My work colleague wished COVID-19 on me — should I complain?

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I had a disagreement with a work colleague during a Zoom meeting. He then said — in front of other team members — “Why can’t COVID find the right people?” I was stunned and so was the team. Do you think I should confront the person, report it to HR, or just let it go?

Every multiple-choice question has at least one answer that is obviously wrong and can be eliminated immediately. Guess which one that is here? For those of you playing at home, correct — ignoring it is not an option. Let’s replace “COVID” with something else, like “cancer,” “AIDS,” “heart attack” or even “death,” and see how it feels. You have to say something, and there would have to be extraordinary circumstances for me to not fire that individual — like if they just lost a loved one to COVID, are grieving and had a momentary horrible lapse. But that’s about the only excuse I can think of.

My employer filed for Chapter 11 last spring and the company closed shortly thereafter. Its assets were sold to another business, which is now in the process of reviving the original company. Fewer than 10 percent of the employees have remained on board with the new owners. The rest were “downsized.” On LinkedIn, the remaining employees often gloat about the “rebirth” of the company, which I find extremely insensitive since so many people lost their livelihoods. Am I justified in feeling this way, or should I congratulate them on LinkedIn?

There are too many people glued to social platforms who are flaming and trolling and rewiring the synapses in their brain and basically becoming digital attack zombies. LinkedIn is not that place and not for those people. You have the right to feel what you feel, but is it possible that their business and job revival under new ownership is justifiable cause for celebration, and they are not actually gloating? If they are being insensitive, you can simply not congratulate them. No harm in that. Or, congratulate them and wish the many colleagues who lost their jobs well, and express hope that the LinkedIn community provides assistance in their job searches.

Gregory Giangrande has over 25 years of experience as a chief human resources executive and is dedicated to helping New Yorkers get back to work. E-mail your questions to [email protected] Follow Greg on Twitter: @greggiangrande and at GoToGreg.com.

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