk, hand gel, etc.  That way people around you can see that you aren't disregarding the dangers of giving someone what you have.  Your coworker may be acting this way because many people simply don't care that they are sick and show up to school & work anyways.  Sometimes they ARE contagious and do get other people sick.  She has no way of knowing whether you are legitimately okay to be at work.  That said, she is being obnoxious with the repeated nagging, and I think you handled her really well!

For example, at Thanksgiving, my uncle and his family appeared to be fine.  I went home right before finals at my parents' insistence which was insane for me, came back and got sick - I had no no no time to be sick right then and it really messed things up for me.  I then found out from my mom that my uncle and his kids had been sick and decided to come anyways.  We had all been sharing food and camping out on the floor together (the kids, not my uncle).  I was very very upset about it. 

I keep a pump jar of hand sanitizer in the corner of my desk and use it often.  Others use it too as it is on the walkway end of my cube.  She's also seen me use it. 

Since I told her to drop it, she hasn't said anything further, just looking at me.  Which I can ignore.  But if she reverts to making comments, then I will have to speak with someone about it.


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