Do you report that employees are working while sick?

I did a phone shop today and the employee sounded like she was sick with a stuffy nose. I could not see her, so I could not verify that. However, that was a real turn off and personally I would avoid that business. I guess it is a pet peeve of mine but would that bother anyone else? Would you report it?

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She did not sneeze on you and you cannot confirm her illness. It was not on the list of questions. You PRESUME she was sick. You avoid the business because of someone's voice essentially. WOW.
There are so many reasons that a person could sound like they have a stuffy nose. Maybe she recently had nasal surgery, or she has allergies, or she just sounds like that. Not everyone has a melodious voice. I would certainly not mention it in a report.
Even if a person were sick and working, I would probably not report it. Most employees for most of these places don't get enough, if any, sick time, and would get written up for taking off with unpaid leave or unplanned leave (if they have any). When this type of thing happens, it's not the employee who is usually at fault. It's generally the employer, and saying "this employee shouldn't be working" won't get the company in trouble, most likely. Most likely, it'll get the employee in trouble.

I mean, I used to work for a labor union. One of the companies we finally organized... one of the employees for a meat packing plant was out because he sliced his thumb off while using a dull knife in a refrigerated section AT WORK and they'd fired him because he was in the hospital. And, that's not an isolated case.
There was a person who lost their fingers, more or less same conditions, because they refused to leave work to go to the hospital because they couldn't afford to lose the job.
I have allergies year-round, and I probably sound like I’m sick sometimes but it’s just life for me. If I encounter dust or mold I get stuffy and my eyes water. I take allergy meds nightly, but they don’t always help. The could be the employee’s issue, or she could be sick at work but afraid to call in sick for fear of being fired. I wouldn’t say anything.
I think that type of feedback though is what they are looking for. If you are talking to someone that doesn't sound healthy, that might trigger you in some way. Then again, my full time job is public health and social justice related, so I'm tuned in companies that don't put the health of their workers first.
I probably wouldn't mention it unless I was positive they were ill AND it was pertinent. Like if it was a food service business. Or if there were specific questions that apply. But based on the sound of their voice alone? No, I wouldn't include that judgement unless there was a question that asked directly "did the person sound ill?" or it was somehow directly relevant to the type of client.

Were they distracted and struggling to provide the information you were asking? Having trouble concentrating on your call? Making nose-blowing noises in your ear? These factors may be pertinent.

Was it so bad that potential customers would be put off? For me, I might make note of it and leave an extra foot of personal space between us while offering some compassionate word if in person. But unless they were making or serving my lunch I'd probably consider it immaterial to my business. On the phone that bar gets higher before I'd be bothered by it.

You say it was a phone shop. Is the person at an office, infecting other people? Or at home alone, taking a few calls for their job as they deal with allergies? Many companies have calls handled by remote workers.

Ultimately you don't know their story. If their voice isn't part of what they want evaluated then probably don't evaluate it. Unless it concretely impacts something you are there to evaluate.
I have seasonal allergies every season. I take Claritin or Zyrtec daily to feel normal. There are days when I feel perfectly normal but I sound like Barry White.

If someone reported me for that, I would hunt them down.

@Ercokat wrote:

I have allergies year-round, and I probably sound like I’m sick sometimes but it’s just life for me. If I encounter dust or mold I get stuffy and my eyes water. I take allergy meds nightly, but they don’t always help. The could be the employee’s issue, or she could be sick at work but afraid to call in sick for fear of being fired. I wouldn’t say anything.

"There's so much trouble in this world; surrounded by miracles" - Citizen Cope
This person may be struggling to feed her family, pay for heat and lights, medication Christmas gifts for her children,or any number of other things. I wouldn't intentionally make trouble for her unless directly asked to comment on the way she sounds.

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 12/07/2019 12:14PM by bestofbothworlds.
I would only report if the person was difficult to understand But I wouldn't say that it sounded like they were sick.
I would only report a sick person if it were an employee who was dripping snot or sneezing onto food in a restaurant. Sorry for the gross example.

There was an employee once who did full open mouth yawns many times during our interaction. I really, really wanted to report it. I finally accepted that while it was very poor manners and certainly a bother to me, it was not something that was asked on the report or any report that I've ever read and most likely no one really cares except for me. So I did not report it. smiling smiley
In this case, as someone else mentioned, I think it's pertinent only if this person were so stuffed up he or she was difficult to understand. That's relevant on a phone shop. Otherwise, you have no idea if the person was sick, has allergies, is a smoker and stuffed up all the time, or what.

If it were an in-person shop, it might be relevant, depending on type of shop and if the person were indeed ill (and not just suffering from other possible issues).

I learn something new every day, but not everyday!
I've learned to never trust spell-check or my phone's auto-fill feature.
Yes. Please do not presume to diagnose someone over the telephone. If it was difficult to hear them, please explain that you did not know whether the difficulty was related to equipment issues or other factors. This keeps you at the intersection of truth, not knowing all of the truth, and potential reasonableness for a person who might have done nothing more than haplessly to get a noxious, clogging whiff of stale smoke or nasty perfume from a person who was just passing through...

It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside. - Maud Hart Lovelace, Betsy-Tacy and Tib
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I’ve noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born. - Ronald Reagan
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Agreed that assuming sickness over a phone call does not seem like something that should be reported.

I had a bartender a few years ago on a shop that told me he had been hospitalized the previous day with an undisclosed virus...but checked himself out of the hospital to go to work! It was around that time that he placed the ice in my drink with his bare hand.

Tossed the drink in the bathroom and reported that one...
On a phone shop, only if explicitly asked. In-person, only if I was explicitly asked or if the employee was not being hygienic. For example, sneezing into hand and then handling food without first washing hands. Otherwise, to me its a "who cares."
I have reported a sneezing, nose wiping cashier at a grocery store. In real life, it grossed me out to see her wiping her nose and then bagging my groceries. I would not report it for a phone shop.

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The more I learn about people...the more I like my dog..

Mark Twain
I mean, here's my thing. If it made a difference to the company that the person is working for, and it would make a difference for contagion reasons - like, I'm all on board with people NOT coming to work sick. I think it's rude to do so when you have leave. Again, I worked at a labor union where we had plenty of sick and vacation days. But back to the point I was starting with before I sidetracked ... if that person, showing up sick for work and sneezing/coughing/snotting potentially over customers or where customers could potentially be affected ... the company would have sent them home with paid sick leave or for that matter, even sent them home unpaid. I used to get really aggravated when people had to prove they were so dedicated that they'd come to work sick - and make the rest of us sick because they were out to prove something. They have PLENTY of leave, but likely, this person does not.

These companies don't care. So, my thought and feeling is if/when I'm in that situation, that my reporting it is only going to stand to get the employee in trouble. It might make a difference, but you know when you're not shopping and you fill out those surveys - if you ding the company for something that has nothing to do with the service from that employee - because you didn't give a perfect score, a lot of times, that hurts the employee even though it had absolutely nothing to do with them.

I mean, it might not make a difference to the company if you say their employee is sick. I mean, now that I'm thinking about it, I'm kind of torn. I don't know if the risk of maybe making a difference with my shop report as in - start keeping your sick people at home - maybe that would have an effect. But sitting here thinking about it, I think it's far more likely that the employee will get in trouble and the root of the problem will remain unaddressed, and it's far more likely to come down on the employee rather than be resolved. The proverbial crap rolls down hill.
Thanks for all of your answers. I did not mention it in the report. The employee was doing her job and she wasn't sniffing or blowing her nose. It could have been allergies too. The flu is so contagious now. If it was a real scenario. I would not have gone to that business that particular day.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/09/2019 06:25AM by breestjon.
On a phone shop, it doesn't matter so much as long as the employee is able to do his job. In person, I would absolutely report the actions -- the employee wiped her nose several times during the interaction, I had a difficult time understanding him because it appeared that he had badly stuffed sinuses, she sneezed on me, his pallor was pale and off-putting, his breath smelled foul, etc. If it would matter to a "normal" customer, I include it. An editor can remove it if she thinks it's too much information.

"Let me offer you my definition of social justice: I keep what I earn and you keep what you earn. Do you disagree? Well then tell me how much of what I earn belongs to you - and why?” ~Walter Williams
I'd never report it on a phone shop, but I have reported it once on a food shop. The girl who was presenting the order looked green, was rubbing her stomach and then I heard her in the kitchen coughing. I did not eat my meal that day and reported it on the shop.

Shopping the South Jersey Shore
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