Coworker Claims Phobia, Pressures Diabetic Employee: ‘I’ve A Phobia, Go To The Bathroom To Do It’

Two employees find themselves entangled in a workplace dilemma that’s as unprecedented as it is revealing. When routine health management collides with personal sensitivities, questions emerge about accommodation, empathy, and the unseen challenges that shape our professional environments.

This incident, teetering between personal well-being and communal harmony, invites us to explore the intricate dynamics of co-existing in shared spaces.

Health Routine Leads to Unforeseen Confrontation

hispanic man ss22163603749
Image Credit:

A 24-year-old employee’s essential routine of checking his blood sugar levels at his desk due to his type 1 diabetes unexpectedly became a source of contention. This standard procedure, involving a quick finger prick to draw blood, took a complicated turn when a new coworker with a severe blood and needle phobia witnessed the process.

The new coworker’s reaction was intense. “Immediately, his face went white, he looked like he was about to puke or faint or maybe both,” the diabetic employee recalled. This incident opened a dialogue about managing personal health routines in shared workspaces, especially when they might affect others’ severe sensitivities.

Request for Accommodation Opens Debate

guys argue ssc175547297
Image Credit: pathdoc/Shutterstock.

Post-incident, the coworker with the phobia suggested some alternatives: the diabetic employee could use the bathroom for the checks or adhere to a strict schedule. However, these were met with concerns. “I said these things can’t always be predicted, I’ll need to check if I feel my blood sugar going high or low,” the employee needing medical checks explained.

The phobic employee emphasized his need for accommodation, stating,

“He said he understands that I have diabetes but that he also has a special need (his blood phobia) that needs to be accommodated.”

Expert Insight on Workplace Accommodation

coworkers ss1931020178
Photo Credit: PattyPhoto/Shutterstock.

This situation highlights the complexities of workplace accommodation for health issues. One HR professional weighed in,

“Assuming his phobia limits a major life function, you are BOTH entitled to accommodation… It will be very easy to prove with diabetes. I don’t know if his therapist will consider this to be a disability requiring him to have warning before entering.”

The professional added,

“However, it is very likely you would need to accommodate his disability as well. Everybody saying that your disability trumps his disability is ultimately unimportant because the law protects both of you.”

The Reality of Workplace Accommodations

coworkers ss1906253506
Photo Credit: fizkes/ Shutterstock.

In light of these events, it’s crucial to understand the broader context of workplace accommodations. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, accommodations are often minor adjustments. Their study shows that 56% of these modifications cost nothing, with the rest having a median cost of just $500.

These accommodations, while legally mandated, are seen by many employers as “productivity enhancements.” They allow employees to work to their fullest potential, ensuring the company and its staff benefit. In this scenario, both employees’ needs could be considered disabilities requiring accommodations, and finding a solution that respects both conditions is not just a legal requirement but also an investment in productivity and workplace harmony.

Balancing Accommodations for Mutual Benefit

coworkers talking ss373340050
Photo Credit: George Rudy/Shutterstock.

The challenge lies in balancing the needs of the diabetic employee with those of the employee experiencing the phobia. The law protects both, and the accommodations made must reflect this equality.

Solutions may include creating a private space or implementing a communication system for the diabetic employee to signal when he is about to check his blood sugar levels. For the phobic employee, accommodations might involve scheduled breaks or a workspace adjustment to reduce the likelihood of encountering blood.

Balancing Needs

coworkers ss1032685285
Photo Credit: fizkes/Shutterstock.

The incident underscores the necessity for empathy and open dialogue in the workplace. While legal frameworks provide guidelines, the resolution relies on mutual understanding and a willingness to compromise. As discussions continue, the focus is on finding a solution that respects the medical necessity and the personal well-being of all employees involved.

“Solution: him calling you before popping to your office, you don’t need to tell him you are checking your blood, just tell him you are busy with something,” suggested one commentator, highlighting the potential for compromise without overstepping personal boundaries.

The situation remains a learning curve for all parties, emphasizing the need for a balanced approach to personal needs in professional settings.

As both employees navigate their health challenges, the situation highlights the critical role of workplace accommodations in fostering an inclusive, productive environment. It’s not merely about legal compliance but cultivating empathy and mutual respect.

By embracing accommodations as a bridge to understanding, businesses can nurture a harmonious workspace, ensuring every individual’s needs are met while upholding collective well-being and morale. Ultimately, it’s a testament to the human spirit’s resilience and our shared journey towards inclusivity and understanding.

More from Viral Chatter

burger king ss2234932643
Illustration. Image Credit: Sorbis/Shutterstock.

The workplace can sometimes feel like a prison in today’s fast-paced world.

This sentiment was recently echoed by a Burger King employee who took to social media to share her experiences and feelings about her job.

Offering a raw, unfiltered look into the daily grind of fast-food work, her videos have become a rallying cry for those feeling trapped in thankless jobs.

Employee Reveals Salary In Company Email, Sparks Co-Workers’ Demand for Raises

woman frustrated at laptop ss790043248
Image Credit: fizkes/Shutterstock.

In the corporate world, many employees often grapple with issues of poor management, corporate greed, and unequal pay.

While some choose to remain silent, others take a stand, demanding justice and transparency.

One such individual’s story, which was shared on Reddit and later reposted on Twitter, has garnered significant attention, with over 3.4 million views.


sources 1 2
Image Credit:

This article was produced and syndicated by Viral Chatter. It was inspired by this Reddit thread.

Martha A. Lavallie
Martha A. Lavallie
Author & Editor | + posts

Martha is a journalist with close to a decade of experience in uncovering and reporting on the most compelling stories of our time. Passionate about staying ahead of the curve, she specializes in shedding light on trending topics and captivating global narratives. Her insightful articles have garnered acclaim, making her a trusted voice in today's dynamic media landscape.