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“Am I The Jerk For ‘Not Respecting’ My Coworker’s Peanut Allergy?”
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Social Issues, Work5 months ago

“Am I The Jerk For ‘Not Respecting’ My Coworker’s Peanut Allergy?”

Nobody said you have to be friends with your colleagues. For most of us, tolerating them to keep the relationship civil is enough, and genuinely getting along is truly a blessing. But when an annoying coworker fails to manage their emotions and resolve disputes in a professional manner, it’s a one-way ticket to the unnecessary drama that erodes and undermines trust within the team.

In this case, the subject matter that takes center stage is allergies. Reddit user AITA199O reached out to the popular AITA community to ask people for advice after finding themselves in an argument… over a candy dish. It all started when a new employee, Heather, noticed Reese’s peanut butter cups on the user’s desk. She announced being allergic to peanuts and the author assured her she would not buy such candy in the future.

Under normal circumstances, things would have ended there. But instead, Heather started accusing the employee of being insensitive and “not respecting” her condition. What followed led to a heated argument and a lecture from HR that instantly sparked tension in the office. Let’s see the whole incident in full right below, and be sure to weigh in on the discussion in the comments!

This person asks if they were wrong to refuse to get rid of Reese’s cups from their desk since the new employee is highly allergic to peanuts

Image credits: Sarah Sphar (not the actual photo)

After being accused of “not respecting” the coworker’s allergy, they asked the internet to evaluate the situation



Image credits: Ketut Subiyanto (not the actual photo)


Later on, the user added a few updates about the incident








Image credits: AITA199O

At first, the argument between the two coworkers seemed like a minor issue, but the situation went from zero to 100 in a matter of seconds. The story immediately caused a stir on the platform, with some users siding with the author and others deeming they were completely in the wrong.

However, such conflicts are more common than we think. In fact, it’s a given that people disagree at work. Whether between employees or between them and the management, disagreement is an inevitable part of the working environment. But while sometimes little debates are healthy and can lead to more involvement, creating unnecessary tensions can have dire effects on a person’s well-being.

According to a 2014 study by FairWay Resolution, 24% of employees in New Zealand had at least one disagreement or argument at their workplace that was serious enough to impact their ability to do their job. The top types of conflict were all work-related: differences in opinions about how to perform a task (21%), procedures or policies not being followed (17%), and working conditions and hours (14%).

Other top reasons were relationship conflict, particularly personality clashes or bullying (13%) and a bad attitude towards co-workers (10%). Alarmingly, these arguments are negative and unproductive, as they have nothing to do with the actual work and can last either several days or more than one month. “The longer the duration of the conflict, the greater the impact on the directly affected employees’ performance, and the performance of those supporting them from within the workplace,” the report stated.

To gain insight from an expert in the field, we reached out to Sunny Patel, a UK-based career-change coach aiming to help professionals find careers that excite them. According to him, arguments at work are often the result of a lack of communication. “We often take for granted that work is a ‘professional’ space and that the dynamic is shaped by that,” he told Bored Panda.

“In reality, most of us spend more time with colleagues than with friends and family. We’re sharing our space with people for a large amount of time, and communication, boundaries, and clarity are all just as important, as such they all need to be communicated,” Patel added.

Then the employee joined the discussion in the comments to clarify some details

Patel pointed out that referring to our colleagues and work friends as family is a cliché. Branding your company as one can even bring out toxic effects. However, the career coach explained that creating positive relationships with our coworkers sometimes requires just as much effort.

“Each team has a dynamic, and the vibe in the air at any given time shapes the environment for everyone,” he explained. “In these situations, the best leaders take things aside and de-escalate/resolve them away from the team as best they can.”

We also asked Patel to evaluate this particular situation. The career coach told us that in this case, when it comes to allergies, asking colleagues to take certain steps to keep the area “nut-free” is completely within reason. “Whether that’s a note on their desk, asking the team, or sending an e-mail. It’s such a fair request that there is no reason not to share it, just in a calm manner.”

“Should that fall short, then raising it to management as a legitimate health risk would also be fair,” Patel suggested. “If a collective approach doesn’t gather the whole team, then why not speak calmly to the specific person in question?” After all, conflict resolution is all about communication. It’s important to respect your coworkers and strive to settle conflicts as swiftly and calmly as possible so everyone can exist peacefully in the office.

We would love to hear your thoughts on this matter down below. Where do you land on this issue? Have you ever experienced similar situations at your office? Feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments!

The post caused quite a stir in the community, with some people siding with the user








Others were on the fence or immediately deemed the employee was wrong, saying the coworker’s health should be the most important





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Nunya Business
Community Member
5 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

"Heather" is a drama queen who wants attention.

Aisling Raye
Community Member
4 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Agreed. Does she want peanuts removed from everywhere? How does she grocery shop with those canned peanuts and peanut candies at check out? Is she suing movie theaters? Amusement parks? Is her plan to have every bakery shut down? Every restaurant? What about the gas station? If someone had some trail mix on their drive and then touched the handle of the pump does she sue the gas station or the driver that touched it? I understand that people have allergies but maybe know how deal with your own stuff instead of making everyone deal with it for you. I have some pretty major stuff in my life that I need to plan around so I can survive each day so I'm unsure how "Heather" thinks the world should work any differently for her.

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Alma Muminovic
Community Member
5 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Im sorry I don’t get it. Why is you having candy with peanuts in it in your desk her issue? Is she eating your candy and doesn’t want to bother reading ingredients? Is she being forced to eat this candy as a hazing ritual? Why would you not be allowed to bring peanuts because she cant eat any? That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard unless her allergy was so sever that even being in the same room with a peanut would send her to the hospital, which seems to clearly not be the case.

LittlePiggie
Community Member
5 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Okay, so my son has severe allergies to peanuts and wheat, among other things. The thing is, if someone in their office eats peanuts, then touches a shared printer or something and the allergic lady touches it, she could go into anaphylactic shock. I know this because it's happened to my little one. And the thing about the severity of an allergy, no one knows how badly someone will react. My son tested "intolerant" to bananas, but ended up in anaphylactic shock from ingesting yogurt that had it in its ingredients. That being said, the allergic lady was incredibly rude about it, so I don't think OP is an AH.

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Veronica Lund
Community Member
5 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

As a person with severe peanut allergy, I side with the person with the Candy dish. Seriously, with this allergy I know it's ALWAYS a risk of exposure but I'm not telling other people what they can/can't do or eat. At work ( I'm a live in house parent at a teen girls home) we have a protocol in place for when clients/staff want to have peanut butter. If they are having a snack containing peanut butter, I am notified & go elsewhere. If the residents have the Candy, they are asked to not eat it near me, then wash hands and drink something before talking to me. (I am allergic enough that them talking to me in close range triggers a reaction.) I don't eat things unless I know what is in it/where it's been. It is not that hard to take preventative measures!

Jen
Community Member
4 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Im with you on both accounts. I have the same allergy at the same level and take the same precautions. I also work with kids, some of whom wont eat anything else, so we work around it. I dont supervise lunch or snack and all the kids have to wash thier hands right after eating every time (so as to not single any of them out). It works wonderfully and everyone is happy.

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Nunya Business
Community Member
5 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

"Heather" is a drama queen who wants attention.

Aisling Raye
Community Member
4 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Agreed. Does she want peanuts removed from everywhere? How does she grocery shop with those canned peanuts and peanut candies at check out? Is she suing movie theaters? Amusement parks? Is her plan to have every bakery shut down? Every restaurant? What about the gas station? If someone had some trail mix on their drive and then touched the handle of the pump does she sue the gas station or the driver that touched it? I understand that people have allergies but maybe know how deal with your own stuff instead of making everyone deal with it for you. I have some pretty major stuff in my life that I need to plan around so I can survive each day so I'm unsure how "Heather" thinks the world should work any differently for her.

Load More Replies...
Alma Muminovic
Community Member
5 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Im sorry I don’t get it. Why is you having candy with peanuts in it in your desk her issue? Is she eating your candy and doesn’t want to bother reading ingredients? Is she being forced to eat this candy as a hazing ritual? Why would you not be allowed to bring peanuts because she cant eat any? That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard unless her allergy was so sever that even being in the same room with a peanut would send her to the hospital, which seems to clearly not be the case.

LittlePiggie
Community Member
5 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Okay, so my son has severe allergies to peanuts and wheat, among other things. The thing is, if someone in their office eats peanuts, then touches a shared printer or something and the allergic lady touches it, she could go into anaphylactic shock. I know this because it's happened to my little one. And the thing about the severity of an allergy, no one knows how badly someone will react. My son tested "intolerant" to bananas, but ended up in anaphylactic shock from ingesting yogurt that had it in its ingredients. That being said, the allergic lady was incredibly rude about it, so I don't think OP is an AH.

Load More Replies...
Veronica Lund
Community Member
5 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

As a person with severe peanut allergy, I side with the person with the Candy dish. Seriously, with this allergy I know it's ALWAYS a risk of exposure but I'm not telling other people what they can/can't do or eat. At work ( I'm a live in house parent at a teen girls home) we have a protocol in place for when clients/staff want to have peanut butter. If they are having a snack containing peanut butter, I am notified & go elsewhere. If the residents have the Candy, they are asked to not eat it near me, then wash hands and drink something before talking to me. (I am allergic enough that them talking to me in close range triggers a reaction.) I don't eat things unless I know what is in it/where it's been. It is not that hard to take preventative measures!

Jen
Community Member
4 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Im with you on both accounts. I have the same allergy at the same level and take the same precautions. I also work with kids, some of whom wont eat anything else, so we work around it. I dont supervise lunch or snack and all the kids have to wash thier hands right after eating every time (so as to not single any of them out). It works wonderfully and everyone is happy.

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