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Grieving mother told to stop talking about dead child

HollyS

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 18, 2007
Messages
6,099
Horrible people like her former employers, co-workerrs - - and the judge - - will get theirs. Karma is a b*tch.

I cannot begin to imagine the self-centered shallowness that allows anyone to tell a grieving mother to shut up about her child, take down her photos, and act as though she never existed.

Hot spots in hell are reserved for such creeps.
 

sonnyjane

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 13, 2008
Messages
2,476
Mixed bag of possible replies...

Since I wasn't there, I can only go on what the article states. I will say that the employer absolutely does NOT have a right to tell her to take down pictures of her daughter. If that is, in fact, how it transpired, then that was wrong. As far as talking about her daughter in the workplace, that's the part where one would really have to be there to know how much she was talking about her and just what she was saying. If it truly was often and it really was making co-workers uncomfortable enough to mention it to someone else, then I feel they were within their rights to tell her not to discuss it as openly. I work for a union, and our handbook has an entire chapter on how to deal with situations that make you feel uncomfortable and what your rights are. This particular situation (death of a child) isn't mentioned, but it covers things like discussing marital problems, dating, or personal illness (discussing symptoms). If those can be considered taboo, I can guess that things like this would be as well, and that the other employees in the office have the right to ask her to stop. Remember, it was a year and a half after her daughter's death, not immediately afterward. Obviously the pain doesn't go away, but there is a reasonable expectation in the workplace of what should and shouldn't be discussed. Without being there, I don't know if that line was crossed or not.

She was not fired because of it. If she was, that's totally different, but it sounds like she is claiming she had an extreme physical reaction to the discrimination and in that case, the court is correct in the ruling that the employer did not intentionally cause her physical distress.
 

centralsquare

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
2,201
The part about "forget she ever existed" is just horrible. On the other hand, I'm not sure what an employer should do if HR is getting complaints that she's distracting them with stories of her dead daughter.
 

iheartscience

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 1, 2007
Messages
12,111
centralsquare|1315274276|3010415 said:
The part about "forget she ever existed" is just horrible. On the other hand, I'm not sure what an employer should do if HR is getting complaints that she's distracting them with stories of her dead daughter.
DItto this. If she was making other employees uncomfortable then I think the boss/HR had to take some sort of action. From the article it sounds like the boss was understanding. Tough situation.
 

missy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 8, 2008
Messages
40,539
thing2of2|1315275316|3010425 said:
centralsquare|1315274276|3010415 said:
The part about "forget she ever existed" is just horrible. On the other hand, I'm not sure what an employer should do if HR is getting complaints that she's distracting them with stories of her dead daughter.
DItto this. If she was making other employees uncomfortable then I think the boss/HR had to take some sort of action. From the article it sounds like the boss was understanding. Tough situation.
I agree. I feel very badly for this poor woman but the workplace is for work and not discussing personal stuff at length. If she was going on and on about her tragedy to the extent of causing others to complain I have to think she was behaving unprofessionally.

It does sound like she needs to have a therapist to help her talk through and work through her feelings so she can move on with her life while remembering her daughter but not being dysfunctional about it. She needs time to grieve but the workplace is just not the time nor place for it.

I think her boss was kind by telling her if she needed to talk about her daughter to come into his office and do so vs. discussing it with the other employees. I cannot imagine many bosses doing that...
 

Italiahaircolor

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 16, 2007
Messages
5,184
centralsquare|1315274276|3010415 said:
The part about "forget she ever existed" is just horrible. On the other hand, I'm not sure what an employer should do if HR is getting complaints that she's distracting them with stories of her dead daughter.
I agree. I think the whole situation is awful...but it had been a year and a half...if she was consistently talking about, I could see how others around her might start to feel uncomfortable. But, the loss of a child is just...not something one can get over easily. It's a whole lot of different feelings...
 

iheartscience

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 1, 2007
Messages
12,111
missy|1315301794|3010555 said:
thing2of2|1315275316|3010425 said:
centralsquare|1315274276|3010415 said:
The part about "forget she ever existed" is just horrible. On the other hand, I'm not sure what an employer should do if HR is getting complaints that she's distracting them with stories of her dead daughter.
DItto this. If she was making other employees uncomfortable then I think the boss/HR had to take some sort of action. From the article it sounds like the boss was understanding. Tough situation.
I agree. I feel very badly for this poor woman but the workplace is for work and not discussing personal stuff at length. If she was going on and on about her tragedy to the extent of causing others to complain I have to think she was behaving unprofessionally.

It does sound like she needs to have a therapist to help her talk through and work through her feelings so she can move on with her life while remembering her daughter but not being dysfunctional about it. She needs time to grieve but the workplace is just not the time nor place for it.

I think her boss was kind by telling her if she needed to talk about her daughter to come into his office and do so vs. discussing it with the other employees. I cannot imagine many bosses doing that...
Agreed-work just isn't the place for it.
 

centralsquare

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
2,201
She had all kinds of health issues after she was let go...which is so horrible. There really isn't a way to win in the situation, for either side!
 

chemgirl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 16, 2009
Messages
2,161
centralsquare|1315318381|3010653 said:
She had all kinds of health issues after she was let go...which is so horrible. There really isn't a way to win in the situation, for either side!
I don't think she was let go? The way I'm reading it, she walked off the job after being told to stop talking about her daughter.

While I can see how talking about her would be disruptive to other workers, I think asking her to remove her pictures was out of line. Its horrible that she has health problems now, but I don't see how her workplace is responsible. Sure, it was insensitive to just tell her to act like her daughter never existed, but I don't think her boss could have reasonably thought his words would lead to such severe health problems. Trying to hold him responsible is a bit ridiculous.
 

Haven

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 15, 2007
Messages
13,166
I see a woman who really needed some care after a devastating loss. It's a terrible situation, and I understand her employer taking action if she was making others uncomfortable to the point of impeding their ability to do work. I think asking her to remove the photos was extremely callous, and it would have been nice if someone could have stepped in and guided her towards some resources for helping her live a productive life after such a loss. I know it isn't her employer's job to do that, but perhaps that would have been a proactive way to avoid this sort of ugly situation, and to help someone in need.

I agree that it is not appropriate to talk about such personal things at work. I like to keep my work life separate from my personal life, and it used to make me very uncomfortable when colleagues told me too much information about their personal lives, and asked after the same about my life. I'm much happier in my current work environment, which is very professional.
 

galeteia

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
May 9, 2006
Messages
1,794
missy|1315301794|3010555 said:
thing2of2|1315275316|3010425 said:
centralsquare|1315274276|3010415 said:
The part about "forget she ever existed" is just horrible. On the other hand, I'm not sure what an employer should do if HR is getting complaints that she's distracting them with stories of her dead daughter.
DItto this. If she was making other employees uncomfortable then I think the boss/HR had to take some sort of action. From the article it sounds like the boss was understanding. Tough situation.
I agree. I feel very badly for this poor woman but the workplace is for work and not discussing personal stuff at length. If she was going on and on about her tragedy to the extent of causing others to complain I have to think she was behaving unprofessionally.

It does sound like she needs to have a therapist to help her talk through and work through her feelings so she can move on with her life while remembering her daughter but not being dysfunctional about it. She needs time to grieve but the workplace is just not the time nor place for it.

I think her boss was kind by telling her if she needed to talk about her daughter to come into his office and do so vs. discussing it with the other employees. I cannot imagine many bosses doing that...
I think you hit the nail on the head here. The workplace is not the time or the place to work through grief, and while I agree it was 'callous' of them to ask her to take her pictures down, the boss went above and beyond by offering an open invitation to speak with her privately whenever she needed it.

The pictures thing makes me wonder ... was this a few pictures scattered around a cubicle like people normally have, or are we talking full-on shrine (personal items, like ballet slippers, in addition to photos, it said) that has swallowed her office and turned it into a den of wallowing? That's not a nice way to put it, but the articles said that her coworkers were going out of their way to avoid her, which implies that she was at minimum unprofessional about it, or in worst case carrying on public mourning in her workplace. :(sad I can imagine coming to her office to discuss a work issue, and while there, her environment triggers yet another public display of grief ... I would be so uncomfortable so I can imagine after a year and a half people starting to complain if it was interfering with getting work done.

Reminds me of a former highschool friend who posts constantly on her FB (several times a day) about being a widow. While I am sympathetic (I cannot imagine the grief if I lost SO) they were married for only 18 days before he died, and that was 3 years ago. I do not begrudge her expressing herself, but after 3 years, she shows no signs of progression** in moving forward with her life, and instead is just DWELLS constantly on her loss, which isn't healthy. It's like being a widow has completely consumed her personality and every aspect of her life, it's so dysfunctional.

But that's FB, not her workplace. Your workplace isn't the place to work out your emotions, and your coworkers shouldn't be cornered into the roles of therapists or sympathizers. That's what therapists are for.

Edit: ** I do mean progression here, not 'oh she should get over it', I'm talking even the TINIEST sign of progress. She's only 30 years old. :blackeye:
 

AmeliaG

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 8, 2011
Messages
880
Damn, this woman needs help but just not at the workplace. Her daughter died in 2005, the initial court ruled against her in 2007 and she just lost the appeal. Makes you wonder whether she has been actively trying to deal with the loss of her daughter over the last four years or whether she has been displacing her grief by focusing all her energy in fighting the courts.

I'm not saying there's a timeline to grief, but as Galateia said, I think some sort of progression after six years would be more healthy and in her best interests.
 

Pandora II

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
9,613
I would imagine that there is a lot more to the story than we are told in this article. I have much sympathy for her, losing an only child must be the end of her world in many ways, but your colleagues and workplace are not substitutes for proper and appropriate help. I would imagine things had got pretty extreme for formal complaints to have been made to HR.

I am suprised that her employer didn't offer to send her for bereavement counselling as firms here often send people for therapy - at their expense as well.
 

Indylady

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 28, 2008
Messages
5,586
Pandora|1315341854|3010939 said:
I would imagine that there is a lot more to the story than we are told in this article. I have much sympathy for her, losing an only child must be the end of her world in many ways, but your colleagues and workplace are not substitutes for proper and appropriate help. I would imagine things had got pretty extreme for formal complaints to have been made to HR.
Same. An awful situation all around.
 
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