My husband came home from work the other day visibly upset. When I asked him what was going on, this is what he told me.
At the end of his work day, he packed up his stuff and was heading out the door toward the parking lot. He spotted a few of his coworkers smoking cigarettes in their building’s designated smoking area outside. Within the small cluster of coworkers he spotted one coworker in particular. When she saw him she quickly tried to hide her cigarette. Ok, what’s the big deal, you might ask? Well, the big deal is that she is four months pregnant.
L said that he gave her a confused look, got in his car, and left. Days have gone by, and he’s still wondering if he should say something to her. But see, this isn’t even the first time that there has been a question about her pregnant behavior. At a company function earlier this year, several coworkers spotted her drinking a beer. When L told me about this I told him that it was none of our business. It’s her body, and her baby.
However, after this second incident I’m not so sure. She obviously knew that she was doing something “wrong” because she tried to hide the cigarette when she saw my husband. And what was absurd to me is that other coworkers were lighting up with her. Did they not feel an obligation to say something? But then maybe they did say something, and she ignored them?
Where do you draw the imaginary line between what is private and public business? Do you have an obligation (for the sake of the unborn child) to speak up?
It’s like if you see a parent in public hitting their child. Do you step in and say something because kids are young and can’t defend themselves? Or do you assume that it’s not your business how a person disciplines their kid?
L’s coworker chose to smoke cigarettes out in public. If she were my coworker, I think I might pull her aside privately and say something. But then again, it might depend on how well I knew her. It’s a tough one.What would you do?