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I have BB's, should I inform employer?

(13 posts)
  1. Averros

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Sep 19 2011 2:05:12
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    Good evening,
    I discovered today that I have bedbugs in my apartment... Bites started about 2 weeks ago (that I noticed) .... Was getting odd bites on my feet. Checked the bed and nothing, put a white sheet on the bed and still nothing conclusive (one blood spot). This morning it was driving my wife and I insane so we tore apart our bedroom and found feces on our storage boxes, opened the boxes and sure enough there were bed bugs.... I am creeped out to the extreme... I wasn't sleeping well before hand and now I am on day 2 with no sleep. But the problem that has occurred to me this evening is should I inform my employer, so that they can be aware of a problem potentially appearing in the work place? My concern is that I just started this new job and would likely be let go....... Or should I just continue with the changing of clothes, packing them up, etc each day?

    Stressed, tired, and frustrated,
    Avers

  2. BugsMustDie

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Sep 19 2011 5:57:52
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    I wouldn't tell. People are very undereducated about bed bugs and it's difficult to know how your employer will react. I read a thread one person posted who said his employer told him not to come to work until they are gone. The problem with that is people need to realize, bed bugs are here to stay. People are going to get them and they need to at least try to live their lives while having them, as difficult as it may be. It could take months to get rid of them and we can not possibly expect people to be out of work for months due to bed bugs.
    Also, people fear being terminated if their employer finds out. I know every state has different laws and you may have some protection from this, but I think it's a gray area. Being that you're new on the job (I would assume under a probationary period) they could look for another reason to terminate you. As difficult as it may be, try to get some sleep. You don't want sleep deprivation to cause poor work performance.
    With that said, it is extremely important to prevent from spreading them. Read the FAQs on traveling and make sure to be very, very careful.

  3. Rosae

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Sep 19 2011 8:04:00
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    I wouldn't tell unless it is very obvious. In that case I would be a bit euphemistic.

  4. cilecto

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Sep 19 2011 8:12:42
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    Here's another recent thread with some perspectives. http://bedbugger.com/forum/topic/my-situation-at-work-does-anyone-have-any-experience-with-this

    Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night...
    - Psalms 91:5-7

    (Not an pro)
  5. Averros

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Sep 19 2011 10:15:32
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    Thank you for your responses, I am just so scared to lose my job... And I am also scared to Send these little buggers to someone else.

    I slept on an air mattress in my living room last night, didn't sleep so well.... Having issues spending much time in my bedroom.... Feeling violated, and dirty, anid yes I know bed bugs are not attracted to dirt. We are working on getting rid of clutter, cleaning base boards, washing and drying and bagging all of our laundry. We are implementing new routines that I think will be "forever" habits.

    Averros

  6. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Sep 19 2011 13:46:20
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    If you could trust your employer not to be irrational, I would urge you to tell them. Despite their name, BBs are all too willing to infest chairs, sofas, and so on.

    I'm not an expert, but my understanding is that you're strongly encouraged to continue sleeping in the bed. If you sleep in the living room, the bugs will get hungry and go looking for sustenance -- making them harder to find and get rid of, and increasing the risk that they'll infest other apartments from which they'll re-infest yours later.

  7. so unsettling

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Sep 19 2011 14:12:13
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    No, I think you should not even bring the subject up where you work. Read the faq and learn everything you have to do to prevent spreading them. There is work enough in those practices; you don't have to make things harder for yourself by letting your employer know. He/she can't help you, but CAN hurt you.

    Unfortunately, the workplace isn't yet a place to trust when it comes to this problem. For all you know, you may have acquired them from there, but once you admit you have them at home, they will hold you responsible or see you as the source of any infestation they find at work. Nobody here has to fall on the sword like that. Few people really know exactly where they got them, and pointing fingers is useless and unethical. But many of the people with whom you work won't know that, and everyone loves a fall guy. There is nothing for you to confess to them--you don't owe them that. Just make sure you don't spread them there, and carry on.

  8. OhNoes

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Sep 19 2011 14:13:02
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    I told my employer right away. We are a high risk organization as is (social service organization) with a number of clients who we KNOW have had them.

    Employer was very understanding, and when I found one at work, had a treatment the next day.

    That said, I'm also in a union, and can't be fired without just cause.

  9. so unsettling

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Sep 19 2011 15:00:38
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    Interesting, ohnoes. There are some cases where revelations have already been somewhat facilitated, and yours sounds like one of them. Not just because of the union, but because in your type of business there is already greater awareness. Also, it is unlikely that in such a situation anyone could rationally point a finger at anyone in particular.

    If telling an employer serves some kind of educational purpose, and if the employee knows that there is nothing to fear, then of course, we would be able to tell and it would serve the cause. However, in most queries I have seen about this topic at this site, the poster seems to feel somehow OBLIGATED to tell his/her employer, and is asking if he/she does have such an obligation. And the purpose is not so much to "educate," as to put the employer ON THE ALERT that one of their workers could be bringing bugs into the workplace. That is the last thing any rational person would want to share with their boss. We should do is take every measure to prevent carrying the bugs to work, but for many people it would be economically suicidal to put an employer ON THIS ALERT!

  10. BuggerBeater

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Sep 19 2011 17:52:41
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    Averros - 7 hours ago  » We are implementing new routines that I think will be "forever" habits.
    Averros

    This will make an excellent thread topic. I'd love to hear your input over here: "What habits have you kept since your bed bug experience"

  11. OhNoes

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Sep 19 2011 18:44:40
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    I agree. We knew that they would make it to the building at some point in time. I also thought that it was important to let them know since I would have to take time off to deal with the treatments. I've used probably 2 vacation days dealing with the problem and they have been OK about it.

    My one supervisor said she was "mad" (in a joking way) that I had to take time today, cause it meant I was still fighting them. I got a lot of sympathy from supervisors since starting my fight.

    That said, Sig.Other and I have talked about moving in together next year. I'm fairly certain that when that happens, I'm going to get rid of a lot of my stuff (unless there are NOOOO signs) next year. I still have almost a year before that will happen.

    I understand the fear with telling the employer, especially where the law allows them to fire you for almost any reason.

    so unsettling - 3 hours ago  » 
    Interesting, ohnoes. There are some cases where revelations have already been somewhat facilitated, and yours sounds like one of them. Not just because of the union, but because in your type of business there is already greater awareness. Also, it is unlikely that in such a situation anyone could rationally point a finger at anyone in particular.
    If telling an employer serves some kind of educational purpose, and if the employee knows that there is nothing to fear, then of course, we would be able to tell and it would serve the cause. However, in most queries I have seen about this topic at this site, the poster seems to feel somehow OBLIGATED to tell his/her employer, and is asking if he/she does have such an obligation. And the purpose is not so much to "educate," as to put the employer ON THE ALERT that one of their workers could be bringing bugs into the workplace. That is the last thing any rational person would want to share with their boss. We should do is take every measure to prevent carrying the bugs to work, but for many people it would be economically suicidal to put an employer ON THIS ALERT!

  12. Super

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Sep 20 2011 10:49:01
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    I've had bedbugs since last December. They're proving to be more than a little difficult to eridicate as I live in a Victorian row house with original lath and plaster wall coverings and lots of cracks everywhere.

    We've been exceptionally vigilant about the problem, had 3 PCO visits in Jan/ Feb, and nearly eridicated the problem only for the population to re-emerge over the summer.

    I was open about the issue at work, and as a result was told to work from home while the problem was happening. After about 2 weeks of working from home I was allowed back to work, as I guess they agreed that they had made a really bad decision.

    However, I was furious about my treatment by work, as I likely got the bugs originally from an overnight work trip in December, to a hotel that I discovered had a pretty major problem. I was clueless then about bedbugs.... Not now

    Anyway, my advice would be to not tell. I work for a pretty great company, and even then, they still screwed up over their treatment of me.

  13. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Sep 20 2011 11:39:31
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    Averros,

    Whether or not you tell your employer depends a lot on your employment situation.

    I understand your impulse to want to tell your workplace so that they can be on the lookout in case you bring a stray hitch hiker in with you.

    If you're following the protocols outlined in the FAQs, however, it should be pretty easy for you to avoid bringing the bugs into work.

    I do not advocate failure to follow appropriate protocols for avoiding the spread of bed bugs. However, I had bed bugs for over a month before I realized what was going on. Not knowing that I had them, I obviously wasn't following the protocols. Despite taking no precautions, I didn't take any bugs to work with me.

    In other words, the ethical thing to do is take precautions to avoid spreading them, but once we become aware of bed bugs, it's easy to imagine spreading them all kinds of ways we were unaware of before. It takes a little while to settle back down into a more realistic idea of how easy they are and are not to spread. So right now, you're in that first awareness phase, and you're more likely to see bed bug infestation possibilities everywhere.

    As a result, i'd go a bit more cautiously right now about how open you are until you get a bit more sleep and have a chance to come back from DEFCON 1 .

    I mention that because, yes, it's possible to take them to work, but it's also possible that you haven't. Fighting bed bugs is expensive, and you'll be less prepared to win the battle if you're unemployed.

    You know your current employer better than we know your current employer, and I would encourage you to trust your gut on whether you should tell your employer or not. My sense is that every situation is different, and chances are that you have a better feeling about whether it's safe to tell your employer or not.

    If you had very good reason to suspect that there were bed bugs in the workplace, I'd advise you differently. However, it doesn't sound like you've seen any signs of them at work. Unless you do, and unless you're in a job where you are 98% sure or more that in this tight labor market, your employer will continue to employ you, then I wouldn't tell my employer.

    (When I had bed bugs, I was employed by the state. I'm represented by a good, strong union. While I told the coworkers who shared my immediate workspace, I didn't tell my employer because I knew I reacted to bites, and I wanted to see if I saw any signs of bugs at work. I didn't. Nor did my immediately adjacent coworkers. Three plus years later, I'm still sure that there were no bed bugs in my office then or now, so I feel confident in that decision. I knew my employer would have taken care of the problem, but I didn't want to alarm them if I didn't have to, and while I am on a multi-year contract, I don't have as much job security as others where I work, so I didn't want to jeopardize that if I didn't have to. Obviously, once I knew about the bugs, I followed the protocols in the FAQs.)

    Hope that helps a bit.


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