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Employer asks if they were wrong for not letting overweight employee sit down at work.

Employer asks if they were wrong for not letting overweight employee sit down at work.


Being a manager at a restaurant has all sorts of pitfalls. There a million situations that leave employers totally stumped.

To make things more awkward, what if the workplace issue in question touches on an employee's questionable emotional or medical problems? When this manager at a restaurant feels conflicted for not allowing one of his plus size employees to sit down during work, he takes to the popular Reddit forum to ask:

'AITA for not letting an overweight employee sit down on the job?'

Warning, the OP isn't always the most professional in his use of language.

I'm a manager for a small restaurant. I take care of all the people who do not cook food. We employ two disabled people and one elderly person, and when they do host I fought with the owner for them to be able to have a stool as standing for a long period of time can be painful for them. -deliciouspea852

Well, that's pretty nice of OP. Maybe they aren't the AH.

I was only able to negotiate it so that these three employees were able to use it and that was because they had to present medical information saying that prolonged standing could be painful.

I'm anxious of having others use the stool as the owners visit frequently and said that if they catch others sitting on the job the stool will be removed and it'll be my ass. Everyone else agreed to not use the stool.

Seems like this manager is under a lot of pressure...

I have this one hostess Debbie who has always been big, but in the last two years has put on more than a few. Recently I caught her using the stool and reprimanded her. She told me that standing has begun to hurt her because of her weight gain.

I told her that I need her to get some medical information that could support that so I could inform the owners. This was 3 weeks ago and she never did. Yesterday, I caught her doing it again.

I'm uncomfortable for everyone involved. It gets weirder...

I brought her into my office and told her that she didn't provide anything for me and because of that, she's not sitting on the stool. She said that she needs to as she's in a lot of pain but that the doctors would refuse to write anything up for her if she asked. I told her that if she's medically fine, there's very little I can do about it and I have to look out for the best interests of all of my employees.

I wonder if that's true, that doctors would refuse to write something for her if she asked...

I told her this would count as a verbal warning and to not let this happen again. She's got mad and told everyone I didn't care she was in pain. Now everyone thinks I'm just being a dick to her because shes fat which im not. AITA?

Well, is OP the AH? Let's see what Reddit had to say.

NTA. Her sitting on the stool would cause you to lose your job and the elderly and disabled employees would lose access to the stool. She could probably get a doctor's note if she actually tried.

But she hasn't even tried, she's just assuming she wouldn't get it. IMO the owners of the restaurant are TA. Let people sit if they want to sit and if their job could be done while sitting. - wellachtually

Depending on the labour laws where OP lives telling employees they can't sit might be illegal. Even if it isn't, owners are still massive AHs. I wouldn't want to work for them. -doctorwhoop

I would agree NTA, but I also understand why she has not gotten a note, and you should be advocating for one of your employees. Being overweight (and specifically obese) is a valid medical condition that can cause joint pain, however doctors have a tendency to treat overweight/obese people (specifically women) as though they are lesser.

Even if she’s in pain from standing, some doctors would refuse to write a note because standing is “good for her” (which it might be, but ignores her pain). This coupled with doctors tend to not believe women when they say they are in pain. -apprehensiveowl

It is possible she can’t afford the co-pay, and legit doctors are NOT sympathetic to overweight people, women in particular. She has every reason to expect her request for an accommodation will be denied, and she’ll still have to pay for the visit. Concur the owners are the AH here. WHY DOES ANYONE REQUIRE WORKERS TO STAND THEIR ENTIRE SHIFT IF IT IS NOT NECESSARY. Grrr. -funchefunchick

I agree NTA. But when overweight people go to the Dr they don't get a note to say it's hard to stand because of the weight....they simply get told to loose weight (regardless of underlying causes be it Thyroid or Mental health). So it will be a challenge for her. It is very hard to 'prove' even legit disability to get exception/accommodation notes from Drs. -realdappermuis

Well, there you have it folks. OP is NOT the AH. Seems like the owners are the AHs in this situation. But that said, are doctors the AHs too? What do YOU think?

Sources: Reddit
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