December 11, 2023

Australian boss’ blunt response after worker asked to work from home because of hay fever

A boss has demanded an employee either come into the office or take sick leave after they claimed to have hay fever and wished to work from home. Photo / Getty Images / Instagram

An Australian boss has divided opinion after sending an extraordinary response to an employee who wanted to work from home because of hay fever.

In a controversial text exchange, shared by business resource and gossip website The Aussie Corporate, the worker politely messaged his boss to relay that he was unwell due to bad hay fever but was well enough to work from home.

“Morning, will be working from home today. Hay fever got me bad last night so I’m still a snotty/coughing mess,” the message read.

“Got plenty of partners private and implementations to keep me going in terms of work load today,” the employee concluded.

However, the boss’ blunt response to the employee’s message sparked criticism from readers.

In a text back to the worker, the boss says if you do not come into the office then you need to take sick leave.

“Morning, I am sorry you’re suffering from hay fever.

“I just want to let you know that I’ve been informed by [name redacted] previously that team members are not allowed to work from home for reasons such as this.

“It’s been previously explained to me, that if a team feels they are well enough to work from home, then they are well enough to work from the office.

“You’ll either need to come into the office for the day and work, or alternatively take today off as sick leave. Please let me know what you decide to do?”

The Aussie Corporate posted the exchange to its Instagram page, and asked readers to vote on whether it was “reasonable from employer”, “unreasonable” or “just want to see answers”.

Of those who voted in the poll, 65 per cent believe the employer’s response was “unreasonable”, while 11 per cent thought the boss’ conduct was “reasonable”.

A further 24 per cent wanted to see the worker’s response before deciding who is in the right.

Aussies and Kiwis weighed in on the issue, with some calling out the boss for his stance.

“Hay fever is really, really miserable. His boss is a sanctimonious git. I’d get another job and resign,” one Kiwi said.

Another reader added: “Hay fever is one of those things that makes your work environment miserable and makes others uncomfortable, but you personally feel good enough to work. I’d rather they stay home but a plan to make sure they’re taking reasonable steps to get to the office.”

However, a number of respondents have hit out at the worker for informing the boss rather than asking.

“I don’t see them asking their boss they are telling their boss. If you are too sick to come to work, you are too sick to work from home – simple. By the way, show some respect to your boss, they decide, not you,” one stated.

A second backed that view up, writing: “Nice try pal, but the boss, who pays your wages, dictates where your place of employment is.”

The ability to work from home became a workplace norm when the world locked down because of Covid-19.

But after one to two years of work flexibility, industries around the world are beginning to phase out the work-from-home trend.

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