Work policies about attendance make perfect sense: you can’t have people showing up whenever they darn well please.
But is there a time when exceptions ought to be made?
In a recent post on the “Am I the A**hole (AITA)” subReddit, one woman illustrated a scenario that put that question on the table.
The Original Poster (OP), deliciously known as LopsidedCobbler9140, kept the post’s title short and provocative.
“AITA for walking out on my job?”
OP kicked off with an explanation of the relevant work policies.
“I (29-year-old female) work as a waitress at a restaurant with a point system.”
“It’s 1 point if you are late, 3 points to call off with notice, and 5 points for calling off within 4 hours of your shift.”
“This is fine with me as I have no points this year and have only called off once since 2018. I’m the type who covers shifts, stays late and generally just go to do my job.”
But that perfect attendance met its match recently.
“Last week, I ended up calling off and was out for a week due to being hospitalized in the ICU with a horrible infection.”
“I let my boss know at 2am that I was being sent out by helicopter and kept her informed of everything going on.”
Then came time to return to work.
“Today was my first day back. I’m not 100% yet but like many places, we are short staffed.”
“When I came in today, I opened and got to work. My boss came in 2 hours later and called me into her office.
“She informed me I was getting 8 points, losing my discounts and bonuses for 90 days, and was on probation.
For OP, this didn’t add up.
“I was dumbfounded and told her I wasn’t signing the papers as it was out of my control. She said if I didn’t, I would be terminated. I told her not to bother and walked out.”
“I’m now getting calls and texts from her and my coworkers saying they need me and I was an a** for quiting over something so small.”
“My husband thinks I was in the right because it was ridiculous that I was getting punished for almost dying.”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Almost every person who responded assured OP she wasn’t the a**hole.
In fact, they were outraged on her behalf.
“NTA You were so sick that you needed to be airlifted by helicopter and relocated to seek special treatment outside of where you currently live, which is well outside of your control.”
“Then you went above and beyond, by keeping your boss in the loop the whole time as if your boss were part of your family, something you should not have had to do. Lastly, as a favor to them, even though you’re not 100% better, you still made the effort to come in.”
“And what do they do? They take away your perks and threaten you with termination.”
“Not only are you not the a**hole, but you should also be proud of yourself. You stood up for yourself. And it would seem you called their bluff since now they want you back. Do not go back.
“I have a family member (cousin) who is working as a server in a restaurant (dinner) and I really would love to see them do the same.” — Linux-Is-Best
“NTA x 1000!!!! An employer penalising a staff member in good standing for nearly dying. You were even being considerate enough to communicate during the whole ordeal.”
“Employers keep saying “people don’t want to work” …. But then treating them like they’re not people. Your country needs more unions. This should never have happened.” — RaysUnderwater
“NTA. You left a toxic environment, and you do not owe those people a thing. Going to the hospital isn’t something ‘small’ and shouldn’t be punished. I’m glad you’re away from boss and coworkers now.” — fthottfitzgerald
“Never IN A MILLION YEARS, GALAXIES, OR DIMENSIONS would you be considered the a**hole in this situation.”
“Find another job. Don’t you go back to a place that doesn’t value your life like this. Stand strong with hubby” — Starterpoke77
Others had a few pragmatic recommendations.
“NTA – let your local TV news stations know about this.” — bureaucratic_drift
“NTA at all and I’m glad you’re alright.”
“Your boss is leaving herself open to one helluva lawsuit. And I kinda hope she does get sued, and loses, because that’s the only way these ridiculous, greedy a**hats learn.” — that-1-chick-u-know
“NTA. How are they gonna threaten to fire you then get upset when you quit? Tell your coworkers to quit too. Tell them it’s your managers fault.” — Free2Aloha
“NTA. The market is such that you can find another job easily. Do that and don’t look back. An employer who would do this to you deserves to be short staffed.” — Username19611691
Others had experiences of their own to refer to.
“NTA. I thought my boss was an a**hole when it came to health (she told me if I got COVID it wouldn’t be a big deal full well-knowing about the long term effects and recently insisted my 101-degree fever was ovulating for example).”
“This is next level cruel. Good for you. You will have no issue finding another job.” — KadrinaOfficial
“NTA. Where the hell do you live?! I got sick the other week and WANTED unpaid sick leave and my boss paid me anyway (I’m in AUS).”
“That’s a disgusting situation to be placed in but that’s good that you have a husband who sees your value and is supporting you not to put up with that shx. You’re right you shouldn’t be punished for nearly dying.” — Bearis4B
“NTA Are you kidding me? If you were my employee I would have sent you flowers, told you not to rush back too early and take good care of yourself.”
“Your boss was heartless and so are your colleagues for blaming you for walking out. I hope you will find a healthier work environment next time.” — contemporary_cat1
Here’s hoping the long thread of comments was enough to keep OP from ever looking back.