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Boss asks if he was wrong for suggesting kosher restaurant to include Jewish employee.

Boss asks if he was wrong for suggesting kosher restaurant to include Jewish employee.

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AITA for trying to be more inclusive of a coworker by choosing a kosher restaurant for a group lunch?

I’m very frustrated with how this turned out. I was trying to do a good thing. No good dead… right? I’m in management. I transferred departments a couple months back. I like my new team, we’re very diverse, which is refreshing.

Immediately though, I was concerned over one individual who I will call Noam. He’s been an employee here for over a decade, yet he’s the odd one out.

We give our team members options to work from home. Noam takes full advantage of this policy when there is not a mandatory in-person meeting. His work is always complete, so it’s is fine, but I can sense he’s reluctant to participate in our workplace culture. It was my little project to get him more involved. This proved difficult.

When I asked simple questions, what’s your wife do, how long have you lived here, etc., he would get cagey. I tried encouraging him to get food with us, etc. My grandparents are immigrants and I saw how they often felt othered especially about food, so I like try try all sorts of restaurants with the team.

We got catering from a team members family owned ethnic restaurant, yet Noam didn’t eat anything. This was hurtful. We’re having a potluck this week, we all signed up to bring dishes of significance to us, yet he doesn’t want to bring anything.

Over time I’ve put together he may have religious food restrictions. I decided to get team lunch from a locally owned Israeli kosher deli. Maybe something more familiar to him and his home country would be appealing, and since it’s kosher he can eat it. Well, he refused even that.

He hadn’t responded to my email, I had even printed a menu for him and left it on his desk in the morning because I’m pretty sure he doesn’t open the survey.

By the end of the day I stopped by his desk and he had the menu still sitting there so I started a conversation about it, I tried reading off some things to ask him about some of the food, asking what kinds of things does he like, etc. He seemed to shut down during the interaction and by the end said he will bring food from home like always.

Last week I pulled him into my office and we had a talk about his team spirit. I worry it can be hard for some people to take me seriously in management, so I was asking him to work with me, you know? Today, Monday, he comes in and asked to speak.

He said it was nice of me to find a Jewish restaurant but he likes to bring his own food, he said he has an autoimmune condition and has to be careful with food. That was simple, he couldn’t have said so earlier! But he continued to say he felt singled out when I read the menu to him in the office.

He’s a smart guy, he found a way to turn it around on me, to make me the asshole over being inclusive. He’s so good at it I’m questioning my sanity. I thought you all here could have a laugh with me at the absurdity. What’s the verdict, who’s the real asshole here?

Here's what people had to say:

OrangeCubit writes:

YTA - he does his work well and on time. Why do you feel entitled to his rest periods as well? For some people lunch break is a BREAK.

IllustratorMiss OP responded:

I hear you on doing what you want on break time. However, we order food for team meetings and it is not free time.

MamaTumaini writes:

YTA just for the home country bit alone. Is he indeed Israeli? And what made you so certain he kept kosher?

IllustratorMiss OP responded:

Are you trying to imply I'm xenophobic? Yes, he is indeed from Israel.

I know because he told me. He worked for another company which was acquired by us and transferred here to our U.S. based office. He’s part time on my team because he works with international clients from back then who specifically request him. It has actually come up naturally, so, no, I didn’t assume that because he’s Jewish then he must have an association with Israel.

Ok-Clothes-1304 writes:

YTA.

1. You assumed that the reason he wasn't participating was because of the food options, and you didn't speak to him directly

2. You continued to push it on him even after he refused.

3. He pulled you aside to confront you about it (even commenting it was nice of you) but then told you he has food restrictions

4. Even AFTER finding out he has an illness and needs to be careful with you conclude with 'He’s a smart guy, he found a way to turn it around on me, to make me the asshole over being inclusive. He’s so good at it I’m questioning my sanity.' WOW. Full of yourself much?

You don't get a gold star for 'being inclusive', and this smells of white savior complex (I'm ASSUMING). Get over yourself and ASK people next time.

Visible_Ad_309 writes:

As a jew, we don't like gold stars much...

AndShesNotEvenPretty writes:

Also Jewish. As I was reading this I was physically cringing. This mishigas is a shonda.

Sources: Reddit
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