Mom gets shamed by manager for calling out of work to care for son on life support

When Crystal Reynolds Fisher's 18-year-old son ended up on life support for a 104-degree fever, she did what any working mom would do: she called out of work so she could be with him. But when she contacted her manager to let her know, she was not prepared for such a cruel, heartless reaction, Buzzfeed reports.

Crystal, who lives in Michigan, works at a PS Food Mart, a convenience store run by the company Folk Oil. On the day she had to miss work, she texted her manager, Dawn, to explain her son's situation, and offered to keep her updated so she "can return to work with no problems."

But rather than being understanding, Dawn immediately replied with hostility, writing, "That isn't how we do things, so I'll accept that you're quitting." 

Her manager went on to diminish Crystal's situation and shame her, writing, "I will not get into [this] with you on here, but I've been more than accommodating during this, allowing schedule changes and such. There is no reason you can't tolerate work, and I will not tolerate drama ... If you aren't there to work your shift tomorrow, then I take that as you've quit."

Despite Crystal bringing up the fact that she had a legitimate reason to miss work—her son's life was on the line—her manager still did not show any sort of sympathy.

When Crystal said she'd be calling corporate, Dawn offered up the number herself—clearly unafraid of the consequences.

And when Crystal asked her if she would go into work if she were in the same situation, Dawn replied, "Yes, I would. I still have bills to pay and something to keep me occupied. We don't get to come and go as we please at Folk Oil. I have tomorrow and Monday covered. Your son is in the best place he can be. I have a store to run and that's my focus." 

We are floored that anyone could be so cruel to another person whose child is in a life-threatening situation. Where is the compassion?

On Saturday, Crystal uploaded screenshots of the entire text exchange in a Facebook post that has since gone viral. Currently, the post has over 88,000 shares, with many outraged by her manager's treatment toward her.

On Monday, Folk Oil released a statement responding to the incident on their Facebook page, Buzzfeed reports. Not only did they apologize, they shared that Dawn is no longer employed at the company, and that Crystal "will be able to take all the time off that she needs during this difficult period." 

RELATED: Check out the most unhealthy habits Americans have adapted in the workplace: 

6 most unhealthy American workplace habits
See Gallery
6 most unhealthy American workplace habits

Americans work crazy long hours

Perhaps the most notorious habit of American workers is their tendency to work long hours. 

A Gallup report from 2014 estimated that the average full-time worker in the United States works 47 hours a week, one of the highest figures in the world, and significantly higher than the rates in Western Europe.

For example, in Europe, the Working Time Directive gives employees in the European Union the right to work no more than 48 hours a week. In practice, employees in some countries, like Germany and Sweden, work closer to 35 hours a week, according to Cary Cooper, an American-born professor at Manchester Business School in the United Kingdom.

Craig Storti, author of "Communicating Across Cultures," said Europeans consider the typical American workload an ineffective use of time.

"Europeans see that as being inefficient," Storti told Business Insider. "They say, 'You should have finished that in the allotted time.'"

They hardly ever go on vacation

Vacation time varies from country to country, but Americans seem to get the short end of the stick, with most companies offering around two weeks of paid leave a year.

And what little vacation time Americans do receive, they don't always take advantage of.

According to the careers website Glassdoor, the average US employee who receives paid vacation only actually takes 54% of the allotted time each year.

Compare to that to a country like Sweden, where workers get five weeks of paid vacation a year, and it's no surprise that they reject the American system.

"American companies aren't looking at the evidence of the important of holidays, in terms of productivity afterwards," Cooper told Business Insider, who said burnout was a much bigger problem in the US than in other places. "You can't continue to work without many breaks during the year."

And they barely take any family leave, either

The United States doesn't guarantee any paid leave to new parents, instead leaving it up to individual employers. 

The result is new parents take far less time off after having a child than other parents around the world. That's largely due to cultural stigma — women can be seen as prioritizing home life above all else, while men can be seen as being less serious about their careers.

But it's not that way everywhere. In Finland, for example, expecting mothers can start their leave seven weeks before having a child, and can continue for 16 weeks after the birth. Men in Finland are offered eight weeks of paid leave.

Americans tend to eat at their desks

Americans have a reputation for being chained to their desks, and the statistics seem to back it up.

A 2015 survey found that only one in five Americans actually spends their lunch break away from their desks, with most eating their midday meal while they continue to work. 

On top of that, millions of Americans are skipping lunch altogether to continue working.

Meanwhile, in France, Spain, Greece, and other countries, lunch breaks can last an hour or more — and rarely take place in front of a computer screen.

Americans seldom take breaks during the day

Even outside of lunchtime hours, American workers rarely step outside for a break.

Meanwhile, in Sweden, workers often enjoy a daily breather called fika — an extended coffee break during which employees can gather and socialize. Many offices offer two breaks, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

Studies have shown that taking breaks throughout the day help us increase creativity, regain our focus, and retain information.

And they send emails after work hours

One of the worst American work practices, in the eyes of foreigners, is the tendency to send and answer emails after work hours have ended.

In other cultures, there is more of a distinction between work life and personal life, and the two rarely bleed into each other, Storti said. And France took that to extreme measures, enacting a measure earlier this year that allows employees to ignore work-related emails sent after working hours.

"In Europe, they give 100% from 9 to 5. When they go home, that's it, they're finished. They resent being contacted late."

The same goes for weekend emails — even ones that are sent without the expectation the recipient will respond right away.

"When they come in Monday and see you emailed them on Sunday, they're going to be annoyed by that," he said. "The perception is Americans, they don't stop working."


Though it's good to know Crystal still has her job, we still can't believe her manager ever thought it was acceptable to treat a worker like that in the first place.

As many people noted in the comments section of Crystal's initial post, under federal law, the Family and Medical Leave Act should protect her from losing her job if she has to take unpaid time off to take care of herself or a loved one. However, the problem with FMLA is that it's not as easy to access as you might think. For example, the employer has to have at least 50 employees and the employee would have had to work for the employer at least 1,250 hours in the last 52 weeks.

Here's hoping Crystal gets as much support as she needs during this stressful time for her family.

Read Full Story