The screenshots depict a conversation between a worker and their employer where the employee requests taking a mental health day, the employer’s poor response has earned the ire of the internet.
Redditor u/MehLifesavings texted their boss, looking to take a sick day for their mental health. “Work was really draining the life out of me and was on the verge of quitting,” they described in the thread. “I asked for one mental health day, and he responds with this[.] I found it disrespectful but just left him on read and still took the day off.”
The response they received was less than receptive to the idea.
“I’ve noticed something not right with you,” their boss’s response began. “I don’t know what kind of mental issues you’re going through, but sitting around thinking about it all day will not help you… That’s just my opinion, but it’s up to you.”
The response evokes images of Boxer from Orwell’s “Animal Farm,” working himself into the ground before being sent off to the glue factory. “I will work harder,” he says as he sacrifices his body and health for his employer.
Readers of the r/antiwork thread were horrified at the boss’s response but called out the employee for approaching the situation incorrectly. Their initial message gave away too much information, and the uncertainty of the tone offered too much room for the employer to object. Commenters suggested alternative approaches to this conversation with an employer in the future.
“Next time, take the sick day without explanation,” said Raineyb1013. “I don’t feel well; I’m taking a day. Period.”
User u/SatansHRManger offered this sage advice to other employees.
“ProTip: Here’s your script for calling in sick, from now until the end of days.
“Hi, this is (your name,) and I’m not feeling well today, going to have to take a sick day. All the best.”
And that’s it. That’s the entire voice-mail or gist of your conversation–you don’t need to tell them 1) What’s wrong (None of their business!) 2) How sick you are, 3) If you’re going to the doctor, 4) Your symptoms, 5) Your temperature, or 6) ANYTHING AT ALL beyond the fact that you’re too unwell to come to work that day.
Laws and standards around medical privacy vary, but in the United States, for the most part, your employer can’t demand this information and you’re under no obligation whatsoever to volunteer it. It’s my understanding Europe is even more strict with medical privacy.
So don’t volunteer it.”
Keep reading to see screenshots of the texts, the r/antiwork thread, and the responses below.