Coworkers can be a real headache, especially when they call Human Resources (HR) on you.
But what will happen to you at the HR’s office if what happened isn’t your fault?
One woman recently wondered about this in the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit after dealing with one such coworker.
And, as Redditor Rough_Bike_2252 explained, it was all a misunderstanding about food.
But even so, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she might expect trouble.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for ‘tricking’ my coworker into eating MSG?”
The OP had a coworker who was a picky eater.
“I have a co-worker ‘Trish’ who is really into eating ‘authentic’ cuisines from other countries and not wanting to eat the ‘fake’ stuff (e.g. she refuses to eat Dominos because according to her, Italians would never eat such a thing).”
“She also claims she has an MSG allergy.”
“There’s a Chinese restaurant close by, but we haven’t catered from them since she made a large spectacle of stomach pains and headaches when we ordered from them over a year ago. She’d ordered a separate dish of plain steamed veggies and meat, but claimed there must’ve been cross-contamination and demanded that we not cater from them again.”
The OP’s coworker also had strong opinions about “cultural” foods.
“Whenever someone gets Chinese takeout, she loudly talks about how it’s fake Americanized Chinese food and that the MSG would give us cancer.”
“She frequently mentions how much she misses the ‘real’ Chinese food she had when she went to China (once, like a decade ago).”
“She often comments on my food (I’m Chinese) which I cook from home, saying things like, ‘wow that smells so good; you can tell it’s authentic and doesn’t have preservatives and isn’t catered to White people like the food from that restaurant’ (she’s White).”
“I mostly ignore this.”
“And honestly, I wouldn’t even call my food ‘authentic’ Chinese food. It’s just stir fry with sauce generally.”
Their relationship turned problematic after the OP brought food in for her team members.
“Last week, I volunteered to bring in food for my team of six people (to clarify, Trish is NOT part of this team), since I know they like the food I make.”
“I do cook with MSG sometimes. It’s definitely not something all Chinese people do, but my family does it with certain dishes, because it makes things delicious.”
“There were some leftovers, which someone put in the fridge after the meeting, with a note saying anyone could take some. I didn’t really think about it, since this is normal.”
“Well, apparently Trish had some of the food I made.”
“At the end of the day, she came by my desk and commented on how delicious my ‘real’ Chinese food was.”
“She claimed she could tell I made it without preservatives or MSG because she would normally get sick within minutes if she accidentally had MSG. She also claimed it tasted just like the food she ate when she was in Beijing (I’m not even from Beijing).”
“After she went on for a few minutes, I just told her that there was actually MSG added to some of the dishes I made.”
“But it was good to know her allergy was cured now, since I wouldn’t want her to get sick.”
The OP’s coworker did not receive that news well.
“She freaked out, and suddenly claimed she had a huge headache and felt like she was going to throw up.”
“She yelled at me for not telling her I put MSG in the food (I didn’t realize she would eat it, since she normally doesn’t eat the communal food and it was intended for my team members, not her).”
“She went to HR because I supposedly tricked her into eating something I knew she couldn’t eat, and now I have a meeting with HR next week (Idk [I don’t know] how this is going to go).”
“In all honesty, maybe I was kind of hoping to peg down her anti-MSG crusade, but if she had asked, I would’ve told her what the ingredients were.”
“AITA for not [telling her]?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some said MSG allergies do not exist (or are exceedingly rare).
“MSG allergies do not exist (and most, but not all, MSG sensitivities are basically psychosomatic), nor does MSG have any dangerous negative side effects.”
“These things have been shown in many studies, and [some discuss how] the whole ‘MSG allergy’ thing originated as an anti-Asian racist myth.” – 21027