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Employee gets potentially fatal revenge on 'food thief ' coworker. AITA?

Employee gets potentially fatal revenge on 'food thief ' coworker. AITA?

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When this employee is annoyed with his coworker for always stealing his food, he asks Reddit:

"Am I wrong for getting revenge on my food thief coworker?"

So, my office recently got a new hire, Omar. He’s a young Muslim guy, fresh out of college, and ever since he was onboarded, my food has been going missing. I mention his religion because I’m also Muslim and it’s hard to find Halal food on short notice, and it’s been really difficult not having food to eat because it’s been stolen.

My theory is that he stole my food because I’m the only obviously Muslim one in the office (I wear a hijab and have mentioned going to mosque), and he knows that my food is ok to eat. I’ve tried talking to him about this, but he always plays dumb and denies knowing anything about my missing meals. As the title says, Omar is allergic to peanuts.

On Friday, I brought leftovers which included Peanuts. I made sure to label the package clearly with my name, but I didn’t think to include any label about it having peanuts in it. No one else in the office uses allergen labels for their food; it didn’t even cross my mind.

When I got to the fridge and realized my food was once again missing, I rushed to Omar’s desk where I of course found him eating my food, and I told him that the lunch that he stole had peanuts in it.

His eyes got really wide and he went for his epipen, and thank goodness he injected himself before the reaction got really bad.

After Omar got done panicking about his reaction, he blew up at me. He said that I could have killed him, and I said that he wouldn’t have been in danger if he wasn’t a liar and a thief.

He told me that it was my fault for not putting an allergen label on the packaging, and I said that I’m lactose intolerant, but I don’t expect everyone to put labels on their dairy because I don’t steal other people’s food! He said that that’s different because milk won’t kill me, and I said it was the same principle.

HR has ruled in my favor, but now requires allergen labels on all foods, and the entire office is mad at me, not just for the inconvenience of the labels, but because I “targeted” Omar and “tried to kill him”. I'm sorry but this was not homicide. Can y coworkers relax? Now I feel bad, am I in the wrong here?

Let's see what readers thought. They had a LOT of controversial opinions.

highrise1000 writes:

YTA. He's an immature thief, and should've been fired. Defintely overboard on your part, sordid, and definitely lacking morals since you knew what was going to happen. Knowing he had an allergy, you could have been charged with assault if he involved authorities. I would've fired both of you.

pineappleequivalent writes:

You cannot try and murder someone. Even if they're really shitty and steal your food. Even if they lie about it afterwards.

I understand your frustration but you cannot knowingly give someone with an allergy their allergen. What if they hadn't had their EpiPen with them? What if they were too incapacitated to use it by the time you notified them?

I don't know which country you're in, but in a lot of English law (or their derivatives) countries this would be seen as homicide. A lawyer would likely be able to argue successfully that it wasn't explicitly done with intent to kill but that just gets you into negligent homicide.

Which is better than intentional homicide, but in the same way that peeing your pants is better than pooing them.

piningfen writes:

I worked in an allergy office for 25 years. You could have ended up being charged with a crime. You knew he was allergic and you had strong feeling that he was stealing your food.

What if he had to be hospitalized or if he had died--peanut allergies can work very quickly. If his epi pen had a problem or he mis-fired it and he didn't have the second one with him, this could have been a possibility.

You should have gone to your manager about this, it isn't a small thing. Our office had someone doing the same thing, until the manager shut that down, quick.

You were mad at him, I get it but sometimes it is good to mull over the worse case scenarios before acting.

geoben writes:

ESH: he sucks for stealing your lunch. He should be put on a year long probation period or maybe put on unpaid leave for stealing food from coworkers.

You suck for purposefully causing him harm. If you didn’t want it to get stolen then you should have labeled it as having peanuts. Yes he might have stolen it anyway but at least you’d be in the clear from blame.

Instead of doing that You decided to not put a label on there and put him in danger. You KNEW he was stealing your food and you KNEW he was allergic.

I get it. Office jobs can be tense but seriously?? I’m glad you caught him just in time for him to use his epipen but this situation could have gone down hill very quickly and very easily.

I would have been on your side if you had thought to mention in any way that bringing the dish to work at all was an oversight (example:” I got to work and realized the problem this might cause”) but even in your title you said you did it on purpose.

I don’t mean to sound like I’m attacking you or making it sound like you’re a bad person but in the states this could be considered attempted premeditated murder, you knew he was allergic, you knew he was eating your food, and nut allergies can be pretty severe. So you brought food to work knowing all of this.

I don’t think you intended to kill him but if he decides to go to court on this it could be bad news for you. Please be careful hun.

cshuoolt writes:

I going to preface this by saying I think Omar is unquestionably an a-hole in this story. Work food thieves suck, and it doesn't at all sound like he gave OP any respect in the story when asked if he was stealing her food, nor stopped when confronted with it. So 100% he's an a-hole.

However, I kind of have to think OP is an a-hole too. There were a few other paths that were more of a high road than what OP did.

And I'm sorry, it sounds like OP wants to say that Omar eating the food was not through any fault of their own, but she knew Omar was stealing her food, she knew Omar was allergic to peanuts, and she didn't at least label the food as such.

He probably wouldn't have eaten it then, in fact she could have kept labelling her food as having peanuts in it and maybe he never would have eaten it again. And if he had, and still had the reaction, my opinion would be a lot different.

But he could have died, and I don't think food theft is worth the death penalty. What if his epi-pen had been defective or he had forgotten it at home? He didn't get seriously hurt, and he's probably out the cost of an epi-pen, which I think he deserves.

And I'm not saying I don't think maybe Omar learning a lesson about stealing food, especially with a food allergy as serious as peanuts, is not a good outcome; but it could have been a lot more serious, more than just the office turning against her, had it gone the wrong way.

She could have been in serious trouble if he had gotten seriously injured or died. Whether or not it was an innocent mistake, which I am not really convinced that it was, and it doesn't really sound like the office does either.

I also think office food thieves are scum and they are a drag on office morale, and I definitely think that office management should take reports of office food thieves more seriously.

But don't risk your own livelihood; I've heard of people getting in a lot of trouble at work for doing "vigilante justice:" putting hot peppers or other nasty stuff in their food so food thieves "learn a lesson." And yes, totally agree that food thieves shouldn't be doing that, and I wish management kind of looked at it that way, but the truth is they don't.

And the further truth is, the people who booby trap the food hope that the people eat it and have an unpleasant experience, which is an a-hole move, whether or not the other person is also an a-hole. They are taking the low road.

rileygirl7 writes:

NTAH Stop wasting your time packing a lunch for a POS to steal. Save your money and time because you’re obviously not going to win against someone this entitled and selfish.

Bring a protein shake or a bag of snacks you can keep in your desk and enjoy your wonderful food at home where nobody can steal it. Let the jerk food thief go hungry because he totally deserves to go to the fridge day after day and have NOTHING TO EAT that will meet his expectations.

I’d rather starve than accept that he is being fed MY lunch. Heck you’re already going hungry because of him so STOP bringing HIM your food. I’d be grinning and eating my little snacks while he watches with a hungry belly! It’s that or put peanuts in EVERYTHING and label it accordingly.

Just as satisfying to eat your own food in front of him but he’d probably just throw your food away to keep you from eating it at all.

sunflwoers6 writes:

NTA. People stealing food from coworkers are some other kind of breed. And then for him to blame you without seeing the fault of his actions.

You're a better person than I because I honestly would have let him suffer eating peanuts without intervening.

Def get with the manager about the food thieving and stop putting your lunch where he might be able to tarnish it. Bring an insulated container with an ice pack.

Looks like the jury's out here. What do YOU think?

Sources: Reddit
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