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

None said you had to get along with your coworkers. Accepting them to keep the relationship cordial is enough for most of them, and honestly getting along is a great gift. When an annoying coworker fails to control their feelings and address conflicts professionally, it’s a one-way ticket to unneeded drama that devalues and destroys confidence within the team. The topic that takes center stage in this case is allergies. Read the story to know what happened in this workplace and share your views on this.

Source: Reddit

We have a new employee I will call “Heather.” I have candy dish on my desk which has various types of candy in it. Right now I happen to have the little Reese’s peanut butter cups. Heather noticed my candy dish and said, “You know, I’m allergic to peanuts.” I said I was not aware of her peanut allergy but I did have some other kinds of candy in my dish without peanuts if she wanted any. She said, “You don’t seem to get it. I could die.” I said yes, I have heard that can happen sometimes.

I said that at the time I purchased the candy for my dish she was not employed by our company yet and next time I would be sure not to buy candy with peanuts. She then said, “Don’t you think it’s insensitive to keep that death-inducing candy sitting on your desk? You’re not respecting my peanut allergy.” I said I did not think it was insensitive because all she needed to do was not take any of it. She told me I needed to “get rid” of my candy and I told her “no.” I said, “We have employer-sponsored health insurance. If you know you will die if you come in contact with something as common as peanuts, I suggest you get an eppi-pen.” She went to Human Resources and basically told them I was putting peanut butter candy on my desk to harass and bully her because of her peanut allergy. I got a lecture from HR and was directed to never bring anything containing peanuts into the office again. I definitely think she is an a%#hole, but I am not entirely sure about myself.

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

EDIT: A lot of people are talking about airborne peanut allergens. I don’t think it’s that kind of peanut allergy because she was standing right next to my candy dish the entire time she was arguing with me. Also she didn’t correct me when I said that as long as she didn’t eat any of the peanut candy it wouldn’t be a problem for her. Also when I talked with HR they did not say anything about an airborne peanut allergy. I know I wasn’t nice and I am not saying I was not an a%!hole. I do want to say if I thought she was in any actual danger I would remove the candy right away.

ONE MORE EDIT: I don’t know if it makes a difference, but my candy dish primarily had non-peanut candy. Kit-Kat, Milk Duds, Whoppers, Rollos, and then Reese’s cups. It all came together in the same bag like a Halloween candy mix. Then I added milk chocolate Dove candies (no nuts). We are literally talking about no more than three Reese’s cups in the candy dish. Not an entire dish full of Reese’s. 

UPDATE: Today I went to the HR lady to discuss me being the only person instructed not to bring peanuts to the office. The HR lady said, “I owe you an apology. We should have done our due diligence before we said that, and we shouldn’t have singled you out. At this time we have no reason to limit anyone from bringing peanuts to the office.” I asked her, “What about Heather’s allergies?” She kind of rolled her eyes and said, “I really can’t talk about her private health information. All I can say at this time is that I haven’t seen any evidence that supports the need to limit any employee’s exposure to peanuts. Going by the evidence we have, Heather will be just fine and that’s all I can say about it.”

Here are a few comments on the story where it was originally posted: 

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