For a long time, I have lured my employees to our monthly department lunch meeting by offering pizza. Everyone has liked this arrangement since I became a supervisor just over a year ago. Last week, an employee who has clearly enjoyed all the past pizza lunches suddenly announced that he is gluten intolerant so we should stop having pizza delivered and have gluten-free lunches instead. I don’t know if this is real because he’s eaten pizza with no ill effect for over a year. What should I do?
Inform your employee that you and the rest of the staff are Intolerant to Gluten Intolerance and then lock him in the broom closet for the good of everyone. Tell him the closet is 100% gluten free.
— Evil Skippy
P.S. Better yet, stop having meetings whether or not you lock the guy up.
While gluten intolerance is a real thing for a few unlucky people, it is a fad or hypochondria condition for so many more. Since there is no such thing as Sudden Onset Gluten Intolerance (based on my extensive two minute research session on line), the chances that your employee actually has the condition (but was able to scarf down all the past pizzas without being affected) are remote.
Since you are a supervisor, one of your roles is to keep the department from descending into chaos and ill will. You don’t need to make a big deal out of your employee’s announcement – just tell him he is free to bring an alternate lunch if he likes. Better yet – stop having lunch meetings if you are having them out of habit or just for the sake of having meetings. (Since you said these meetings are every month, based on my many years working in offices I bet most of yours are not needed).
If you live in a weird universe where monthly meetings are truly necessary, have a salad delivered with the pizza (croutons on the side). Choose your battles wisely, and testing the validity of someone’s professed gluten intolerance is not a battle you need to fight.
Readers – what would you do?
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