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our well being committee chair is anti-vax, anti-science, and uncontrolled — Ask a Supervisor

A reader writes:

I’ve determined what my very own actions will likely be right here, however wished to get your ideas on whether or not or not an employer has an obligation to close this down.

My office (a state authorities company) has varied Worker Useful resource Teams. All 100% voluntary, and there are limits to how a lot time we will spend on them.

Final yr I joined the wellness committee and finally turned a board member. I discovered shortly that our chair is an anti-vax, anti-medicine, anti-science, MLM (suppose shakes, protein powders, maybe named after a summer season physique expectation) distributor. When she’s sick, it’s important oils and nutritional vitamins, no meds.

I assist our proper to decide on what wellness path we really feel is finest for ourselves (besides the vaccine one … however shifting on), however she has taken it to excessive “MY PATH IS THE ONLY PATH AND EVERYONE MUST BE ON IT” ranges.

She recurrently shames folks’s meals decisions, going as far to demand they throw it out, however she is after all completely satisfied to advocate an acceptable <> product. Happily, we’re distant so she will’t inform if it’s executed or not.

She’s recommended we write articles pushing coconut oil as a substitute of sunscreen and implied that oral contraceptives are dangerous (and rejected requests so as to add “speak to a medical skilled”).

She believes being unhealthy is a selection. Can it’s? Positive. Nevertheless it can be an absence of schooling, funds, availability … all of which can extra considerably impression low earnings and folks of colour. She lately demanded we modify a recipe to switch a pair tablespoons of flour with a hard-to-find different costing $8/pound. I, and some others, pushed again and stated we wished one thing extra inclusive and accessible, and he or she went on a rant about how being wholesome is a selection and we shouldn’t counsel dangerous issues simply because folks don’t wish to make that long-term funding of their well being.

I’m not naive … I do know (and sincerely hope) nobody is making life-changing choices primarily based on our newsletters. However I nonetheless don’t wish to give her an viewers, so I’m resigning from the board later this week and can cite our variations of opinion and common issues on what we’re placing on the market.

I simply wished a gaggle with some meal prep ideas and exercise concepts … didn’t anticipate to argue about pesticide cereal (yup, that occurred) and flour varieties.

Would love to listen to your ideas.


I’m not satisfied worker teams must be distributing any details about eating regimen to workers … or much more common well being recommendation for that matter, past publicizing public well being pointers. There’s an excessive amount of room for weirdness and misinformation. Your coworker is taking {that a} notably ridiculous new degree, however I’d say that even when she weren’t.

Staff have numerous locations to get eating regimen and well being info from — like their medical doctors — and it’s not an acceptable function for a office to play.

So personally if I had been on this committee — or had some authority over it — I’d advocate for dramatically overhauling its mission and actions. Reasonably than telling folks what private well being choices to make, concentrate on what the office does — advocate for robust Covid protections, versatile schedules, easy accessibility to wholesome meals at work, backed health club memberships, stand-up desks for anybody who desires one, good insurance coverage with robust preventative care, and different actions from the employer moderately than from particular person workers.

But when that’s not an choice, I’d at the very least concentrate on eliminating this chair, whose stances must be disqualifying for the function. I assume she doesn’t converse for almost all of the committee — does she solely have energy as a result of nobody else wished to do the work and/or doesn’t really feel like standing as much as her? What she’s doing is egregious sufficient that it’s price utilizing some capital to get her shut down, together with stating to The Powers That Be that she’s utilizing authorities funding to push these viewpoints. (I do want to notice that I can’t inform out of your letter whether or not or not she has tried to push her anti-vax, anti-medicine, anti-science views in an official capability past the anti-sunscreen and anti-contraceptives stuff, though each of these are problematic sufficient on their very own.)

I do know you’ve already resigned, however many coups all through historical past have been led by leaders who constructed up their allies from the skin earlier than deposing tyrants.

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