It’s understandable why dogs are often known as “man’s best friend.”
As dogs bring endless joy, comfort and, yes, emotional support, to countless people all over the world.
Which makes it somewhat easy to forget that there are people who are allergic to dogs.
This includes Redditor, nomoreofficedogs, who was less than thrilled to hear that after her office re-opened, they were allowing workers to bring their dogs.
She was even less pleased to hear the solution offered by her boss as to how she could navigate this problem.
Having doubts about how she handled the situation, the original poster (OP), took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA for refusing to work from home, so now people can no longer bring their dogs to the office?”
The OP first shared how her work situation changed from before the pandemic to after.
“Hi, I’m a 32 F[emale].”
“Here it goes:”
“Everyone working in the office, dogs were never even an option.”
“Pandemic, shut down, working from home.”
“People trickle back in, and they are allowed to bring their dogs to ease the transition.”
“My group stays back for another year.”
“Everyone’s finally called back to the office.”
While most of the OP’s colleagues were thrilled at the idea of bringing their dogs to work, she was not, for a very specific reason.
“I’m allergic to dogs, and the smell gives me migraines.”
“Huge bummer, because I do like dogs.”
“But it explains why in one foster home I was always feeling sick.”
“Boss says we’ll figure something out.”
But the OP was not at all pleased with her boss’s solution, resulting in her beginning a lengthy negotiation.
“People with their own offices are not willing to give them up.”
“Boss tells me that maybe it’s best if I work from home (WFH).”
“I live in a tiny studio that barely fits my bed, and I have to sit on it or on my floor to have a workspace.”
“I have one window.”
“It’s suffocating and I was starting to go crazy living there during the pandemic and WFH.”
“So, I say that if I can negotiate a raise that will be enough to help me to move to a larger place, I will consider WFH.”
“Boss takes that to their boss, comes back and says unfortunately it’s not in the budget.”
“I say I’m not going back to WFH.”
“Boss insists it couldn’t be as bad as I’m saying and that everyone had to make adjustments.”
“Mind you, boss and most of my other coworkers live in houses that they own, most have huge backyards, entire rooms to dedicate as an office, etc.”
“So of course they don’t think it’s a big deal.”
“I stand firm, and remind them that someone can give me an office, but no one would.”
While the OP eventually won out in her negotiation, she was met with acrimony upon returning to the office.
“So unfortunately, everyone has to stop bringing the dogs to the office.”
“Coworkers and other people in the building are saying I’m selfish for not just taking the deal and going back to WFH because they’d all love to be allowed to.”
“When I’ve told people about the tiny apartment and how I can’t afford more, they say things like ‘just move back in with your parents’, ‘just stop buying Starbucks’ and ‘start doing uber/uber eats after work’ and ‘move to X suburb’ even as though I’m CHOOSING to be in this position just to spite them.”
“Others have been like ‘why can’t you just take a Claritin’ and tell me making up the smell causing migraines.”
“Each of them has a suggestion about how I should go out of my way to make all these changes (some of which I can’t even do!) just because people want to bring their dogs to an office.”
“Am I really the a**hole for this?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
The Reddit community wholeheartedly agreed that the OP was not at all the a**hole for refusing to work from home.
Everyone agreed that the OP’s boss and colleagues should have been more sensitive to her allergy, and that the ones who wanted to bring their dogs to work should be the ones working from home, not the OP.
“If they want to be with their dogs so much, one of them should make the sacrifice of giving up their office or they should be given the option to work from home.”– niennabobenna.
“And why is the boss telling people about your medical condition? “
“If they need an explanation as to why no more dogs, ‘a coworker is allergic’ will suffice rather than [the OP] is allergic”- fuzzy_mic.
“Dogs weren’t permitted pre-pandemic, they shouldn’t be permitted now.”
“Yeah, it sucks leaving the fur babies at home, but it is what it is.”
“I may be out of line with my thinking, but this could technically be considered discrimination, because of a known medical condition.”
“Maybe the threat of an EEOC complaint would straighten your boss out?”- 4everawikkid1.
“This is your health.”
“I love dogs too but I would not bring mine to a place that would cause someone else discomfort.”
“I occasionally bring my dogs to work.”
“However, I always let coworkers know that they are coming and ask if it is ok.”
“When we hire new staff, I ask them how they feel about dogs in the workplace.”
“If it made one single person uncomfortable, I would not being the dogs.”
“(Fortunately, we are all dog obsessed, so it’s all good!)”
I”t is not as easy as ‘take a Claritin’.”
“I hate when people say that.”
“I have a severe food allergy.”
“Can’t even be in the same room with it.”
“Coworkers are totally cool with just not bringing that food to work.”
“Some will go out to their cars to eat it then wash their hands when they come back in.”
“That’s how kind, caring human beings behave.”- sawta2112.
“Also this is an unpopular opinion but as much as I like dogs I really dislike the trend of people bringing them everywhere.”
“I’m allergic to dogs.”
“My reaction is a massive asthma attack.”
“Pet dogs in the office and other shared indoor spaces puts me in a position where I have to be the buzzkill so I don’t have a life threatening emergency.”- Mighty_Fine_Shindig.
“You didn’t ask to have this allergy and you tried to find a reasonable accommodation with the company.”
“If everyone else is so desperate to have their dog with them at work, why don’t they WFH?”- Key-Bit1208
While Several stressed how the way her colleagues reacted to her suggested that the OP needed to find a new job and fast.
“But I’d start looking for a better job.”
“People are a**holes in an office and they won’t get over this.”
“Your environment there is only going to get worse.”- CranberrySafe3271.
“While you are NTA, as a person who has three dogs and would love the opportunity to bring them to work, just be prepared that being not the a**shole is not the same thing is ‘everyone decides OP is not the asshole and becomes immediately nice to OP’.”
“People are gonna be mad and gonna resent you.”
“And even if everyone is totally on their best behavior and doesn’t do anything actionable to you, hostility is hostility.”
“And that’s going to be a suck work environment.”
“You might want to think about moving on.”-Euphoric-Round-5182.
“BUT I would suggest you be very prepared for a hostile work environment.”
“The way you wrote it pretty much suggests YOU vs WHOLE OFFICE type of situation.”-Fantastic-Mud5929.
“Doesn’t matter if you’re TA .”
“You have a Target on your back and your days are numbered.”
“Your coworkers don’t like you and since you’re the ‘problem’ management will likely find a way to get rid of you soon enough.”
“You’re probably better off working from home until you secure something else.”- sew-sarcastic.
“NTA this whole WFH malarky is great for people with spare rooms and or designated office space.”
“Not so much for people with small homes and roommates etc.”
“Essentially its classist.”
“Having said that I too think you should definitely look for a new role.”
“Clearly management is not interested in your welfare.”-No_Rooster7278.
The OP later returned to thank all those who commented, and explained why making some changes in her work and living situation simply wasn’t possible for her at the moment.
“Thanks for the responses so far.”
“I appreciate the judgments and they’re giving me a lot to think about.”
“Just as a note, due to circumstances I’d prefer to not get into too much, I cannot just go find a new job or a new place to live.”
“These are things that are, for me, out of my control for the time being.”
“Things will hopefully change in a few years.”
As much as people love their dogs, it is surprising that the OP’s office gave them priority over the health and safety of one of their employees.
It does seem that the OP might, indeed, be better off at a company who has more sensitivity to her allergies.