I Don’t Believe My Co-Worker Has Anxiety Attacks

Question:

My co-worker has had lots of time off (6 months per year for the past 3 years)because of ‘anxiety attacks’. I don’t believe this because she is just lazy and doesn’t want to work. She says the attacks start when she gets in her car to drive to work but it doesn’t happen on other journeys. We get 6 months paid sick leave and she takes it every time. When she is here she pushes everything to the limit, takes the longest breaks possible and does no more than she can get away with – how do I know if she is faking it?

Signed,

Frustrated


Answer:

Dear Frustrated:

Whether or not your co-worker is “faking it” is a matter for her supervisor to decide. If she is not doing her work and is creating a problem it would seem her supervisor would have noticed by now–and perhaps he or she has but doesn’t care enough to do anything about it. Or, it may be that if sick time is allowed, it doesn’t matter how or when the time is used. Or, it may be that your co-worker has brought a medical verification of her condition and your supervisor and manager don’t want to be viewed as discriminating against her.

If you feel strongly enough about this situation, you could talk to your supervisor and explain how the co-worker’s actions are affecting you and the overall work product. But after that, it’s up to your supervisor to deal with it.

I can imagine how frustrating this is. But sadly, your supervisors will have to be the ones to make it stop if it really is a problem. It sounds as though you should talk to your supervisor and ask for some insight into the situation as it currently exists.

Best wishes with this challenging situation.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.