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One of my fellow employees comes to work when she is sick. Although she claims that she just has allergies, it is not long before I catch her so-called allergies and end up missing work. I don't want to catch her colds any more. What's the best way to deal with her?

When a fellow employee literally makes you sick, some of the best steps for you to take will be those that move you away from her. This does not mean that you should treat her as an infested outcast, but it does mean that you can try to be more conscious of keeping some geography between the two of you, even when you work together.

At the same time, there is absolutely nothing wrong with mentioning to her that she seems pretty sick and may fare better at home with some chicken soup. The idea is to indicate that you are concerned about her health, and you are offering a suggestion that may help. As part of this little discussion, there is also nothing wrong with telling her that you really do not want to catch her cold. This may not send her out the door, but it may help send her a message to be more careful around you.

There can be any number of reasons for her to be wedded to her job in sickness and in health. For example, perhaps she has some deep psychological needs that prevent her from missing work no matter how ill she may be. If this is the case, there is nothing you can say or do to convince her that she would be better off by taking some time off. Or, perhaps your company has an incentive program that rewards employees for uninterrupted attendance, and she stands to lose some significant goodies if she misses work.

Regardless, if everyone seems to be catching her allergies, you should meet with your manager. Your department is experiencing a situation that is interfering with productivity and is often linked to accidents, mistakes, and absenteeism. For most managers, this is nothing to sneeze at. In addition, if your company has an attendance incentive program, you should mention that it might need a second opinion. Healthy companies tend to focus rewards on service, quality, and productivity.

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