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home : columns : dear harriette March 1, 2021

12/11/2020 10:00:00 AM
Coughing co-worker causes concern

DEAR HARRIETTE: I work in a call center with close cubicles. My employer has upgraded them by adding plastic guards between each of us, and we are required to wear masks in cooperation in stopping the spread of the pandemic. But there is this one co-worker that is insensitive to the pandemic. She sits right next to me, and to my knowledge, she does have allergies. She has often come to the office coughing and sneezing but says she is not sick. This past week, she was sitting at her desk and walking around the office with her mask not covering her nose, only her mouth.

I feel that she should be more considerate of her co-workers during these sensitive times. I am uncomfortable working near her. Though she may not be truly sick, it is common courtesy to follow the health and safety procedures, and she does not. I just don't think she cares about others becoming sick. How do I approach this situation? Do I say something to her or complain to my supervisor? -- Germy Co-worker

DEAR GERMY CO-WORKER: Go directly to your supervisor. Point out your concerns. Especially now that COVID-19 has once again reached critical highs, you are right to worry about your health and that of your other co-workers and family. Have specific examples of the ways in which this co-worker is violating company policy and safety precautions during COVID-19. Explain that you are doubly concerned because this woman who is not compliant sits next to you. Ask for her to be reprimanded and for either you or her to be moved so that you no longer sit beside each other.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I got a huge bonus from my job recently. I couldn't be happier. I have been working like crazy this year to help my company stay strong during the pandemic. I feel weird, though, because I know that other family members and friends have not had such good fortune.

I want to tell my loved ones, but I don't want to be insensitive. I was also thinking it would be nice to give each of them a monetary gift for Christmas in addition to whatever else I might give, but I don't want to offend anyone. How can I handle this? -- Feeling Generous

DEAR FEELING GENEROUS: Now might be a time to keep awareness of your good fortune to yourself. You should definitely put some of the money away in a savings or investment instrument. I heard Magic Johnson recently say that we should save as much money as we can right now because the future is very much in flux.

But to the point of caring for your family, I think a monetary gift would be welcome, especially if you present it well. Why not write a note to each recipient expressing your love and admiration for them? Enclosed in the note can be cash, a check or a gift card in whatever amount you are prepared to offer. If you are asked how you were able to make that gift, tell them you received a bonus at work and wanted to share it with them.





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