Woman asked to remove brooch at work as it leaves colleague ‘feeling distressed’


A woman has been asked to take off the sparkly rhinestone brooch she wore to her workplace after the design left one of her co-workers “distressed” and terrified

We all have things we’re scared of, and with Halloween right around the corner, many of us are having to confront the things that go bump in the night.

But one woman has been forced to ditch one of her spooky season accessories after it left her co-worker horrified.

Posting on Mumsnet, the woman explained she often wears brooches to work and had recently bought a dazzling rhinestone spider brooch, which she wore for the first time last week.

And just a few hours into her shift, the woman was approached by her manager and asked to take off her accessory – because it was terrifying one of her colleagues who has a phobia of spiders.

She explained: “I quite often wear brooches and yesterday wore a new one to work. It is from Zara and is a reasonably large sparkly rhinestone spider, which I had pinned to a black jumper.

“Mid-morning my line manager approached and asked if I would be prepared to take the brooch off as a colleague had said that they have a phobia and was finding it distressing.

“I took it off my jumper and put it on my coat, which I didn’t wear again until I left for the day.”

The woman doesn’t know who the complaint came from, but insisted she’s never heard of any of her colleagues suffering from arachnophobia before now.

She added: “The complaint will have come from one of three people, based on who saw me yesterday morning.

“I’m not going to go digging to find out who it was, and I don’t want to cause anyone distress (which is the word that was used) but I’ve worked with all three of them for several years and this severe phobia has never come up before.

“I don’t want to be a d*** but equally I really like my brooch.”

The post has over 700 comments, and opinion has been divided over whether the woman should stop wearing the brooch.

One person wrote: “It’s a brooch, not a pet tarantula. They are being ridiculous.”

And another agreed, adding: “Fear of real spiders is one thing, fear of a piece of jewellery is quite another.”

But several others sided with the colleague, insisting a fear of spiders doesn’t necessarily stop at the real thing.

Someone said: “If someone has a real phobia of spiders, it’s not inconceivable that they can’t even mention the word.

“There are varying degrees of arachnophobia, and for some people they can’t tolerate seeing the word spider written down or seeing images (not just photos).

“A phobia is an irrational fear of something, so just because it doesn’t make sense to you, doesn’t make it any less traumatic for them.”

While another wrote: “My colleague has a spider phobia. There is no way she could have spent the day looking at that brooch. Just knowing it was there would have been enough.

“Phobias aren’t rational and go way beyond just not liking them.”

And a third posted: “It would be unreasonable to wear it to work in the future now you know it causes distress to a colleague.”