What can I do about a sick person who insists on coming to work?
January 15, 2013 7:32 PM Subscribe
My clearly ill coworker refuses to go home.
posted by anonymous to health & fitness (58 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
My coworker is very clearly ill and has been all week. She coughs - no exaggeration - almost constantly. She is obviously congested, she said she was "really bad" this weekend with fever and fatigue. She finally left early (but only an hour early!) yesterday after infecting the office with her coughing all day. I told her not to come back today if she still feels ill because I really don't want to get the flu. She said she didn't want to make me sick. She was there today, same thing. I asked her if she at least had antibacterial hand sanitizer at her desk and she said no.
Multiple people have told her to go home and says she has stuff to do, she's not contagious, etc. As she is on my team, I know there is nothing she has to do that either we couldn't do ourselves or that could wait. However, I am not her manager so I can't force her to leave. People have asked our manager to have her leave and he said he's been telling her and she won't go. So he would have to force her to go, which I think he's reluctant to do because she can be difficult about some things (whole different story). I thought about calling HR, but I like my manager (as well as my coworker, who is otherwise excellent) and as I can't report it anonymously, I don't want to be the one stirring the pot.
I'm relatively certain she will be in tomorrow. If she still seems unwell, I am going to point blank ask her to please go home. She will likely refuse again. What can I do at that point? I am already washing my hands a lot and I may tell her not to come near my desk or give me any of the paperwork she normally does because I have never had the flu and I really, really do not want to get it. Or maybe I'm overreacting and if so, please let me know. It would be one thing if it were just a cold, which I wouldn't really care about, but I am a little aggravated that someone who is obviously sick would knowingly spread their germs around when it's something that could be potentially bad like the flu.
Fwiw, I got a flu shot, but the doctor says it can take two weeks to become effective. Also, she is hourly but I know she has PTO.