A woman who’s upset over her colleagues’ behaviour following time off for mental health issues has divided opinion after asking if she should apologise to her co-workers who had to pick up the slack while she was off for eight weeks.
Taking to the British parenting forum Mumsnet, the unnamed woman said that she was left in tears after some of her direct colleagues were ‘incredibly hostile and horrible’ and made her feel she’d ‘done something wrong’.
She spoke to her boss, who said they were upset that she didn’t acknowledge ‘how much they did for her’ while she was off, and that he understood their feelings.
‘I refuse to say sorry for leaving them with work allocated to me, but surely it’s just their job to do it like it would be mine if tables were turned?’ the woman wrote.
Her post provoked very differing reactions, with some claiming her workmates are behaving like childish bullies, and that she should speak to HR.
However, others said they sympayhised with her colleagues, and said that she should show empathy for what they’ve been through too, especially because some were unable to take holiday while covering her workload.
A woman has asked if she’s in the wrong for not apologising to colleagues who took on some of her work while she was off for eight weeks with mental health issues (stock image)
The woman took to Mumsnet explaining that she was left in tears by her workmates’ attitude and left early on the first day due to the ‘hostile’ atmosphere and lack of support from her boss
Explaining the situation, the woman said she was off sick with anxiety and depression for eight weeks.
‘It was horrible even making that first step back into work and work was one of the reasons I was so ill as well as personal issues (divorce, break up of family and guilt over breaking the home of my three-year-old daughter),’ she began.
‘Some of my direct colleagues were blanking me and making the return to work incredibly hostile and horrible to the point where I ended up crying in a storage room on my first day and then leaving early because I just couldn’t take the horrible tense atmosphere.
‘My boss told me today he talked to a few of them and it turns out they were having some strong feelings towards me. I left so abruptly, so all my allocated work was then left to them to deal with and they had to pick up the peices and deal with not getting any time off, only for me to walk in and act like nothing’s happened and not even acknowledge “how much they did for me whilst I was off”.
‘I can’t tell you how gobsmacked this has left me. And then he said he understood where they were coming from.
Supportive commenters said her workmates are bullies and ‘childish’ and claimed they would have shown more support if she was off with a physical health problem
‘I can’t quite get my head around this. I refuse to say sorry for leaving them with work allocated to me, but surely it’s just their job to do it like it would be mine if tables were turned?!
‘The moment I was signed off work, that work is no longer my problem. It’s my boss’ problem and if anything they did him a favour, and he should be thanking them.
‘I nearly had a f****** mental breakdown for two months and had some seriously horrible days and nights of no sleep, feeling like I had nothing left to live for. I just about have managed to get myself together enough to actually be back at work and now I’m being made to feel bad for having that time off! And ungrateful for everyone else who did what is part of their contract to do?’
In a follow up post, she claimed that only 15 per cent of her workload went to her colleagues
‘Of course they shouldn’t be blaming you, but to be honest, if I discovered that my illness had caused people to miss holiday, the first thing I’d do would be to acknowledge that on my return.
Others claimed that the woman lacked ’empathy’ for not thanking her colleagues and saying that picking up her work was just an expected part of the job
‘Saying sorry might not feel right to you, but immediately showing empathy by recognising what they’d been through would have been tactful.’
Another commenter echoed the same sentiments, saying she thanked her colleagues who covered for three weeks while she had emergency surgery.
‘Yes it was their job to do it. Yes it was the manager’s job to deal with it and thank them. But they were still my colleagues. It’s just basic manners to say thanks.
‘Given that you were off for mental health reasons, surely you could be more understanding of the toll the extra work took on them. These people are only human.’
And a fellow Mumsnet user said they could relate to the situation after being forced to pay extra for childcare and feeling exhausted while picking up a colleague’s workload when they were absent for six months.
However, others insisted that the woman is being bullied and that she would be treated differently if it was a physical health problem.
‘You were off sick, Would they have been so nasty to you if you’d had an accident or been ill in hospital for weeks and then recuperating at home? No they wouldn’t.
‘They are treating you appallingly badly and your boss’ attitude is a disgrace.’
Another advised the woman to go to HR saying: ‘This is bullying. You were ill for goodness sake. No you don’t have to go back grovelling and apologising and taking in bags of doughnuts. You have a bad boss. Yes people having to cancel holidays was unacceptable, but this was his fault not yours.’
Others said that her boss was to blame and that he’s unprofessional for using her as a scapegoat