Ask Someone Else's Mom by Susan Writer

Frequently Sick Co-worker Shares More Than Ideas at Office

DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: I work with a guy who is probably a true genius when it comes to engineering, but has the least amount of common sense I’ve ever seen, I think. He’s generally great to work with and a good guy, but he has three small kids, all of them in school, all of them bringing home every germ known to medicine, which my coworker then brings into our office. We work in pretty tight quarters, and his sneezing and coughing is not only gross, it keeps getting the rest of us sick.

I know the guy doesn’t want to take PTO every time he gets a cold, but our boss has already told him he can work from home for a day or two if he needs to when he’s not feeling well, but he just never does.

Who’s the unreasonable one here? --- TIRED OF SNEEZING

DEAR TIRED OF SNEEZING: The first thing your letter made me think is that your coworker doesn’t want to telecommute because then he’ll be stuck home all day with his sick kids.

Maybe your boss’s offering “permission” to stay out of the office when ill needs to become “strongly urged” to not come in. Your coworker might be further persuaded if the boss’s directive is seconded by those most affected by his germ-sharing the next time the sneezes start.

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