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A bit of a weird one, I have a sort of phobia regarding ear spaces/ flesh tunnels, they make me physically sick when I see people with them. We have had a new lad start who is sat right in front of me (sideways so i am looking at his ear) who wears them in both ears. Yesterday I mentioned to my line manager that I have the phobia and was physically heaving in front of her. I was told I was being melodramtic and get on with it.

 

I went in today, after not sleeping all night worried about having to sit there all day lookng right at them, i sent my line manger and dept manager an email this morning asking if the person could be asked to remove them due to the dress code - which states all piercing other than earings are not permitted, and they were making me feel physcially sick. I havee checked the definition and they are termed as piercings not earings. They reply I got was they were aware of his "earings" at time of interview and they are permitted so there was nothing they could do.

 

I have had to come home due to feeling unwell i was heaving at my desk, when I informed my line manger I need to go home she told me to go and sit in the break room for 5 minutes and get over it.

 

I said I couldn't stay there feeling that ill, I had emailed this morning to try to resolve the issue and told nothing could be done. I am now at home and feel unable to go back in, I have been there over 2 years and love the job.

 

Is there anything I can do to get round this - other than counselling for my weird phobia. Do i have any rights?

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Rights? No. He has a right to wear those ugly things if he wants. You can ask to be moved yourself. You have no right to be moved. And yes, counselling!


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Bettybooper: do you have a medical history of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder: symtoms can include washing hands over and over, going back to check the gas), agoraphobia (fear of open spaces), claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces); etc, etc. Phobias can manifest themselves in strange ways, so if you do have a history of phobia (or any form of anxiety) and it has been long-term, you might be classified as disabled and should expect reasonable adjustment.

 

If not, perhaps you can wear a baseball cap so you do not need to look beyond the peak of it, which you could pull down over your face like a shade.

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No but I have a history of clinical depression, which my employer is aware of, and have been having a severe episode for the last month or so. They have told me they can not move him or me. Just find it stupid I am going to have to leave as I can not go back in and sit there all day looking at his ears. Wearing a cap is against the dress code - even tho deformed ears are not lol

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I am sorry but you need to recognise that this is due to some sort of "wiring problem" in your own head and try to tackle it as such.

 

To try to make your employer responsible for this is - in my mind anyway - unreasonable.

 

The best approach - and one I would take - is to ask your employer to recognise that you have a problem with this and ask for their help. A lot of the better employers offer free counseling. If not the best you can ask for is leave to attend private counseling sessions.

 

You need to take responsibility for this. Or it will end badly for you I think.

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Bettybooper: in that case I would recommend seeing your GP and getting a letter that owing to your long-term condition, you are susceptible to behaviour that may seem strange to others but can be directly attributable to clinical depression (for example, hypersensitivity). Tell your employers of your condition and ask for a reasonable adjustment. How difficult is it to rearrange seating, after all.

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To try to make your employer responsible for this is - in my mind anyway - unreasonable.

 

You need to take responsibility for this. Or it will end badly for you I think.

 

A phobia may seem irrational and unreasonable to some - even most - but for the person suffering a phobia, it is all too real and distressing. I cannot believe Bettybooper's employers are happy to see her heaving away. That seems cruel.

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I would laugh you out of the office if you pulled this one as a depression related phobia. And I would take your real condition far less seriously. Not everything is a disability!

 

depression =/= OCD.

 

My route would have been to explain to the chap himself and ask him to replace with the flesh coloured spacers which are much less noticeable. Might have offered to psay for them.. As soon as you have to involve management to resolve a dress code issue that they clearly do not care about (or would be resolving themselves), someone is going to come off badly.


Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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I am not claiming it is depression related, someone asked if I had OCD.

Not really a good thing to do to someone on his first day to tell him his flesh tunnels are making me sick, and say can you remove them please, not really my postion in the office. If you have a problem you go to management in the office I work in, they are supposed to relove issues not the staff

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If you phrase it like that then no!

 

"I have a mild phobia about.. and while I apreicate your right to wear them I was wondering if..."


Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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Thing is tho Emmzzi the depression does actually make you lose all confidence in speaking to people, esp a srtanger, I hardly speak to anyone at the moment and any stress point sends me over the edge. I dealt with the situation the besy way I could at the time. To someone who doesnt understand depression, I probably do appear irrational, I know that.

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You appear a little like you are not prepared to help yourself, I am afraid. Have you approached your doctor for counselling?


Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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Although Emmzzi has somewhat of a point, certain phobia's are classed as disabilities and therefore a reasonable adjustment could be to simply turn your desk around (if appropriate)

 

I wouldn't "laugh you out of the office" if you came to me with your problem. That is such a ridiculous way to deal with people, and very unhelpful. If you have a history of depression, then potentially your phobia could lead you to another bout if it that bad.

 

Check this list http://www.disabled-world.com/definitions/phobias.php i have no idea of the correctness of this source, but it might give you a starting position.

 

Where i do agree is that you should see a therapist about your phobia, it would more than likely help you a lot.


I am not a legal professional or adviser, I am however a Law Student and very well versed areas of Employment Law. Anything I write here is purely from my own experiences! If I help, then click the star to add to my reputation :)

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I have just had a look on google to find out what on earth flesh tunnels are and I have to say, I cannot see that such an aversion is unusual. I feel nauseated and faint - to the point of passing out if I see blood - (say, in an A&E waiting room). Although not a phobia per se, it is quite common for things of the body to make people feel squeamish (think of all the men who immediately pass out when their wives give birth).

 

If your bosses insist on making you look at something that makes you feel ill, then why not just throw up over your desk.

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Let's say you are Mursi and working in the UK. Your ear tunnel is part of your culture. I think we're in a while world of other kinds of discrimination if we make you take it out :) Which kind of discrimination takes precedence?


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Would someone from have a similar right to have a pierced tongue, nostril and eyebrow or it's age discrimination? I guess, if it is cultural, then that makes it more complicated than if it is merely fashion.

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I don't know - given that self mutilation and piercings are excluded from any kind of Equality Act protection, I'd be inclined to ask (as they are a new employee) for them to be taken out to allow a longstanding member of staff to continue to attend work. The probationary period is there to assess the candidates suitability - if they're making staff members uncomfortable or refused to take them out, I'd be showing them the door!

 

That said, unfortunately I don't think such a phobia is likely to be a disability, so if the employer refused to do anything there wouldn't be much that could be done.

 

I have seen worse examples - I once had someone ask if they could bring a discrimination claim after a few days in employment - they took a job in the emergency services and were put out when the employer refused to remove the emergency vehicles from the premises as a reasonable adjustment for their phobia!!

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backy, that's an awesome example :) Made me smile!


Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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I just wanted to give a bit of a better perspective on the depression/phobia debate.

 

I've had an extreme phobia to frogs for over 10 years. Real of fake makes no difference. The sound of them would simply leave me in tears trembling and feeling sick. I know it is insane, I don't understand it but it is what it is. Luckily I don't come across too many real frogs of the sounds of them but you'll be surprise how many fakes once you come across in day to day life.

 

For the past 5 years I've been able to listen to the sound and see fake frogs without too bad a reaction. The overall phobia is improving year on year.

 

Since I've been suffering with depression and anxiety my phobia is back to its worse. For me, I think its because I'm struggling to cope with everything else and don't have the energy to concentrate on my silly phobia. But the fact is its much worse now because of the depression.

 

If I was at work and a new colleague brought in a fake frog for their desk, I'd expect management to ask for it to be removed. I'd never feel comfortable approaching the individual about it. I know its more difficult with peircings etc but I'd expect help from management or some more reasonableness considering phobias are involuntary reactions!

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I have seen worse examples - I once had someone ask if they could bring a discrimination claim after a few days in employment - they took a job in the emergency services and were put out when the employer refused to remove the emergency vehicles from the premises as a reasonable adjustment for their phobia!!

 

Too early for April Fools Day...

 

In all seriousness - that is weird!

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