If there’s one thing that every desk-bound soul fears, it’s for their workplace to be haunted by a relatively benign yet mysterious figure: the lunch thief. These people are brave enough to ignore the threatening post-it notes and sneak in and out of the kitchen with our tasty bites. However, their actions tend to get exposed, even if it happens in the most unexpected way.

A few days ago, Redditor Peanut_Sauce_Fiasco took to the “Am I The A-Hole” community to ask fellow members for guidance about a recent office dispute they found themselves in. Though the employee is aware they’re legally not at fault here, poor reactions from coworkers loom like a dark cloud over their head.

The user explained that after work, they help out their friend who owns a Thai restaurant. After learning how to whip up some delicious meals, the worker noticed their homemade lunches had started to go missing at work. “I was pretty sure it was one of the new hires that was doing it, but had no proof,” the user wrote. “Until now.” Well, let’s just say things didn’t turn out the way the lunch bandit planned or hoped. Read on for the whole story and let us know what you think of it in the comments!

Recently, an employee turned to the internet to ask for advice after their boss accused them of poisoning his daughter who kept “borrowing” their lunch

Image credits: Tima Miroshnichenko (not the actual photo)

Although the worker is legally not at fault here, poor coworker reactions made them question their actions

Image credits: Anna Shvets (not the actual photo)

Later on, the author added some more information to the story

Anaphylactic shock is a rare but severe allergic reaction that can lead to dire consequences if not treated right away. Usually, it’s caused by an allergy to food, insect bites, or certain medications. The symptoms often become visible within 15 minutes of coming into contact with the cause of the suddenly allergy, and they can develop and get worse very fast.

Some of the main symptoms include breathing difficulties, a tight feeling in the throat, feeling lightheaded, losing consciousness, swelling of the mouth, fast heartbeat, and more. If someone shows signs of anaphylaxis, it’s important to react quickly – use a shot of epinephrine in a person’s thigh and call an ambulance or go to the emergency room right away.

However, this alarming situation could have easily been avoided if the woman didn’t eat food from unmarked containers that don’t belong to her. Many people online wondered why she would risk her health by “borrowing” someone’s lunch when she is severely allergic to nuts? While their question may never be answered, this story serves as a reminder for every worker out there to respect their colleagues and their belongings.

Several commenters were eager to know about the peanut sauce recipe, so the author shared it in the post

As you can guess, members of the Ask Reddit community overwhelmingly sided with the Redditor but unfortunately, her boss and coworkers seem to have a different opinion. The user mentioned in the edit that they no longer feel welcome in their team and are seriously thinking about whether they should keep working in such a hostile environment.

Sadly, getting iced out by workmates isn’t all that uncommon, so we reached out to Sally Heady, a career coach and cognitive hypnotherapist based in the UK, to learn more about how our colleagues’ actions affect us and how best to handle these uncomfortable situations. She told Bored Panda that when we feel unwelcome in our group at work, it may have a really negative impact on our mental health and performance.

“Humans are tribal and need connection in order to thrive. When we lived in tribes, being accepted by the tribe was crucial for our survival. If we were on the outside, it would mean sitting further away from the fire or having a smaller share of the hunt, ”she explained.

Moreover, there’s a part of our brain still hard-wired to consider isolation to be a dangerous state, Heady argued. “So when we feel rejected by our group at work, we can feel more anxious and on-edge as our brain wants us to be hyper-vigilant against the threat of isolation. If we’re anxious and stressed for a prolonged period, this can naturally lead to a drop in performance, ”she said and added this might make it hard for us to think clearly and rationally.

“We will also find it more difficult to ‘read’ people accurately, as we naturally feel more defensive if we feel we don’t belong in our group. We may also feel low and depleted if we don’t get the connection at work that we naturally crave, ”the career coach mentioned.

As the user explained in their post, this troubling incident made them genuinely consider quitting their day job. Heady told Bored Panda that feeling left out at work might take such an emotional toll on someone that they might consider leaving.

“The decision to leave a workplace isn’t one that should be taken lightly and questions such as financial commitments and how quickly a person thinks they will be able to find another job should all be taken into account,” she noted. “Having said that, if someone feels deeply unhappy because they don’t feel welcome at work and there’s no sign that this will change, then that person should do what’s best for the sake of their mental health and quit,” Heady advised.

It’s safe to say that finding a quick solution to being iced out at work is far from an easy task, and every situation is different. However, the career coach suggested a few things to consider when living through these experiences. “Broadly speaking, the employee can choose to raise the issue with their co-workers, or they can raise it with their boss or HR department to see if the relationship can be repaired.”

“In some cases, being ignored by co-workers can amount to bullying or constructive dismissal (in the UK) and can result in legal action. Before taking legal action, the employee needs to think about whether taking legal action will be worth the time, energy and cost involved, ”she concluded.

The vast majority of Redditors sided with the user, here’s what they had to say

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