After a couple years in retail, I thought I had seen it all. Apparently, I was wrong.
One of my associates in the Fashion Department suddenly and inexplicably developed a sensitivity to scents. I have allergies—I get it; however, instead of getting a doctor’s note detailing her condition and the required accommodations, the employee decided to start wearing a mask to work. No, not a surgical/SARS precautionary-type mask, but a half-face, dual-cartridge gas mask!
Not surprisingly, the response from customers was less than pleasant. On one occasion, several girls were seen posing in front of the associate and taking pictures (undoubtedly, to post online). On another, a customer queried management as to whether the store should be evacuated due to a toxic substance which necessitated the staff wearing gas masks.
Despite my insistence that she provide medical evidence of her need to wear the mask prior to working on the sales floor, the associate ignored my requests and continued to show up for her shifts wearing the mask.
After telling her that she wouldn’t be allowed to work until she provided medical documentation, the associate, visibly upset but hard to understand with her Darth Vader-like mask voice, admitted the following between wheezes, sobs, and more wheezes: while her doctor was sending her for tests, he did not support the use of the mask (wheeze, sob, wheeze).
I explained that in the absence of medical or religious reasons, we couldn’t authorize her violation of the company dress code in such a manner and would require her to remove the mask.
In response, the associate chose to publicize her discontent with the company on Facebook (and basically, sign her own pink slip), alleging that we were discriminating against her and infringing upon her human rights!
Was Darth Vader actually human?