Monday, July 27, 2009

A True "Love, Lizzie"

I can't really help it that I'm known as a young woman of good taste and manners at my workplace. Maybe it's because I'm still young and know how to dress, converse, eat, excuse myself, and breathe in a non-offensive way. Which is, in part, due to the hours I spent as a teenager pouring over Emily Post and Etiquette Grrls (who are sadly no longer posting). I really loved the latter, mostly because when they were appalled they mixed up G & T's and used random capitalization and french in their advice. In my 16 year old mind, there was nothing more sophisticated and lighthearted than those women I pictured wearing pearls and nice dresses as everyday clothing, reading etiquette queries and sipping, or tossing back, alcoholic beverages of which I had little to no knowledge of at the time.

But now it's my turn. As we all have noticed, it is the season for weddings and babies. In my office space, questions have been bouncing around about both.

"What does it mean if I was invited to a bridal shower, but not to the wedding?"

I can't believe this actually happened, and yet, it has happened to me as well. All I can say is "How Tacky!" It means she does not want to pay for your plate at the reception, but wants that Mr. Coffee on her registry. (Unfortunately, the woman who asked this question decided to go to the shower anyway. For all you lovely people reading, this is called "enabling" and really must be stopped. Enablers are the reason greedy people like this bride feel they can get away with their faux pas.) She's using you for a gift. Don't go to the shower. Don't feel obligated to send a gift. Just respectfully decline.

Love, Lizzie

"There is a woman who recently gave birth who works at my office. We were all really happy for her and her husband, until she started using the lunch room as a breast pumping closet. The office has multiple bathrooms she could use but instead she sits in front of the vending machines, making it very uncomfortable for anyone trying to eat their sandwich or get a diet Coke. Should I confront her? What should I say?"

Myself being pregnant, I applaud this mother for her good health choices for her baby. However you are correct, hogging the lunch room is unacceptable, especially if you work in a coed office, which you probably do. Don't confront her, that's not your job (unless you are a supervisor). Go to your manager/supervisor and tell them the situation. Explain (though I'm sure you won't have to do much of it) how uncomfortable it is for you and your coworkers. There is no reason she must stop, just simply move to a more private place. And please, remember to be kind to her, it must be very hard to go to work and leave one's new baby for eight hours everyday.

Love, Lizzie


An Army Family said...

Not to be argumentative ... but teeeechnically the breastfeeding mom is in the right. Most states now have laws about breastfeeding, and it's on the employer to provide a place to do so and that does NOT include a bathroom, unless it's like one of those snazzy bathrooms with chairs and stuff. So management could say something to the woman, but if she's informed, it would be asking for a lawsuit. The mom and employer both probably figure the break room is more appropriate than at her desk. For example, in RI:

Chapter 14. Employee Breaks
Sec. 1. As used in this chapter, “employer” means a person or entity that employs twenty-five (25) or more employees.
Sec. 2. (a) To the extent reasonably possible, an employer shall provide a private location, other than a toilet stall, where an employee can express the employee’s breast milk in privacy during any period away from the employee’s assigned duties.
(b) To the extent reasonably possible, an employer shall:
(1) provide a refrigerator or other cold storage space for keeping milk that has been expressed; or
(2) allow the employee to provide the employee’s own portable cold storage device for keeping milk that has been expressed until the end of the employee’s work day.
(c) Except in cases of willful misconduct, gross negligence, or bad faith, an employer is not liable for any harm caused by or arising from either of the following that occur on the employer’s premises:
(1) The expressing of an employee’s breast milk.
(2) The storage of expressed milk.

Sae said...

Yeah, just remember, an employer is not liable for any harm caused by or arising from the expressing of an employee’s breast milk.


Lizzie Brown said...

All I'm saying is that if other people were uncomfortable trying to eat lunch while the woman breastfed, they should tell the manager or owner. There is probably another empty office they can set up just for her. That way she can have her privacy and the rest of the employees can eat their lunches. There is a difference between what is legal and what is appropriate. It is legal for someone to wear a tshirt with expletive, but it is not appropriate, in my opinion.