If you're sick, should you work?

This is prompted by a recent story (since deleted, but no doubt some kind person can post the link to the Disqus comment section page), where the OP was ordered into work, despite suffering from bronchitis and living with their parents who had tested positive. The OP, in their own words “maliciously complied”, and five days later the whole place had to close because a number of staff came down with Covid.

Two things to note: this happened in the US, and it occured in December 2020.

Opinions were… divided. Most disagreed with the actions of the OP, but some were vocal about the OP not wanting to risk being fired.

This topic has been created to allow the, uh, frank exchange of words to move from Surprising Story Reception to its own thread.

Please remember:

Be Civil it is fine to hold a differing opinion to someone else. If someone disagrees with you, that is their right. But, and i cannot make this point clear enough FOR GOODNESS SAKE BE CIVIL!

I would suggest that rather than focus on the deleted story, you might want to lookat the more general topic of:

If you’re unwell, should you go into work if ordered?


My apologies if i got a bit ranty in the opening post, but i know this sort of topic can get heated.


Most people are just pissed off about the fact OP “maliciously complied” and potentially killed people because of coming in sick

And as I said both on the comments and also in the other thread that we have had several stories on here where A Boss tried to either get the OP to come back in sick after they had vomited despite a 48 hour rule about them not being around food. b)the lunch manger whom I think threaten OP whom had pink eye with a write-up if they didn’t come in. And what about the story of the boss whom I think threaten OP (whom I think had no voice) via an email for being sick and the boss thought they’re making it up? I think that last one the boss got a lovely email from Op’s Dad. There might be others where the boss had tried to or did make the OP come into work sick but those three stick in my mind the most

Sure killing people is bad but when the family needs money and when any other choices could result in you being fired and whom isn’t afraid of being fired if they have a paying job? OP could be fired either because of not showing up to work sick OR they could have gotten fired because they had called the Health Department.

And since in Canada and the States there isn’t any worker protection especially not for servers like OP was. Whom was only get like $2.12 or less hourly.


In an ideal world companies dont ask you to come in if your sick. You use sick days, adjust shifts, work from home if possible etc.

In the real world that doesn always happen because companies/bosses can be unreasonable at times. And as much as I would like to say there is some hard and fast rule for what to do there to me it honestly depends on context.

If you have a mild cold and work in some isolated server room by yourself. Yeah I can see going in being the better option over risking your job.

If you have the bubonic plague with oozing sores and work in the cafeteria of a nursing home its pretty moraly unjustifiable and extremely selfish to put your job over such a severe risk to others.

There are a million cases between those two extremes that would require a bit of rational thought and a judgement call.


Yes, people are pissed off because killing people is bad.

Killing people is worse than being unemployed. It is interesting that the person here who has never worked or risked unemployment is disagreeing with the people who have actually been unemployed and without income.


I doubt that this will help. But I told my Mom the story and she’s on the same brain lenght as me and both my Mom and I are saying OP didn’t have a choice but to go into work. So I think we should be putting all the blame on the boss and not on OP.

Anyway… you guys can hate on me. I’m just going to


Elsa self-isolated and willingly became unemployed when she believed she stood a chance of hurting people.


As for whether you should work if you’re sick… please don’t.

If your boss will fire you unless you do, the consequences and therefore the reasonable thing to do depends on the nature of your illness (though even a mild cold may be a serious problem if you have colleagues who are asthmatic). There are a lot of grey areas.

However, ‘I am coming in out of malice, not need, even though my doctor has told me not to, and I may infect people with a serious illness that has a high risk of death or long-term disability’ is not a grey area. That’s just a vile thing to do.


Here is the link to the disqus page.

You Want To Spread Some Germs? Let’s Spread Some Germs!


This is the same Mom who agreed with you that 69 reversed was 96? I don’t think her judgement is exactly a gold standard.


so if 6 can’t be 9 upside down why is it it’s own TV Tropes page then? It must have happened often enough (either in TV shows or in Real Life) that it became a meme

But I still don’t think OP had the choice of not coming into work. For all we know, that the Op’s family could loose their home if OP got fired. Probably not … but we don’t really know

Most bosses wouldn’t even cared if you were six feet under and still would want you to come into work. If a boss tells you to come into work you go into work. Especially as a server

Oh my great good gods, you still can’t accept that you were wrong about that?!

6 is 9 upside down, yes. But we’re not talking about 6, we’re talking about 69. When you rotate 69, the 6 becomes a 9, the 9 becomes a 6 - and the digit on the left moves to the right, and the digit that was on the right moves to the left.

I mean. Seriously. You only have to write ‘69’ on a piece of paper and turn it around to see that it still says 69. People even posted photographs of just that to the thread.

So if your mother genuinely agreed with you on that one, your mother’s judgement is not to be respected.


No one is arguing with you about wether or not OP would be fired. They very likely would have.

We are saying that being fired is better than killing people.

That is of course assuming you view other people as people. If you only view yourself as a person and other people as NPCs then it would make sense why you would be more concerned only about the part that effects you.


Do you believe that assassination is a good thing? I mean, if you stop killing people, you become unemployed.

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The OP’s family might have lost their home - and that is still better than the OP risking killing people.

It is also almost certainly not the case, because the OP didn’t say they went to work because they couldn’t afford to be fired, they said they weht to work out of malicious compliance.

So, once again, the OP chose to risk killing people because they felt malicious; and you are defending that.


okay maybe read what you wrote? If a 6 can become a 9 when they’re singular. How come it doesn’t work when the two are together and the paper is upside down? if it works one way singular it works when the numbers are together as well that a 69 can become a 96 and vice versa if you have the 69 piece of paper upside down or your friend or family member whom is with you is across the table reads “96” . It can’t work two different ways just because you think that’s not possible.

I’m not defending the malicious part but what I’m defending is that OP HAD NO CHOICE TO COME IN TO WORK UNLESS SHE WANTED TO BE FIRED EITHER FOR NOT SHOWING UP OR FOR CAUSING THE Workplace TO BE IN TROUBLE. Since the boss would have known whom had called- the employee they had tried to bully to come in.

Yeah she shouldn’t have gone in sick but she had no other choice.

mutters to self who knew this would get derailed so quickly…? I was expecting it to last at least a couple of hours…