When a colleague is irritating you, there are numerous tactics to help make their presence more bearable. Whether it’s simply taking the high road and letting it slide, or politely confronting the situation in a way that doesn’t cause any conflict going forward, a simple conversation is often the solution.
This is especially true when it comes to training up a new starter. Taking the colleague aside and explaining why they should or shouldn't do something in future not only resolves the situation but it helps with their personal learning and development at the firm.
However, it seems that one employee was not prepared to let his annoyance with a trainee colleague slide. Instead, he went to extreme measures to teach them a lesson rather than training them to understand why their behaviour wasn't acceptable.
A Boots pharmacist allegedly laced a colleague’s water bottle with laxatives to ‘teach her a lesson’ after she ignored requests to not take her water bottle onto the shop floor – Metro reports.
Birmingham Crown Court heard that Shanan Mir was supervising a trainee worker when he supposedly added Lactulose – medication traditionally used to treat constipation – to a drink when ‘her back was turned’.
Trainee worker Farah Abdulquader reportedly spat out the liquid after realising what it was, and it was later found that she suffered from sickness and diarrhoea as a result.
After tasting the bottle’s excessively sweet liquid, Abdulquader became suspicious and asked the store’s security officer to go back over CCTV footage to get to them bottom of what had happened.
The court heard that the CCTV footage showed Mir taking the bottle and replacing it a few seconds later.
Mir said that he initially moved his colleague’s water bottle after asking her repeatedly not to bring it to onto the shop floor.
He was later interviewed and said that Abdulquader persistently had her water bottle with her.
Andrew Baker prosecuting alleged that the pharmacist had slipped a laxative into his colleague’s drink as a ‘form of retribution’ and to show Abdulquader ‘the risks of what could happen’. He said:
“The prosecution says there was animosity between the two. His actions were at the very least foolish and, we would say, criminal.
“His intention was to annoy her at the very least.
“Whether it was some form of retribution or to teach her a lesson, it was an incredibly stupid and criminal thing to do."
Contrary to the allegations, Mir denies a charge of causing a noxious substance to be taken with intent to annoy.
While this may be an unusual example of workplace ‘payback’ in response to a colleague’s action, it is not acceptable, and HR should be clued up on how to spot something untoward happening at work.
So, here are three tips:
Encourage workers to report any unusual behaviour or conduct that makes them feel uncomfortable.
Urge employees to only take drinks off colleagues that they know properly to prevent drinks from being tampered with.
If there are concerns with an employee’s conduct, observe their behaviour and try to spot any red flags that could be a cause for concern.