Here is another post from 2017 about a situation I could not avoid a few years earlier and how I handled it. Sometimes, as a leader, you have to make choices to do the right thing, despite what others may think of you. This was the most difficult scenario that I faced in a leadership position.
She was a beautiful young woman. It was my first assignment as a supervisor. The team I took over was a young group of mostly just out of high school team members. When I received my assignment, I met with each individual, including the young woman. As I met with her, she informed me that she had a medical condition. She was susceptible to seizures.
I could have never guessed this and I ask how I could help. She told me that her only concern was that she did not want to have a seizure in front of everyone on the floor. She said that she is aware when one is about to start and if it would be alright if she went into a room while it happened. I agreed and I let my boss and HR know about the condition. I was told that when she went in there that myself and/or my lead (assistant manager) would need to go in with her to make sure there were no concerns.
The seizures became quite frequent and each time either myself or both myself and my lead would go in with her and wait it out while she had her mostly minor, but sometimes violent, seizures. This went on night after night for about 3 months before the doctors could find a solution for her and the seizures subsided.
One night, when I was monitoring another young woman on my team for quality assurance, the recording showed an IM conversation between her and yet another member of my team. In this conversation, she mentioned that she thought it was odd that I kept taking this cute girl to a meeting room every night. They speculated throughout the conversation that it was because she was pretty and that something immoral may be going on. I was devastated!
The rumors spread fast and I even had a peer ask me what was going on. The sad part is that outside of my boss, HR, my lead, and the agent – I was not to speak about the medical condition. In other words, I could not defend my integrity. What could I do? I never thought I would ever have anyone question my integrity and yet here it is, and I can’t say anything about it.
So, I kept silent. I made sure to document each time I had to go to watch the woman have a seizure when my lead could not go in there with me. I also increased the amount of times I called other people into a meeting, so it did not look so much as favoritism. All this with keeping the medical confidentiality. What would you have done?