A woman’s reflective video about the death of an ill co-worker ignited a litany of comments on how employees are treated in the workplace.
Stephanie, who posts on TikTok under the handle @glorifikus, says she came to the realization of how strange it was that life just seemed to carry on after the death of her co-worker upon seeing the bizarre and frightened reaction another employee had toward touching his belongings following his passing.
From her story, which she relays in a now-viral clip that’s garnered over 296,000 views on the platform, it appears her co-workers took days off his job mainly to seek medical attention. He was holding onto his vacation hours in order to have paid days in the bank saved up should he require additional treatments, Stephanie said.
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Stephanie begins her video by stating: “So I learned that one of my coworkers died on Thursday, that was the last time I saw him. He came in because he didn’t have any more sick days.” The TikToker adds that the now-deceased co-worker told her that he had passed out twice while he was at home and even though he informed his employer that, he still needed to come into work because he was out of days.
While he did have vacation time, company policy dictated that in order to put in for those days off, a notice had to be given to upper management to take said time off “24 hours in advance.” She adds that her co-worker was reluctant to take the time off so he could use it for when “he was really ill.”
She said that while “he didn’t look that bad” to her when she first saw him at work, she noticed that his condition became visibly worse as the shift carried on.
“So much so that somebody told him to go home and he did.”
But according to Stephanie, he didn’t go home but visited the hospital instead. While admitted to the healthcare facility, he called his job to inform them that he didn’t know if he was going to be able to make it to work the following day.
And two hours after that, Stephanie’s job received another call. This time, it was from her co-worker’s family, informing everyone that he had passed away. The Daily Dot has reached out to Stephanie via TikTok comment for further information.
The TikToker relayed some behavior from other folks on the job following her co-worker’s passing that appeared to rub her the wrong way, saying that there was another employee at the business who was acting like “a vulture” when it came to using some of the on-the-job items that her passed-away coworker left behind for themselves. Stephanie added that the other employee was “washing his hands” after touching the co-worker’s belongings as well acting as if they were somehow diseased.
The incident got her thinking about the way sick employees are treated in the workplace: “It made me feel like the way that we treat people who are sick and then the way that capitalism treats people, so much so that this person stops being a human being after they died to the point where [someone] can’t even touch their things. He didn’t have some like flesh-eating bacteria.”
Stephanie couldn’t understand why the other employer was so visibly skeeved out by the fact that the coworker passed away: “What changed? He died — the Reaper of death is not gonna catch on to you now it is, that’s not how that works.”
At the end of the video, she clarifies that even though her co-worker was out of “sick days” he still had plenty of vacation days he could’ve used to have some time to himself to rest up and seek medical attention while still being paid.
“And he had like over 100 hours of vacation days, but he was saving that because just in case he got sicker and he needed to take out time off he would have time because he blew through all his other times because he had to call off he had to call out so often because he was ill. So those hundred days are gone. Fucking nuts.”
A number of commenters shared their own experiences in dealing with illness in the workplace and coming to the shocking realization that management truly did not care about their well-being: “I became chronically ill 2 years ago & learned real quick how much my employer & coworkers did not gaf. They made my life hell while I was fighting,” one person wrote.
Another user wrote that she quit her job over the way they reacted to her miscarriage: “I miscarried at work and asked to go home & rest & my manager said, ‘You don’t have any pto.’ I left & quit the next day.”
Someone else penned, “That’s so sad and so relevant to how our work culture is destroying us.”
While another said that it’s because they hear stories like this that they are reluctant to go above and beyond for the people they work for: “Stories like this is why I’ll never give my all to any job. They don’t care.”
One person said that this is a direct result of living in a Capitalist society: “Capitalism uses, discards and then [replaces] the worker.”
*First Published: May 23, 2023, 10:42 pm CDT
Jack Alban is a freelance journalist for the Daily Dot covering trending human interest/social media stories and the reactions real people have to them. He always seeks to incorporate evidence-based studies, current events, and facts pertinent to these stories to create your not-so-average viral post.