Do you think she should have won? (Child Death Ment)

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Alissa_Sal's picture
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Do you think she should have won? (Child Death Ment)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/09/cecelia-ingraham-new-jers_n_956266.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009

Almost two years after her daughter Tatiana's death, Cecelia Ingraham was reportedly forced by her boss to remove photos of her daughter from her cubicle, as well as Tatiana's ballet slippers, Courthouse News Service reported.
Ingraham sued her workplace, Ortho-McNeil, Johnson & Johnson and DeStefanis for discrimination, constructive discharge and intentional infliction of emotional stress.
The publication went on to describe the incident in question:
[INDENT]"He [Ingraham's boss] allegedly told her that several of her co-workers had complained about her tendency to talk about her daughter's death, which made them uncomfortable. And he said she could "no longer speak of her daughter because she is dead" and should act as if her daughter 'did not exist,' the ruling states."[/INDENT] ABC news had more on Ingraham's reaction:
[INDENT]“I was still in shock. Nothing was coming out of my mouth at the time because I was still in shock and I was in disbelief,” Ingraham testified. “And I said to him, I cannot believe that. I says, I don’t see anybody avoiding me. They always come over, they give me my work.” [/INDENT] Afterward, Ingraham left work and didn't come back, according to ABC. A few days later she had to have heart surgery for sudden heart palpitations. Soon after her recovery, Ingraham resigned from the job and entered the lawsuit.

The New Jersey courthouse ruled against Ingraham, however, saying that the defendant did not intentionally inflict emotional stress on the mother.
The reason? According to the presiding judge, Judge Victor Ashrafi, the workplace is too complex to concretely narrow down motives.
[INDENT]"The workplace has too many personal conflicts and too much behavior that might be perceived as uncivil for the courts to be used as the umpire for all but the most extreme workplace disputes."[/INDENT]

According to The Daily Mail, Tatiana was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia in 2003, but fought it into remission. Sadly, two years later the cancer returned, and she eventually died in May of that year.

So, was this a good ruling, or would you consider asking someone to stop talking about (and take down the pictures of) their dead child harassment and/or intentionally inflicting emotional distress? Does it matter that she had heart surgery due to palpitations shortly thereafter (presumably this was mentioned because they were arguing that the stress of the incident brought on the palpitations.)

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Well, I don't think the heart surgery had anything to do with it.

I can't imagine asking someone to remove pictures of a deceased child or asking them to stop talking about it... How awful.

HOWEVER, we are only hearing one side of this argument. A few pictures on a desk would be fine, but if it were a giant shrine - I can see it bothering people. Same with talking about it, there is a normal amount of talking, but if she literally talking of nothing else and constantly bringing up death, etc. then I can see it being upsetting. IF that is the case and the complaints were legit, then I feel pretty awful for the poor sucker that had to tell the grieving mom to take down her shrine. There is no way that could have gone well Sad

To sum to all up, if we're talking about a couple pictures and normal discussion - the manager was an a$$. If it is a shrine and incessant bringing talk of death - sucks to be the manager, I don't think he meant to be hurtful and I hope the women gets some grief counseling.

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I don't think that her situation at work had anything to do with her heart surgery. I do think her boss was a gigantic scum bag. Unless they are restricting every other employee of also not having pictures of their children, then they have no reason of asking her to do it...regardless of if it makes others uncomfortable. It is a still a child, dead or not.

The only thing is: it is one-sided. It doesn't really clarify how many pictures that she has; obviously if it is excessive, that would be an issue. Even so, her boss completely went about the situation in the wrong manner.

Starryblue702's picture
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I completely agree with Kris and Rebecca...

wlillie's picture
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No, it was terribly insensitive and probably over the top, but if her heart palpitations were caused by emotional distress, wouldn't her daughter's death have been the real reason and not a few unkind words from her boss?

I have a lot of pictures up (we're allowed as many as we want as long as they are framed and no one complains), but can't imagine how she must have felt to have someone ask her to take her dead daughter's photos down. I think if she was making people uncomfortable, the situation could have been handled a lot better.

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I agree that this is all very one sided and really impossible to say what really happened. I wouldn't even say that she is lying. In this woman's emotional state, the manager could have been really sensitive and understanding, but she could have perceived it as him telling her to pretend it never happened. It is just not possible to tell with the info provided.

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I agree with pp that this is a one sided account. There is a lot of missing information.

But let's assume for argument's sake that the woman excessively spoke of her daughter's death to the point where it was affecting her performance and making others very uncomfortable. Let's also assume that the number of pictures was not excessive. One futher assumption - the manager really said to act as though the deceased daughter didn't exist.

As a manager I would likely coach the woman that speaking so much about her daughter's death was effecting her performance. I would let her know what those effects are. Not that she couldn't speak of it, just that there are appropriate times for those kinds of personal conversations. I would also offer her an opportunity to talk with our faculty/staff assistance program to help her deal with her grief. Under no circumstances would I ask her to act as though the child didn't exist - that is simply cruel.

The manager was a total a$$ for making that comment. It doesn't sound to me that this is a supportive work place. People who have grief so profound that it effects their daily work ability need help, not reprimands.

I think that had the situation been handled with more compassion and discression things could have turned out a bit differently. Sounds like that place needs a culture initiative.

Oh, and I don't think the work situation had anything to do with her heart.