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Rules Are Rules, CEO Or Not

, , , , , | Working | September 19, 2022

I work as a receptionist for a multi-tenant office building. The CEO of one of the tenant companies is a close friend of the owner of my company. Self-centred doesn’t cover his personality. [CEO] does what he wants and complains when other people do the same. I can usually let his “antics” slide because I know reporting him won’t do any good to anyone. However, one incident during the global health crisis is a whole different matter.

After the government announces a lockdown and the office occupancy goes down to 20%, [CEO] still insists that everyone from his company work at least four days a week in the office. Then, he suddenly doesn’t show up to the office for a few days. When he comes back on a Tuesday, I try to dig out where he has been directly from him. He just smiles and leaves my question unanswered.

Then, his assistant comes in.

Me: “Hi! Your boss is back! The mice can’t play anymore, eh?” *Chuckles*

Assistant: *Laughs* “Yeah. Oh, well.”

Me: “Was he ill or something?”

Assistant: “No. He was in Denmark.”

Me: “Huh? When did he come back? I don’t think he had enough time to quarantine.”

Assistant: “He just arrived this morning.”

Me: “What? The government rules clearly state that everybody needs to stay in quarantine for at least five days after coming back from abroad.”

Assistant: “Huh? Really? I haven’t read the new rule. [CEO] said he doesn’t need to quarantine.”

Me: “Oh, my. I’m sorry, but I need to inform my manager about this. He is placing all of us at risk — especially since we have an open office and everyone still uses the canteen together.”

Assistant: *Growing pale* “Oh. Oh, no. Please don’t mention my name!”

Me: “Of course. I’ll keep your name out of it.”

I report it to my manager, who takes it to the operational director. [Operational Director] then sends [CEO] an email asking him to go to quarantine ASAP and to ask everyone he was in contact with to also quarantine. Not very long after the email is sent, the assistant comes back to the reception.

Assistant: “Man… It’s like World War III upstairs. [CEO] is screaming, ‘Who the f*** told them about my trip?! I shouldn’t need to quarantine! I had a test before going, a test when I arrived there, another test before I came back, and another g**d*** test when I arrived in this bloody country! They’re all negative!’”

Me: “Oh. Wow. We’re just following the government rule, mate. I’m not a virologist, so I can neither back nor deny him. Following the rule is what we can do now.”

Assistant: “You didn’t tell anyone that I was the one who told you, right?”

Me: “No. They also understood enough not to ask for any names.”

Assistant: “Thank you! I’ll hide somewhere for a while, anyway.”

Me: “Good luck! And thank you for telling me!”

[Assistant] nodded weakly.

The CEO left only one hour sooner than usual, but he did stay home the rest of the week. Only one of his twelve employees that were there on Tuesday got [contagious illness]. He denied it was from him.

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