my coworker tried to film her pregnancy announcement and now there is chaos

It’s the Thursday “ask the readers” question. A reader writes:

So this is an enragingly dumb breach of basic manners and I need to know I’m not crazy. I’m technically in an executive role but I don’t have authority over people, just finances, but I was told I should have “acted like a better manager” during this whole fracas. I kind of can’t believe someone would do something like this, especially since our office finally got 100% vaxxed (group decision, everyone pulled together, very cool) and we’ve had to be so careful about even breathing near one another for the last two years.

My coworker, “Jessie,” is pregnant and decided she wanted to film a reaction video announcement telling everyone in our office. This is a marketing firm, but we’re a small satellite office so corporate encourages us to do a lot of “meet the staff” and “it’s Tiffany’s Birthday” type sharing posts to attract clients. We’ve had problems before with the higher-ups encouraging some oversharing, and just a LOT of bad personal boundaries in the office. I feel like this inspired Jessie and another coworker, “Daniela,” to do this pregnancy announcement by tossing people a positive pregnancy test so they could film the reactions.

Two quick things:

A positive pregnancy test is a used pregnancy test, which means it was urinated on. I used to be a lab tech before I made a career switch so yes, even if it was wiped down with the cap on, it still has urine on it, and if it was a test from home that she brought with her it, bacteria and other unpleasantness could be incubating inside the plastic.

We just spent two years disinfecting our mail.

Jessie started by tossing the used pregnancy test to “Abby,” who flung it when she realized what it was and yelled “oh gross,” which got a lot of people’s attention and “ruined” Jessie’s announcement. It’s kind of office knowledge that Abby is a germophobe so while part of me gets that Jessie was excited and maybe didn’t think things through, the rest of me feels like this was a really unfair position to put Abby in, along with all the other staff she was planning to throw a used peed-on pregnancy test at.

Jessie and Daniela got super upset and offended and everyone in the cubicle block started arguing. Because there were no managers or HR on site that day, and I would be the next “ranking” executive, I stepped in and defused the situation as best I could.

I pulled Jessie and Daniela aside and congratulated Jessie. But here’s the part everyone’s mad at. I told them it’s never okay to hand someone something they urinated on, regardless of if they wiped it down and put the cap back on it. I said we’re excited for Jessie but that wasn’t okay and to throw the test out or take it home.

By the time the managers and HR got back in office, they were told multiple versions of the whole thing. For the record, they’re also all men. I got called in to explain what I saw. HR told me they’re considering disciplinary actions for Abby and anybody else who “reacted poorly” unless they publicly apologize to Jessie. I told them that was a terrible idea and, not knowing what else to do, I called corporate HR and relayed the situation to our female head of HR, outlining what I saw, who said what, and the low-level bullying that Abby’s been subjected to now. (If someone asks Jessie about her pregnancy and she knows Abby’s in earshot, she’ll say loudly, “Oh, well I guess my baby is GROSS according to SOME PEOPLE.”) Corporate HR (which is separate from our on-site HR) was horrified and put out a company-wide memo about keeping bodily fluids to yourself.

Nobody’s really doing anything about how badly Abby’s getting bullied, and several of us (me included) are still being encouraged to write Jessie an apology letter, which I won’t do. I get that a lot of people feel like they need to perform for social media, but I’m still stuck on the science and the double standard of it all. If I threw anything with my urine or bodily fluids on it other than a pregnancy test at coworker, people would be livid. So I guess my question is: WTF do I do?


Read an update to this letter here

{ 1,368 comments… read them below }

    1. CB212*

      100% legit response to having a pee-stick thrown at you, that’s disgusting. Jessie should lead the apology chain.

      1. Campfire Raccoon*

        Agree. Abby deserves an apology, bullying needs to be addressed staff-wide, (and in the moment if possible), and Jessie needs a reality check. I am not a germaphobe, but if someone tossed a pee-stick at me I would unconsciously pitch it right back at the tosser’s face. Jessie got off easy.

        1. JustaTech*

          Honestly when people at work have unexpectedly tossed things at me I’ve either 1) dodged and let whatever it was hit the flor or 2) deflected it back at them. And those were things you’d be expected to throw, like foam footballs! (I did eventually confiscate my coworker’s football after he startled me with it one too many times.)

          I don’t know why Jessie thought that everyone would cheerfully catch the random thing she threw at them (not everyone’s got brilliant hand-eye coordination) and then be happy that it was a pee’d on stick.

          1. Just Another Techie*

            I am delighted that no one at any workplace I’ve ever been in has ever thrown anything at me. Even a nerf football, I’d be appalled to have thrown at me when I’m at my desk trying to concentrate.

            1. Bmunroe*

              As someone who has been trying for a baby for a long time, if someone threw a pregnancy test at me and filmed my reaction, it would not be good..! You have to have some awareness of other people and how they feel.

              1. Tess*

                Right! I tried for a while in my 30s (happily kid-free now a decade later), as my workplace peers were getting pregnant left and right. I was always happy for them, didn’t mind office baby showers or whatnot, but 1) it is easy to be happy and excited for people when they are not obnoxiously demanding that response, and 2) I totally get why some people in my position might have struggled more with it. Flinging one’s pregnancy test at a coworker is some emotional ick and way inappropriate even before factoring that it involves, you know, your urine, at the office. Flinging one’s new engagement ring would be emotional ick too. Because not everyone feels the same way about those life milestones, or experiences them at the same time or in the same way or at all, and your coworkers may have pain or loss around them that you know nothing about.

                You can be happy about something in your life without being all HEY EVERYONE DROP WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND FEEL MY HAPPINESS NOW THIS IS AN ORDER about it.

                1. Zelda*

                  Your last paragraph captures the part of this that I was having trouble putting into words. I mean, Jessie is wilfully misunderstanding the objection here, with all the “I guess my baby is GROSS” snide BS.

                2. Marmot*

                  I just need everyone to know that in the context of the OP’s question, I initially read the phrase as “workplace pee-ers”

                  Thank you for that

                3. Lucy Skywalker*

                  It’s like the trend of “prom proposals” in high schools that started about 10 years ago. Some schools even have a contest for the most creative prom proposal, which makes me cringe. Asking someone to the prom is nerve-racking enough; now teens are expected to make it a performance for everyone to watch! Can you imagine how embarrassing it would be if you planned this elaborate show, only for your crush to turn you down? And think about how awful it’s going to appear to the unpopular geeky kids who can’t get a prom date. (Yeah, I was one of those geeks in high school.)

                4. Good Vibes Steve*

                  I’ve been struggling with getting pregnant, and whenever there is a baby announcement in the office, I put a brave smile on, share congratulations, and then discreetly excuse myself to the bathroom so I can let my sad out for a minute. I would not be able to perform happiness on this level.
                  I get that my struggles should not impact anyone else’s ability to share their joy, but there is a level of sensitivity and care that must be respected.

              2. Krabby*

                Oh my gosh, so much this! My husband and I tried for 3 years before finally being successful, and pregnancy tests STILL make me emotional because they bring back up all that hope and dread and disappointment. If this had been done to me during that time I would have had a full on emotional breakdown, nevermind the grossness factor of it.

                1. Kathy*

                  YES. I have so much trauma from my years of infertility and losses. This would have sent me into a full meltdown.

                2. anycat*

                  this 100%. especially as someone who had to sit through a baby shower for 4 people at once while prepping to go through IVF…

                3. Boston Area Mom*

                  8 years of trying. Have a miracle “rainbow baby” who’s 4 years old now.

                  The pregnancy was high risk and honestly I thought both me and my daughter were going to die.

                  Dear god. I would not have a positive reaction to anyone throwing a pregnancy test at me – even if it was a clueless friend.
                  A co-worker doing that?!!! GTFO

              3. bowl of petunias*

                Yes, holy crap, if anyone had done this to me anywhere near either of my two early pregnancy losses I would have been a howling mess.

              4. nomnom*

                Ooff. This is exactly where my mind went – I flinched as soon as I started to read the story, assuming that this is where it was going to go. You have no idea what is going in the lives of the people you work with (miscarriage, infertility, not wanting kids and tired of being hassled about it, wanting kids but don’t have the relationship / finances in place, etc). It takes very little self-awareness to realize what a bad idea this was. I’d go straight back to corporate HR and request that they step in more aggressively. Also, take Abby out for a coffee, and let her know you see what’s happening and have her back.

                1. CountryLass*

                  Even as someone who struggled through IVF, I didn’t even consider that part, I was too focused on the YOU THREW YOUR USED PEE-STICK AT SOMEONE!
                  It’s like the thing I saw on social media recently where the woman wiped down her positive pregnancy test and put it under her partner’s dessert… Then got upset when he was grossed out! I mean, he literally ate it until he found the test… How he wasn’t sick I will never know…

              5. Turtles All The Way Down*

                Agreed. My husband and I are now pursuing surrogacy, and I imagine that even if that’s successful, I’ll always have complicated emotions around other people’s pregnancies.

              6. Traci*

                This. Right. Here! We’ve been trying for over a decade. I cannot be near a conversation about pregnancy without flashing back to miscarriages and lots of pain so I bow out. In church, at work, in line at the grocery store… I duck out. If it had been flung at me… no one would like the outcome.

            2. Suz*

              I used to have a coworker who kept a trebuchet at his desk to launch fun size candy bars at people. But he always asked if you wanted some candy before he fired it at you.

              1. SeluciaMD*

                I personally find this charming and delightful and would be so entertained by it! (But understand completely why others might not.)

                1. CountryLass*

                  Sounds fun, as long as he asked and there was a warning cry given in case he missed, like ‘fore’ in golf. Maybe “chocs ho!”?

              2. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

                I have a desk catapult and yeah, I never launched anything at anyone without knowing they were cool with it.

                1. SyFyGeek*

                  But reading this:
                  company-wide memo about keeping bodily fluids to yourself
                  has absolutely made my day!

              1. Jules the 3rd*

                Hi! Either you’re the person diagonal to me when we’re in the cube farm, or two of us have nice coworkers! I like it too.

                But he would never never never throw a used pregnancy test.

              2. MsMaryMary*

                I had a coworker who would throw office supplies (post-it pad, pen) at me when she was on a particularly bananas phone call and wanted me to listen so we could laugh later. We were friends, it was fine.

                1. Amethyst*

                  Same! My coworkers (I’m guilty of this, too) are known to throw paper clips at each other. Once I threw a clip at a coworker’s back (she’d thrown it at me on her way to the printer) & it landed squarely on the back of her neck before dropping straight down her shirt. She squealed. I was doubled over in wheezy laughter.

                  I couldn’t have thrown it better if I’d tried.

            3. Nightengale*

              My balance is terrible and I have a big startle reflex. Throw something at me and I am likely to startle and then fall. Even from a chair. I can’t think of anyone at work throwing something “at” me but definitely attempts to throw things “to” me which has the same effect. Me + floor.

          2. Shhh*

            Right, if I were Abby, my reaction would’ve involved a ton of fumbling around, maybe an “AAAGH,” and the test on the floor before we ever would’ve gotten to ew. Guessing that’s not what Jessie was looking for either.

            1. RC*

              Honestly, the fact Abby’s only reaction was “Ew, gross” speaks to her maturity and presence of mind in the situation. I would have jumped up with a bellowed, “What the ACTUAL F!!! is WRONG with you?!?” and given Jessie hell for throwing her bodily fluids at me. I’ve worked places where that would’ve gotten her fired–how dare this girl turn around and act like the injured party. Jeebus what an ass.

              1. RC*

                Also! I’d look into the motives behind why Abby was singled out for this “reveal” first to begin with, particularly since she’s a known germaphobe. This was way more than an innocent prank gone wrong–Jessie’s motives were likely not pure from the jump.

                1. Elizabeth West*

                  That’s exactly what I thought. Especially since they’re now bullying her.

                  There is little I despise more than an adult who acts like a high school mean girl.

                2. Jimulacrum*

                  My thoughts exactly. She targets the known germaphone first. Then, after the predictable reaction, she uses it to bully the germaphobe with the disingenuous “my baby is gross” nonsense. I’d be very surprised if Jessie didn’t have an existing grudge against Abby, or just didn’t like her for some reason.

              2. elle woods*

                I grew up with brothers so generally my first response when someone throws something at me is to whip it back at their face….. I bet Jessie would have loved that :P

                1. Rose*

                  Loling because this is such a real ingrained trait of anyone who grew up with brothers, esp older brothers. Sometimes I do it when tossed something useful, like the remote. It’s totally reflexive.

              3. CountryLass*

                Amen to that one, I’d have gone full on Karen on her. Every variation of the words gross/offensive/assault would have been launched at her. along with as much spittle as I could reasonably get away with, to see how she likes having someone’s bodily fluid come at her!

            2. Spike Hammersmith*

              Former volleyball player. I would’ve likely spiked it back at her.

              (Don’t bring me to any place where they shoot t-shirt cannons or throw prizes into the audience. It’s a real problem).

          3. Web of Pies*

            Agreed, I don’t even like the throwing aspect of all this, let alone a thrown pee-stick!

            There is little more startling than being in the zone and suddenly getting hit with a Nerf dart. At the job I had where grown men played with toys instead of working, I told them I’d keep any dart shot my way, and then did. Ultimately I collected 5 or 6. No projectiles at coworkers please!!

            1. SheLooksFamiliar*

              I used to work with a few people who thought it was hilarious to yell, ‘Think fast!’ and throw an item at someone. Maybe it would make a mess when they caught it – a jelly donut, an open bag of Doritos, a half-empty can of soda – or it would shatter if it hit the floor so their coworker would try to catch in a panic – a company logo coffee cup or a picture frame. Yeah. Hilarious.

              Well, I don’t like that kind of thing, either, and told them I would simply let whatever they launched hit the ground. 3 or 4 shattered coffee cups later, and I guess asking me to think fast wasn’t fun anymore. Agreed, no projectiles at coworkers!

              1. Anon Supervisor*

                I used to work at a grocery store where a guy loved to toss empty boxes at my feet when I was walking in his general direction. It was infuriating.

              2. Mongrel*

                I have a similar reaction from kitchen work, stepping back or away from thrown or dropped items as you never know how pointy, sharp or hot something may be

          4. Leigh*

            I would go to the members of management with supervising authority OR HR one more time. I would explain that you’re seeing Abby being bullied over not wanting to touch Jessie’s urine & you worry it’s becoming a hostile work environment for her because if the things Jessie is saying, while Abby is not provoking anything.

            If they still pressure Abby to apologize to Jessie or nobody does anything to rein in Jessie, I’ve been known over the years to give harassed employees my notes on an incident & tell them if they speak to a lawyer, use them how they see fit. Some times just knowing you’re really not alone & you have the option to find a lawyer is enough fora person to weather a situation long enough for the other person to move on (hopefully to another job, nobody needs that level of drama)

            1. Curious*

              Please remember that a “hostile work environment” is not per se illegal under Title VII — it needs to be a hostile work environment *because of* the plaintiff’s race, sex, etc. So, Abby would need to prove that Jessie was treating her differently than she would have treated a similarly situated male co-worker (or a worker of a different race, etc.)

              That said, I agree that throwing ANYTHING at a co-worker is bad, and throwing something involving bodily fluids (precious or otherwise) is worse.

              1. Morticia*

                I’m not in the US, so I don’t know, but would having a germ phobia qualify as a disability there?

                1. Curious*

                  Now, that claim is complete! But it’s only against Jessie:. It’d be tough to prove that Employer should have expected her action. It would also likely be difficult to prove that Employer needs to protect Abby from a repeat performance, given the … unusual circumstances.

                1. Ismonie*

                  This is correct. If she had a disability (OCD, a true disabling phobia) or perceived disability, and was picked on for that reason, it would be actionable.

              2. L'étrangere*

                I’d think you would only throw a pregnancy test at a straight woman. Men seem incredibly ignorant about anything related to female anatomy or physiology, and even I as an old lesbian would require some serious head scratching before I perceived an object as a pregnancy test, or could read the results. So Abby was not picked at random, but due to belonging to a protected category

                1. Reality.Bites*

                  And there are a lot of straight w0men around who didn’t have home pregnancy tests during the years they might have had use for them. And I’m going to guess that the tests themselves have probably changed in appearance over the years. I don’t suppose most women who no longer use the tests keep up on the latest developments in design.

          5. INFJedi*

            I probably would catch it when someone throws something to me saying “catch”, if I see it coming I would just react and catch it (I blame all the times at recess during elementary school, when I was acting as a goalie when we were playing soccer :’) )

            The thing is, once I realise what the item is, a stick with pee on, I would probably throw it back (baseball style) before my rational side would take over. (so everyone would probably get very angry if the stick were to hit the culprit’s head :| )

          6. Low Morale Technician*

            I can guarantee you she saw something like this on TikTok and thought she’d try it out for herself. It’s too bad she doesn’t realize that all of those videos are staged and aren’t “real”. No one, ever, just catches an unsolicited used pregnancy test and is like, “Oh wow! This is great!” I would have been fired the following week for tossing a sperm sample cup (what? I can clean it!) to celebrate my successful vasectomy. It really means a lot to me you know, so please react positively.

        2. Salymander*

          Yeah I think the best thing to do is go back to corporate and tell them about what’s happening so they can rein in the management staff and especially Jessie and her friend as well as anyone see who is doing this. Thank goodness the OP was there to try to bring some common sense to this situation and these people.

          Poor Abby. For goodness sake, if anyone threw a pee stick at me I would have reacted a whole lot more than that! I think she sounds rather restrained and low key given that someone, in the middle of a devastating global pandemic when by now we should all know better, threw something that had been Urinated On and had likely Been In A Toilet at her while filming her reaction. And now she is being bullied for it? And management are trying to enforce the bullying? There is not enough WTF in all the world for this.

          1. Jules the 3rd*

            This. And also, you have standing and position to talk to Jessie’s manager about how Jessie is bullying Abby. Point out that it’s not actually ok, that Jessie made a huge, unprofessional overstep that is affecting her reputation, and that the manager should say something to Jessie about letting it go and getting back to professional behavior. Something like,
            “I’m concerned that Jessie doesn’t realize how over the line (pun intended) throwing a stick someone has peed on is, and that she’s continuing to cross that line with her comments about ‘gross’. She was and continues to be hugely unprofessional, and doesn’t seem to understand that. This makes me concerned about her professional judgement overall, and may affect how she’s seen here.

            Also, we’d all like to forget the time when someone threw a pee stick at a coworker, could you ask Jessie to let it go so that we can?”

            Push home to the manager that Jessie’s reputation is being harmed by Jessie’s behavior, and that the manger has a responsibility to address it.

          2. SeluciaMD*

            This is exactly what I came here to suggest. Corporate HR already knows the actual details and was (appropriately) horrified. They need to be informed that this local office – both local HR and leadership – are handling this TERRIBLY. Someone above their heads needs to come in and shut this down PRONTO. That has to be your first step.

            But I also second the idea of using the script (and sharing the script with others like Abby) others have suggested. Some version of: “Jessie, no one ever said, hinted or intimated that your baby or your pregnancy is gross. Tossing something you peed on at a coworker is what was gross. Stop conflating those two things and misrepresenting what happened.” Say it loud and with conviction so everyone in the back can hear. I have zero patience for this kind of manufactured melodrama and victimhood.

            1. Librarian of SHIELD*

              Yes to both suggestions. Corporate HR needs to know that this is still a problem, and somebody needs to set Jessie straight, loudly and in the hearing of the rest of the staff.

              1. Abogado Avocado*

                And may I suggest that these communications need to be made in writing? If it isn’t in writing, HR can pretend they didn’t understand the nuances. No one is saying you need to write a long explanation, but put it in writing so no one can say they didn’t understand the essential problem of throwing a pee stick at a coworker, Jessie’s continued bullying of Abby, and HR’s need to correct the situation once and for all.

            2. Properlike*

              YES. Both in writing to corporate, and on the spot when you overhear Jessie say it, in any context.

        3. Rose*

          It’s so weird and gross I initially thought that was supposed to be part of the gag. Like, we assume, as normal rational people, that some of the staff will automatically throw it down and yell “eww!” While others will assume it was wiped down and not care as much and be excited, the contrast of which will add to the hilarity! I already thought this was a stupid idea, but my jaw actually dropped when I read that they were offended by a grossed out response from throwing a peed on object at a co-worker.

          Even if it was something like a sonogram, this is just expecting way too much in terms of reaction from your coworkers. My relationships with my coworkers are warm and friendly, some are people I’d consider friends, but I’m not their mom. I’m not going to scream and cry and have some reaction worth filming. Two of my favorite coworkers just told me they were pregnant and for both I stood up and semi-yelled “omigod!! I’m so happy for you!” And we hugged (as is our culture). It would be so awkward to stitch a bunch of these together.

          1. Overeducated*

            This is a good point. When my coworkers announce pregnancies I usually say with a huge smile, “Congratulations! That’s amazing news!” I’m happy for them but it’s not viral-video-worthy.

            Also, right now if someone threw a positive pregnancy test at me I’d just be confused, given that my most recent and unfortunately repeat experience with two lines on a stick is for rapid COVID tests. Not a good association.

            1. The Original K.*

              Yeah, the first thing I thought when I read “reaction video” is that my reaction would be unsatisfying for a coworker looking for a viral moment (which is the root of Jessie’s anger). I’d be like “congratulations!” and smile, maybe ask when they’re due, and that’s about it.

            2. General von Klinkerhoffen*

              EXACTLY THIS

              I’d almost forgotten that pregnancy tests exist, so in the moment I’d likely assume it was a type of rapid covid test I hadn’t encountered yet (I’ve had at least four types so far).

              1. Le Sigh*

                Yeah the first time I took the line test one I yelled out, “Not pregnant!” Because truly, that’s what it reminds me of!

                1. Sopranohannah*

                  I’ve had to do numerous rapid tests in the last few weeks on other people. I’ve definitely gotten a few “great, I’m not pregnant” responses.

              2. Susan Ivanova*

                I’ve been lucky enough that I only did my first test a month ago, which was the first time in my entire life that I’ve had to look at a test like that. So if someone tossed a pregnancy test at me two months ago I wouldn’t even have known how to interpret it.

              3. Emma*

                Right? As I was reading this letter, my immediate thought when I saw “pregnancy test” was “oh no, someone’s going to see it, confuse it with a covid test, and think their coworker has come into the office while having covid and started throwing their infected mucus samples at people”

            3. MCMonkeyBean*

              Yeah, this is far from the most important part of the story but I’m pretty stuck on that too. It’s hard to imagine what they expected the video might otherwise look like? A reaction video of telling your immediate family or closest friends, especially if they know you’ve been trying for a while or something, that could get emotional and share-able. But coworkers???

            1. La Triviata*

              Back in the old days – maybe the ’50s, early ’60s, the usual thing was to say, “the rabbit died” … which, depending on who it was said to, would provoke a variety of responses. One comedian had a bit he did about hearing it as “the rabbi died”.

              1. Rose*

                I have so many questions. Rabbit or rabbi? Was this how you announced a pregnancy or just shocked people? Please elaborate!

                1. AlyInSebby*

                  My Mom (who may be an unreliable narrator),

                  Said they would use rabbits to culture the hormone from mother – if rabbit died it was positive for pregnancy hormone/s.

                  Now Imma googles it.

                2. AlyInSebby*

                  When urine from a woman in the early months of pregnancy was injected into immature female mice, their ovaries would enlarge and show follicular maturation. … The term “rabbit test” was first recorded in 1949, and was the origin of a common euphemism, “the rabbit died,” for a positive pregnancy test.

                  Rabbit test – Wikipedia › wiki › Rabbit_test

                3. TheWhiteQueen*

                  Technically, the rabbit ALWAYS died. A pregnancy test was conducted by taking urine from the woman, injecting it into a female rabbit, then waiting several days.
                  If the woman was pregnant, the hormones in her urine would cause the rabbit’s ovaries to look a particular way (swell up or create ripe eggs, or something, anyway, it was a significant change).
                  The only way they could LOOK at the ovaries was to, well, remove them. And they weren’t exactly concerned with removing them and returning the rabbit to a cage and nursing it back to health.
                  So because you got a pregnancy test, and the implication was “you probably wouldn’t go get tested unless you were fairly certain anyway”, the phrase “the rabbit died” became synonymous with “diagnosis: pregnancy”.

                4. nonegiven*

                  On MASH, Radar had a pet rabbit. They needed it to run a pregnancy test, but didn’t want to kill the rabbit so they spayed it under anesthesia.

              2. Sister Michael*

                My mother-in-law announced my husband’s impending birth this way in 1990 to a club she and my father-in-law were part of. She was being tongue-in-cheek and apparently the phrase was outdated enough that they got sincere condolences on the loss of a beloved pet!
                Should we choose to have kids, we’ve already agreed we’re going to announce it to her with a sympathy card.

          2. quill*

            And this is the least WTF of the entire story, but WHY are you filming random coworkers reactions to having things thrown at them without their consent? Does OP work at the marketing department of Jackass the TV show?

            1. Salymander*

              Yes! Why would anyone do that? This is like some unholy combination of Mean Girls and Jackass. And the fact that management are trying to make people write apologies to Jessie is just appalling. Thank goodness the corporate folks have more common sense.

              Also, throwing plastic things at people is bad anyway, even when they aren’t covered in pee. Even if it were a pen or some other small, innocuous thing. I think most people would hate that.

            2. amkm*

              This whole nightmare is really strengthening my resolve to never work in an office again. So gross, so invasive, such high school dynamics. No thanks.

            1. Rose*

              My (actual) mom and I call those people “only X in the world.” Like the person who cuts you off in traffic then honks are you for the audacity to drive in your own lane is the only driver in the world! They’re very, very special people! We all must bow to them.

        4. Lucy Skywalker*

          I’m a semi-germaphobe (that is, I’m very conscious of germs, hygiene, and cleanliness, but I’m not anything near the level of say, Emma from Glee) and I absolutely would have reacted the same way Abby did.

        5. Candi*

          I was looking for the part where Jessie put it in a ziplock bag, and I was horrified when I realized, no, she didn’t!

          It wouldn’t have made her idea any better, but at least everyone could pretend the outside of the bag was clean.

        6. Holey Hobby*

          Jessie needs a reality check on so many levels. I am *really* worried (in the US, for context) about how many people seem to be so… I’m struggling to describe what I’ve been seeing, especially since the pandemic. It’s like people think that Tik Tok videos are real life. There’s a level of callous narcissism and just… I don’t know… It’s like Jessie had in her head how the video would go and how she would be the star of it and get lots of likes and upvotes… and it never occurred to her that this was real life, in meat space, with other humans, with their own thoughts and feelings, and her coworker wasn’t a prop in the Jessie show, but a human who she shouldn’t fling a pee-soaked sponge at. And now she’s doing the OTHER social media thing where you bully and ostracize, because that’s how you react to people who try to dim your light… I guess?

        7. GlitsyGus*

          Agreed. If I heard Jessie pull the “I guess my baby is GROSS!” nonsense my immediate reaction would be to say, “Your baby isn’t the issue. Your piss is gross. Now knock off the martyr nonsense and stop being a jerk to Abby.”

          Also, this is so gross. Why would anyone in their right mind think this is OK??

      2. Insert Clever Name Here*

        And the next time Jessie says “oh well I guess my baby is gross” someone who is not Abby needs to say “no, your baby is amazing and we are thrilled for you. YOUR PEE IS GROSS. Two completely distinct things that can exist at the same time.”

        Where the hell is Jessie’s manager?!

        I am so horrified by this.

        1. Susie*

          Hard agree. I don’t care what amazing thing you have to announce, if you can’t announce it without throwing pee sticks at people, just keep it to yourself.

          1. On the road again …*

            If I was Abby I’d have to say “no, the baby is perfect – it’s their mom who is gross.” But that would be the kindest answer you’d get from me if anyone threw anything at me.

            1. On the road again …*

              When I found out I was pregnant I took the st-home test to my doctor. I put it in a sealed sandwich bag. He looked at it, but he did not touch even the bag. And that was in the 1980’s.

              1. Obfuscated Orangutan*

                When people share pregnancy test photos on facebook, all I’m thinking about is, “Someone peed on that! Gross!”

                1. Tired SW*

                  I had a friend who announced her pregnancy to her husband by leaving the positive pregnancy test on his dinner plate *before dinner*!!! I’m still not over it.

        2. Lurker*

          I mean, babies are kinda gross if you think about it. They drool, spit up, pee and poop all over themselves, stick everything in their mouths, have runny noses. All gross.

              1. quill*

                When you wander family reunions going “oh, what a cute larva!~” the babies love it and the old folks don’t ask you when you’re planning on getting married and having kids. :)

                1. Mannequin*

                  I thought one of my best friends was going to have the vapors when I said that babies are human larva, haha! He’s a gay man with no kids, which makes it even funnier.

          1. JustHeretoComment*

            This. As a mother of a 16-month-old, I love him to pieces, but some of the stuff I have to deal with coming out of him on the daily is gross. He’s got a cold and he loves to give open mouth kisses. I’ve been snotted on more times than I care to count in the last 48 hours. It’s gross.

            1. SimonTheGreyWarden*

              Wait till he wipes his crusty, pink-eye-infected face on your pajama sleeve at 3am. That was a new low for us.

              1. Elizabeth West*

                Wait until someone pukes in their bed and doesn’t tell you about it and you find it at the next bedtime. >_<

              2. NoviceManagerGuy*

                My youngest (twins) are 5 and they’re much less gross now, but the other night one fell and buster her lip, and when we were comforting her, she wiped her bloody lip on my wife’s face. My wife had to step away because she was cracking up from how gross that was.

                1. STAT!*

                  My 12 year old coughed in my mouth last November as I opened my gob to say something. Why yes, I did catch Delta off him a couple of days later …

                  (Please don’t @ me. I was double vaxxed & still got the damn thing.)

              3. Ginger ale for all*

                I once threw up on my sleeping mom in the middle of the night when she was sleeping. I opened my mouth to tell her that I was sick and unintentionally vomited. I got it on her face and pillow and as an added bonus threw up on the carpet in the doorway of my bedroom on the walk back to bed. So there was a surprise game of hopscotch to get into my room.

                1. Noblepower*

                  My mom took me to the doctor because I was sick, and while we were in the waiting room, I leaned over and vomited inside of her purse. There are days I am amazed she didn’t give me to the first random person that expressed an interest in kids.

                2. Mannequin*

                  Artemesia – My niece did that too, when she was little, and her bunk was in a corner of the living room, with a view of the kitchen. It. Went. EVERYWHERE.

            2. Zephy*

              I saw “16-year-old” and was EXTREMELY concerned for a second before the reading comprehension kicked in.

            3. allathian*

              Wait until he has diarrhea up his back all the way to his hairline, because you didn’t put the diaper on tight enough…

              Babies are gross sometimes, but fortunately they grow out of it.

            4. Midwest Manager*

              One of my kids had trouble bottle feeding and she had a G-tube as a result. It created issues with night-vomiting due to reflux. She once put her vomit-covered hand in my husband’s mouth one night when we were cleaning up the mess. *gag* Glad it was him, and not me!

          2. Attention Dior*

            So do adults unfortunately, especially if they have been drinking…phew. Only like 30% of people wash their hands after using the bathroom, and as we have seen in the pandemic….grossness. Humans are gross if we are taking that line.

            1. SeluciaMD*

              I wish I could go back in time to be the version of myself that did not know that SEVENTY PERCENT OF PEOPLE ARE NOT MANAGING BASELINE LEVELS OF CLEANLINESS. That is now one of the silver linings of this stupid pandemic – no one wants to shake hands anymore and hopefully people are better about hand washing in general (or at least slathering on some antibacterial hand gel.)

            2. Karia*

              30%? That cannot be true. (Please god). Although, maybe that’s the reason why, in a world where we sanitise constantly and don’t shake hands, my colds have been reduced to two in 3 years.

        3. Nea*

          This. Jessie is obviously twisting the narrative to “Abby is a baby-hating killjoy” and not “I threw something I peed on at Abby.” The actual facts of the matter – that Jessie is the one way out of line from the beginning – should be told loudly and often.

          Also, bring up with corporate HR that Abby is being bullied.

          1. AnonEMoose*

            Right? I also suspect that part of Jessie’s real problem was that she had this script in her head of how everyone would be thrilled for her and make a big fuss with her as the center of attention, and Abby “ruined” it by having a perfectly natural reaction to having a used urine text device at her out of, as she probably felt, out of nowhere. Jessie could have, if she insisted on using the test, held on to it herself and just shown it to Abby. But bottom line, I suspect that Jessie’s nose is out of joint because she didn’t get the social media attention and kudos she felt entitled to, and is taking it out on Abby.

            I suspect others are joining in because how dare anyone not bow down at the Altar of the Almighty Baby, and some people lose all rationality if there’s a pregnancy/baby involved. Now, I think babies are great for those who want them, I know pregnancy can be really, really tough, and sometimes sad and tragic things happen. Heck, my coworkers used to make sort of a game of handing me the baby when someone would bring one in, just to see how long it would take for the baby to fall asleep – that tends to happen when babies are handed to me – either I’m safe or I’m boring, or maybe a bit of both – LOL! My point is that I suspect people are buying into the “Jessie was announcing a PREGNANCY!!! Abby should have just ‘gotten over’ her germaphobia and made the announcement an ideal experience for Jessie, and instead she ruined it!” Never mind that Abby is also a real person with real and valid feelings, and she reacted out of being startled, not maliciously. The bullying needs to be shut down.

            1. Alpacas Are Not Dairy Animals*

              I wonder if people are hearing about this third-hand at this point. If the story has morphed into “Jessie told Abby she was pregnant and Abby yelled GROSS!” without the key pee-stick detail, I could understand uninvolved people giving her a light side-eye (but not bullying her or getting more involved – that part is obviously Jessie + co. stirring up drama.)

              1. AnonEMoose*

                Oh yes, that, too. I am absolutely certain that people who weren’t there are conveniently not hearing about the pee stick detail.

                1. Office Lobster DJ*

                  Good point. Even if the pee-stick remains a supporting character in Jessie’s narrative, by now the story may be that Abby stormed up to Jessie, ripped the pee-stick from her trembling hands, hurled it into the trash, and started berating her in front of everyone.

              2. Lucy Skywalker*

                Yikes! That’s a real possibility, that people “accidentally” forgot to mention the part about the pee stick.

            2. Groove Bat*

              That…and I bet at some level Jessie now realizes what she did was gross and dumb, and rather than admit it she is doubling down.

        4. Salymander*

          Yeah. Jessie, it is your pee that is gross.

          Oh, and your attitude. Jessie, your attitude is super gross.

          1. AnonEMoose*

            I have to wonder if Jessie was your classic Mean Girl in high school – she certainly seems to be acting like one now.

            1. Nobby Nobbs*

              Jessie’s gonna be the kind of mom who wipes her kid’s face with her own spit and gets mad when they think it’s gross. Calling it now.

              1. Everyone's a Critic*

                No, Jessie is going to be that parent that never stops sticking a camera in her child’s face so she can cash in on those meaningless social media points.

          2. Pepperbar*

            And also your pregnancy, your childbirth, AND your baby will be gross.

            My kid is only three. I vividly remember the constant sinus infection, the constant peeing, the acid reflux, and the nausea of pregnancy. It was gross. Once in labour, I threw up on the way to the hospital (apparently that’s a normal thing), and that was possibly the least gross part of the process.

            My toddler is definitely, positively, infinitely gross. I love him to pieces, but holy shit I’ve never seen that much drool in one place.

            You don’t have to hate it to recognise it’s gross, and I would never expect ANYONE not directly involved that process or otherwise already sharing fluids with me to touch any part of all of it.

            1. Unicorn Parade*

              Childbirth is a damn horror show of grossness. I thought the pooping was going to be the worst part, but I had NO IDEA Home Depot buckets would be involved or required. (I don’t have kids but watched my bff’s baby be birthed. Definitely solidified my desire to never have kids.) “Get the buckets” was an actual phrase I heard.

              Jessie sounds like the type of person to save her placenta, cook it, and bring it to a company potluck, then get offended when no one wants to eat any.

                1. Thalia*

                  I hate to be the one to do this to you, but some people do in fact cook and eat their own placental. There are RECIPES.

                1. Insert Clever Name Here*

                  I’m writing this from beyond the grave because this comment killed me.

                  (also, when I glanced back up at your name I thought it was “bowl of placentas” and thought, now that is commitment. “bowl of petunias” is much nicer!)

                2. Anonasourus Rex*

                  I need to say thank you. That’s amazing. Bowl of petunias- that’s the funniest thing I’ve read in ages.

                3. Phoenix Wright*

                  Oh no, not again!

                  (love your username, if it’s the Hitchhiker’s Guide reference I believe it to be)

                4. Princesss Sparklepony*

                  Hey! If you didn’t sign up to bring placenta on the sign up sheet, keep that out of the potluck!

                  (Your comment actually had me LOLing. If I still had pets I would have startled them…)

              1. lolly pop*

                Since I am very happily childfree I thought it would be a good learning experience/bias check to help one of my sisters in the delivery room. I was a stirrup, so my view was…explicit. Yeah, childbirth is amazingly gross. More graphic than any nature shows I grew up watching.

                1. Anon4this*

                  Oh god…years ago I a roommate of mine had a textbook for paramedics, and I decided to peruse it one night when I could not sleep, even though I’m a bit squeamish. I was fine until the childbirth photos, which were legit traumatizing. Even thinking of them 20+ yrs later makes my lady parts tighten up with fear.

              2. JESUS IS THE MAN!*

                I teach a group of 12-13 year olds. They are a handful. Yesterday they asked, “Are we why you don’t want kids?”

                I wish I’d seen this beforehand so I could be like, “No, the reason I don’t want kids is because ‘get the buckets’ is an actual phrase that has been used during the birthing process.”

                D: D: D:

                Respect to anybody who attempts this thing. Not gonna be me.

                1. allathian*

                  Aww, but at least they recognize they’re a handful… Sounds like they can be very sweet at times as well.

              3. TouchNotThisDog*

                The bucket was my companion through 26 hours of labour. When we finally went to c-section, I was still throwing up. It’s a really, really weird feeling throwing up when your lower half is anesthetized.

                Then they lifted kiddo out and said to me “Do you want to hold your baby?” and I had to say “No, I’m going to be sick again” and they gave her to her father to hold instead.

            2. bowl of petunias*

              Oh hell yes. It’s all gross from here on out. Many fluids. Also none of them should be hurled at coworkers.

            3. Sleeping Late Every Day*

              When Sleeping Offspring was born, I told him that I did not approve of drooling and to please refrain. Honestly. And he never drooled unless he was having a particularly difficult teething issue, which was seldom. I didn’t want to wipe more than one end.

        5. WaterFire*

          The fact that Jessie is pulling this mean girl rubbish is worrying as she’s literally about to become a mother. YIKES. How old is she?!

        6. Marzipan Shepherdess*

          Jessie’s manager seems to be MIA here, but their HR staff wants Abby to apologize to Jessie for having had the nerve not to be THRILLED at being tossed a urine-soaked stick. Their office’s HR people are perpetuating the problem, not helping to solve it. Corporate HR seems to have a good grasp of the situation – don’t throw urine-soaked objects at people! – but it doesn’t sound as if the regional office (where Jessie and Abby work) does.

        7. Essess*

          I would loudly proclaims “It’s not your baby that’s gross. Your baby isn’t the one that threw pee at others. You are the one that was gross.”

        8. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

          Right? WTH is up with that comment? Why is anyone out there in public loudly implying that their baby and their stale pee on a stick are the same thing? Is this the fallout from years of abstinence-only sex-ed, or what? /s (but also kind of being serious)

        9. kiki*

          It’s wild!!!! Like, Jessie has to realize Abby wasn’t critiquing her child. IT IS ABOUT THE URINE. Nobody wants to touch their coworker’s urine and nobody should be expected to. WTF is wrong with this group of people??

          1. Salymander*

            Yeah, but it makes Jessie feel a really extra special kind of self righteousness if she can bully someone by saying that they think her unborn baby is gross. Jessie is diving headfirst into the manufactured drama, isn’t she? She must be an absolute nightmare to deal with on a daily basis. I hope the OP can get corporate to shut this down quickly. It would be great if Jessie can learn to be a better human, for the baby’s sake if for no other reason, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. At least maybe she will be made to stop bullying. She sound so mean.

        10. mlem*

          “Oh, well I guess my baby is gross.”
          “You … think a stick you peed on is your baby? I … see.”

        11. Not So NewReader*

          It appears to me that Jess is very interested in victimhood here. Maybe because she did not get the love for her announcement that she was looking for so she will take sympathy for a victim instead.

          But Jess’ willingness to twist a story concerns me, people don’t ordinarily twist stories unless that is their life habit.
          I would point out to her that no one said her baby was gross and that is not even logical that she concluded they did. I’d make sure to say this within ear shot of other people and repeat as necessary.

          1. IndustriousLabRat*

            “Maybe because she did not get the love for her announcement that she was looking for so she will take sympathy for a victim instead.”

            Wait til she has to coach a toddler through, and hopefully OUT of, the “any attention is good attention” stage. At that point, the toddler may become the wiser of the two in this regard.

            Performative Pinterest Parenting gives me the heebie-jeebies.

          2. JustAnotherKate*

            Yes, she wants to be the victim, and to flip the script from “I did something super unhygienic and unprofessional in the office and my coworker was legitimately horrified” to “my coworker is being a big meanie to me and my baby.” (Successfully, apparently, given that people are bullying Abby.) This has gotten the attention off her original gross stunt, but it is equally as gross (in a different way) as throwing a pee-d on piece of plastic at someone. OP, thanks for working to shut this the F down and keep it up!

          3. Properlike*

            It makes me wonder how much other social bullying behavior Jessie’s engaging in out of earshot of management. I’m sure they get a “sanitized” version… the only thing sanitized when it comes to Jessie.

        12. Librarian of SHIELD*


          “Jessie, nobody is grossed out that you’re pregnant, we think it’s great. The gross part was when you decided to throw something you’d peed on at your coworkers. Stop pretending you don’t understand that and leave Abby alone.”

          1. lolly pop*

            Except that some folks are not going to think it’s great and be forced to fake a socially-acceptable level of ‘yay’ while private being appalled at the lack of concern for our poor planet.

            1. Double A*

              No one thinks you shouldn’t exist because of the “poor planet,” so yes, please continue the courtesy of being polite to people who decide to have children. They have just as much right to exist as you do.

              1. Lady Oscar*

                No one asked to be born, and no one (I hope) blames _the children_. They blame the parents who choose to have them.

                (That said, I once congratulated a pregnant friend with “Congratulations! I hear you’re adding to the Earth’s overpopulation problem!” with a genuine smile, since, y’know, if someone has to reproduce I’d rather it be people I like. Knowing me, she took it in the spirit in which it was intended.)

        13. Whimsical Gadfly*

          I was thinking if I were Abby I would be tempted to say “I don’t know about your baby, but your piss is gross even when you are peeing for two!”

      3. Gothic Bee*

        Pee-stick lmao, but yes exactly! I’m not really a germaphobe or anything but I’ve always thought it was gross when someone would keep a used pregnancy test around just to show people or whatever even if it does have a cap on it. Abby absolutely deserves an apology and I can’t believe the reaction from on-site HR.

        1. NeedRain47*

          I always wonder why the heck folks who want to keep used pregnancy tests around don’t just put it in a ziploc. You can still see the result but no one has to handle the peed-on item. It’s literally that easy.

          1. Double A*

            Eh… I kept my positive pregnancy tests kicking around our bathroom for awhile because it felt weird to throw them out, though I eventually did. They never did leave the bathroom, which between the humans and the cats, is not exactly pristine.

            I don’t find a used pregnancy test that gross (though I would not want one tossed at me), but reading through this thread apparently other people find pee a lot grosser than I do. Probably the least offensive bodily fluid to me, as it seems the least infectious.

            1. Mannequin*

              Body fluids aren’t gross because they are ‘offensive’, they are gross because they are *unsanitary*.

              I used to be an emergency veterinary technician, a job where pee, poo, vomit, blood, pus, and more were part of the everyday environment. None of us were offended by body fluids, but while it was part of the job, it was definitely gross, and we cleaned & sanitized everything immediately after treatment, and there were plenty of extra scrubs in case we had gotten it on ourselves.

        2. HBJ*

          Have been pregnant. Have taken multiple HPTs. Have never kept my HPTs. Have never shown my HPTs or even pictures of my HPTs to anyone other than my husband.

          If I tell someone I’m pregnant, … they’re going to believe me. I don’t need to prove it with an HPT.

          1. Salymander*

            I know that seems strange to me, too.

            Maybe Jessie can have her pee stick bronzed, like they do with baby shoes. She can keep it forever as a memento of these awesome times. Then she can keep tormenting people and shouting Look at me! Look at me! Forever.

            1. Sister Michael*

              It could be a version of the very short story about baby shoes? “For Sale: Pee stick, definitely used”. Less pathos in it, though…

              1. Kicking-k*

                When I realized how useless baby shoes are for a pre-walking baby, that story lost much of its pathos for me. We gave away a bunch of baby stuff we bought or were grateful to be given, yet never used! Including, I’m pretty sure, some shoes.

        3. Unicorn Parade*

          I’ll go farther and say, I don’t want to look at a picture of a stick you peed on either. Everyone knows how pregnancy tests work, and I don’t want to look at pictures your used toilet paper, either.

          1. Ismonie*

            No but then they put their wedding rings around the window and then THEY ARE SHOWING YOU A PICTURE OF PEE. nope nope nope.

      4. Hey Nonnie*

        As soon as I got to the part “tossing the pregnancy test at…” my brain screamed “they’re throwing a used PEE STICK at their coworkers?!”

        Good lord that’s disgusting, and I would have reacted the same way. Someone needs to have a stern conversation with Jessie about bullying Abby. I don’t know who OP can convince to do that, since they’re not a people manager and presumably doesn’t have that authority themself. And it seems like the other managers are refusing to be reasonable here. Can you go back to the head office HR and get someone there to do it?

      5. JSPA*

        The throwing matters, too. Hepatitis risks and all,I’ll pick up used tissues while doing litter pickup, even if ungloved, so long as my skin isn’t raw or broken. I’m better than good about keeping track of a clean and a dirty hand, for hours if need be, so I don’t touch any other part of myself with the designated dirty.

        Tossing something like that at me would violate both my ability to consent, and my well-honed safety system. Treating someone as a “prude” because they don’t want a surprise encounter with someone else’s pee is extra beyond the pale.

      6. Alice's Rabbit*

        Agreed. Even when surprising my husband with a positive pregnancy test, I put it in a cellophane bag with a pretty ribbon, so he didn’t have to touch a used pee stick, no matter how much I cleaned it.
        I cannot imagine being handed a used pregnancy test without warning, and having any reaction except disgust.

    2. The Original K.*

      Completely agree. Throwing something that has been urinated on is gross, and I can’t believe this has to be explained to adults in 2022.

      1. Presea*

        If OP want’s to go a passive aggressive route, she could open a discussion with the managers asking exactly how much urine you are and aren’t allowed to pass to your coworkers, and ask explicitly and clearly why that amount isn’t “zero urine”. Very innocently, like OP just wants to understand where the miscommunication was. Maybe give other examples of peed-on things.

        I have little in the way of actual constructive advice and I don’t necessarily advise doing what I say above, but I can’t think of anything else to say that isn’t adding on to the dogpiling.

        1. Presea*

          I guess what I’m saying is, really really lean into this part: “If I threw anything with my urine or bodily fluids on it other than a pregnancy test at coworker, people would be livid”.

          1. Shira Von Doom*

            HAHAHAHA YES

            How do we document the exact percentage of urine beforehand? I’m just asking. Also…what is the percentage of other body fluids, since we’ve opened the flood (LOL) gates? I just want a guideline, so we’re fair to all the other body fluid throwers.

            1. Sabina*

              Yes, I think it would be cool to announce my latest UTI to my coworkers by throwing peed- on at -home test strips. How many strips can I get away with before getting in trouble?

            2. paxfelis*

              I would NOT want to see the condition of the bathrooms after that if “you can throw body fluids at your coworkers” become policy.

            3. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

              Throwing a used-but-rinsed menstrual cup at a coworker to celebrate that your period was over for the month could be a new way to promote reusable menstrual cups at your office!

              Not a GOOD way, but it would raise awareness…

        2. Need More Sunshine*

          This is reminding me of the letter writer a while ago whose boss peed in cups and then emptied them in the communal kitchen sink…. Shudder!

      2. Rose*

        I honestly thought the whole drama was going to be Abbie refusing to interact with Jessie, not the other way around.

        It’s one thing to throw your peed on hormone stick at a coworker thinking they’ll be happy for you. That’s dumb. But then getting ANGRY that they aren’t embracing your pee stick… Jessie might not have the common sense, but she sure has the audacity.

        1. Zennish*

          This. Insanely out of touch with personal and professional boundaries, plus doubling down and acting out when called on it, would be an excellent way to end up on a performance improvement plan ’round these parts.

        2. anne of mean gables*

          I’m COMPLETELY baffled at all of this, starting with thinking throwing a pee stick at your coworker is ok. But what I’m most hung up on is the timing – why does she have a pee stick with her when she’s announcing to her colleagues? Did she take a test at work and announce to her colleagues as soon as she found out? Or did she take a test at home, and then save it for a couple of months, and then bring it to work with the intention of using it in a filmed pregnancy announcement? It has to be one of those two things, but neither make a single whit of sense.

          1. Ashley*

            I had wondered about the timing as well. It is pretty early to tell co-workers and all of social media when you are confirming pregnancy via the stick. Throw the paper from the doctor at me, but really just stop throwing things.

          2. fueled by coffee*

            If Jessie hadn’t just demonstrated a complete lack of common sense, I would have assumed that she had just retaken a drug store test at the first trimester or whatever because she felt it would look better on social media than, IDK, a sonogram or just saying “I’m pregnant.”

            I’m still hoping, for her sake, that she waited.

          3. Librarian of SHIELD*

            I found out a couple of months ago that there are people who keep their positive pregnancy tests on display in shadow boxes in their homes. At the time, I thought that was the weirdest thing a person could do with a used pregnancy test, but today I was proven wrong.

          4. Ally McBeal*

            Because throwing the pee stick at them makes for good video content. WAY more interesting than having someone open a nicely wrapped present with baby merch inside (e.g. a t-shirt with “World’s Greatest Grandma” on it or whatever).

        3. Le Sigh*

          “Embracing your pee stick” is actually on the official checklist, along with “cook and eat your placenta.”

      3. Sled Dog Mama*

        My mom couldn’t believe she had to explain to my brother that urinating on other people is gross, and that was in 1995. He was only 7 at the time but she really thought he should know this by 7. My mom would probably have had a stronger response than Abby.

        1. I've Escaped Cubicle Land*

          I used to teach 4 year olds and I expected them to understand that we don’t urinate on each other and if we get pee anywhere other than in the toliet, we clean it up. And by we I mean the person who did the peeing. If you pee’d all over the seat or the floor in my class you got handed a cleaning rag or mop and told to clean it up. So the fact that a grown adult thinks throwing a urine covered stick at people is ok boggles my mind! # 1 why are we throwing things in an office environment in the first place? This isn’t Dodgeball Day in PE circa 4th grade. I have PTSD If you lob something at me unexpectedly there is a very good chance I will automatically lob it right back at you to defend myself.

        2. Nobby Nobbs*

          One would assume that “it’s gross” was part of the appeal for a seven-year-old brother. Or all of it. Baffling.

      4. Velocipastor*

        Absolutely. I didn’t even make my HUSBAND touch the pregnancy test when I asked him to double check the results. I cannot do the mental gymnastics it would require to think this was okay to do to a COWORKER.

    3. Chris*

      Agree. Holy Cow. I dislike any elaborate pregnancy announcement, even more so one that would involve throwing things at me, things that have been peed on.

      1. AnonEMoose*

        Right? I’m probably going to seem a bit of a curmudgeon here, but I really dislike the trend of making things like this big social media spectacles.

        A non-inclusive list of things I dislike (but hey, if it’s not hurting anyone, you do you):
        1. What is with the whole “prom-posal” thing?
        2. Elaborate/public marriage proposals, especially if the couple hasn’t previously discussed marriage. I wonder how many people say “yes” in the moment because they feel pressured, and then later break things off.
        3. Big/elaborate gender reveals (I think once a wildfire has been started, it should be officially OVER.)
        4. Big, elaborate pregnancy announcements involving people other than close friends/family.

        1. Zennish*

          Agree. I’ll spare everyone my accompanying rant on how social media seems to turn some otherwise normal people into wannabe Kardashians who think every personal occasion is headline news.

        2. I said yes*

          HARD agree on all of these.

          However…my wife was doing yardwork the other day and made me a promposal by spelling “PROM?” in the leaves. It was hilarious and I loved it.

          Please note that we are middle-aged. There is no actual prom.

          1. AnonEMoose*

            That is adorable!

            Once in the before times, my DH and I were grocery shopping, and this older lady came up to us and said “I just have to tell you, you two are so cute!” It was sweet, and we thanked her, but my DH and I just sort of looked at each other like “OK?”

          2. Velocipastor*

            haha my dad started spelling out “Marry Me?” In huge letters in the sand anytime we take a family trip to the beach and my mom always makes a big show of turning him down if a crowd notices. They have been happily married for 28 years.

            1. Anonymous4*

              I dearly hope that when your mom says, “Oh, Harvey, you are just so sweet to ask me but I just couldn’t –” your dad kind of clears his throat and says, “That’s . . . Albert. My name is Albert.”

        3. The Prettiest Curse*

          Yeah, once the woman who came up with the entire idea of gender reveal parties (she held hers to celebrate having a baby after pregnancy loss) disavowed them, the entire idea should really have been buried in a deep vault forever. But people want social media content, so alas it will churn on forever.

          1. Zephy*

            Gender reveal parties seemingly designed to go awry, “first look” jokes where it’s the best man in the dress, “promposals,” and elaborate pregnancy announcements are all social media content trends that need to be over yesterday. The first one was cute/funny/whatever. Everyone else is cashing in, and best-case scenario, it’s stale and boring. Worst-case scenario, people have died.

        4. fueled by coffee*

          Big flashy public prom and marriage proposals are fine IF you know that the person being asked also wants a big flashy proposal. If the person has never said “we’ve sort of been talking about marriage and you know, I’ve always wanted to be the recipient of a huge flash mob proposal,” DON’T do it.

          I’d be less concerned about gender reveal parties if they were more “let’s eat cake that is colored according to my fetus’s genitals” and less “let’s burn down the state of California.”

          1. AnonEMoose*

            Hard agree!

            Cake colored appropriately, even something like popping a balloon with glitter (if it’s the biodegradable stuff) – that seems fine. But please nothing that could cause injuries or start fires!

            1. drtheliz*

              They’re pretty red right after the baby is born because they’ve been exposed to pregnancy hormones across the placenta, so… red velvet cake?

            1. fueled by coffee*

              Oh, for sure, but with all the cis-normative gender socialization nonsense we put kids through it’s hard for me to muster up more concern over pink cake than, like, putting headbands with bows on your bald infant so strangers will know she(?) has a vagina.

              1. fueled by coffee*

                To be clear, I also don’t have strong feelings about baby headbands – they’re cute.

                1. Mannequin*

                  Little bald babies in headbands are hilariously adorable! And I’m not even a kid person. I don’t have an objection to headbands at all, just that they are gendered. Little bald babies with non-feminine headbands would be cute too!

        5. Distracted Librarian*

          I’m just as curmudgeonly. I’m not a fan of most “look at me,” spectacles manufactured for attention. You want attention? Accomplish something worthy of it.

          1. Been there, done that*

            Yes!! And this also goes for anyone over the age of 10 who expects a big spectacle made of their birthday. Grown adults proclaiming far and wide on social media that it’s their “birthday month” and that everyone shoud shower them with attention and adoration because they exist. Once you hit a certain age, birthday celebrations should only include those with whom you are extremely close because let’s face it, no one else really cares.

            1. Sova*

              I have declared it my birthday month, but the only point of the declaration was to allow me to to buy any birthday cake flavored thing and eat it during the month. It’s just healthier not to eat them all on the same day.

          2. Salymander*

            I know, I really agree. I hate hate hate that.

            I mean, I know some people like that sort of thing, and ok if that makes them happy or whatever. I just don’t want to be involved. Not at all. No matter how much I like someone, I will never want to look at their pee stick, or watch them cause a pink or blue explosion even if it doesn’t kill anyone or cause a huge wildfire. No. But I have a couple of these people in my family, and they keep trying to rope me in to their shenanigans and get really angry and mean when I don’t want to. Like, just do your thing and leave me alone! And stop exploding things and causing billions in property damage just because your fetus has genitals! I will be happy to see the baby, I will gladly babysit or help out some other way, but I do not want to have anything to do with some Instagram nightmare of pink and blue nonsense.

          3. Mannequin*

            I’m really ambivalent on this because 1. I believe that as long as it’s not hurting anyone, people should be able to live their lives in whatever way makes them happy, including in ways I don’t understand or personally approve of 2. If it’s not harming anyone, a person being “attention seeking” isn’t actually bad, and 3. (This is a big one) The fact that someone’s actions or lifestyle draws a lot of attention often just means that people AROUND them refuse to mind their own business, live and let live, or follow the golden rule, and has ZERO to to with that person actually wanting attention (many don’t.)

            So to me, gender reveal parties aren’t bad because the people are ‘seeking attention’, but because they promote harmful gender stereotypes/gender essentialist norms from when the child is still a FETUS, and secondarily because some of the dumbasses that promote them cause death and destruction…which admittedly, could be said about many kinds of poorly planned celebrations, and isn’t limited to gender reveal parties.

        6. Anonny*

          I feel the gender reveal pipe bomb death that killed someone in 2019 should have been when it was officially over.

          1. Very Social*

            I just googled “gender reveal pipe bomb” because I hadn’t heard that story and apparently it’s happened TWICE.

        7. Anon1994*

          Yeah same here. I hate gender reveals. As a 90’s baby my mom had no problem letting anyone know at any given time what she was carrying. I would have never imagined people would hold that info to gather everyone up and shout it or cause a fire accident just to reveal it. I would never have a gender reveal.

    4. laowai_gaijin*

      Yes! Keep pushing back, LW, and back Abby up 100%. Jessie and Daniela showed abominable judgment, and Abby should not have to apologize for anything.

    5. Lynca*

      I think what makes this worse for me is that Jessie was trying to film reactions from unsuspecting co-workers. I feel so terrible for Abby and the OP having to deal with this.

      I’ve been pregnant and been through all that entails.I would have also responded in a “EW GROSS” manner if someone threw a used pregnancy test at me. BECAUSE IT IS.

      1. CubicleSmurf*

        In addition to the gross pee-stick, I would have been livid that I was filmed without my consent. Presumably Jessie planned to post it or show it to other people outside the office. That’s such a violation to capture reactions that may be mocked later. Jessie seriously lacks empathy and boundaries.

        1. Salymander*

          Yes I would hate that too. It is just a setup for later meanness. Jessie just sucks, and management needs a kick in the behind from corporate so they stop enabling this ridiculousness.

        2. Zoe Karvounopsina*

          OP does say in her letter that that sort of thing (birthday announcements, etc) is often filmed and posted, so I can see where, from that angle, Jessie might have thought it was fine. BUT FROM NO OTHER ANGLE.

          1. Mannequin*

            Yes. It appears that the ‘being filmed’ part is normal and not the issue in this particular case.

    6. Tara*

      Don’t people usually hand people the scan photos if they’re doing anything like this? Oh gross is entirely the correct response. A pee stick in any context is gross.

      1. Red 5*

        There wouldn’t be an ultrasound photo if she’s very early in the pregnancy, because nothing would really show up as far as I know. A pregnancy test can detect the changes in hormone levels well before all that much has happened in terms of the baby’s growth.

        Most people do use an ultrasound image because they also wait until they’re through the first trimester before they widely announce the pregnancy because there is such a high risk of losing the pregnancy in the early months. People who do announcements with positive pregnancy tests are usually not far along.

        Caveat: when and who you tell about your pregnancy is up to every individual person and I’m not judging anybody’s choices on that front, just explaining why a lot of people choose to wait.

        1. WeHaveTheTechnology*

          That’s true. But it does raise an interesting point: Why not just show a photo of the pee stick instead of giving people the pee stick itself? Everyone has a camera in their pocket/purse nowadays. This just confirms that this was not only gross but unnecessary.

          1. Cat Tree*

            Yes, this is so bizarre. When I was TTC with fertility treatments, I used a cheap test every day to watch the line get progressively darker. I washed my hands, waited 2 minutes, took a picture, then threw away the pee stick.

            Also, the results aren’t valid after 10 minutes anyway so it’s pointless to save the test for days.

            1. Alice's Rabbit*

              A positive result doesn’t fade away after 10 minutes. It’s still there, days later. Weeks later, even.

            1. No sharing of pee*

              I even think pictures of urine pregnancy test are gross and do not understand why people post pictures of them on social media. There are better objects to announce a pregnancy – baby shoes, onesies, cute bibs – that do not contain bodily fluids. And this is coming from a mom.

              1. Doug Judy*

                It weirds me out because the at home COVID tests look just like pregnancy tests and I’m like WTF am I looking at here? It’s weird to post either to be honest.

                1. They Don’t Make Sunday*

                  Every time I take a rapid test, my reaction is, “Super, it says I’m not pregnant with covid.”

              2. Unicorn Parade*

                “Hey everyone, here’s something I peed on! Stay tuned for my used tampon!” Seriously what the hell is wrong with these people.

          2. else*

            Because she wanted drama! I’m sure the person who suggested that her issue is the difference between the script she had in her head vs reality is correct

      2. Lenora Rose*

        Ultrasounds are usually around 12 weeks… which is also a MUCH wiser time for announcing a pregnancy. They’re not sure the number of people who miscarry but it’s at least 20%, or 1 in 5 (Yes, at least. it’s amazing how little that’s discussed, considering, and yes, I know that partly form personal experience), and the VAST majority of those happen before 12 weeks.

        It’s not surprising that someone who would try and hand around a pee stick would also be recklessly early about announcing, but I really worry about what will happen if Jessie is in the unlucky 20% (or more). I can see someone who’s demonstrated this level of judgement blaming Abby somehow because ruining her announcement stressed her out…

        1. Purple cat*

          There are SO many things that Jessie has done wrong, but I have to push back on this. There’s no such thing as announcing a pregnancy “recklessly early” – unless perhaps they haven’t actually tested and have no medical proof of said pregnancy.

          Keeping pregnancy’s secret ties into keeping miscarriages secret and the time for that is long gone.

          1. Hobbling Up A Hill*

            I think what is meant by recklessly early is that if you go around announcing to everyone that you’re pregnant with a pee stick and then you unfortunately suffer a miscarriage you’re potentially going to have to deal with a lot of people asking about your pregnancy right when you least want to talk about it. Which isn’t to say that anyone should be ashamed of having a miscarriage, merely that someone who has just had one of a wanted pregnancy might not want to talk about it to random office-mates.

            1. FridayFriyay*

              This is an individual decision that doesn’t warrant external judgement or commentary. It’s not reckless to decide to tell people early, even if you have to un-tell them later. Source: have had 4 consecutive miscarriages.

          2. KGD*

            I agree. It’s a really personal decision and nobody should be pressured to share before they are ready, but some people (like me) want to talk about their early pregnancies and also to talk about their miscarriages. The reason most people don’t know about the high rate of miscarriages is because most women feel pressured to be silent about their losses.

          3. Lenora Rose*

            No, thanks. I chose to make a pregnancy announcement at 8 weeks, including at work, thinking I was safe, and it made things WORSE two weeks later than the one after, where I hadn’t told anyone who wasn’t a really good friend/kin.

            We’re not talking here about what you tell your mother or friends, we’re talking about workplaces.

            And no, I don’t think telling your workplace early, then telling them about your miscarriage, is a good way to undo the secrecy around miscarriages. It just makes a grieving person have to cope with more possibly painful stuff in the moment.

            1. Lenora Rose*

              Frankly a better way to get rid of stigma about pregnancy and miscarriage would be to not the the bosses and non-corporate HR get away with **Not knowing why this whole incident was wrong on several levels** just because they are a bunch of cis men, and therefore don’t happen to be the folks who would carry the baby. A point a few people have mentioned but seems to vanish under all the other wrongness.

            2. SimplytheBest*

              Great. You get to do what works for you, but someone making a different decision is not “reckless” nor deserving of your judgement.

              1. Lenora Rose*

                I think you’re vastly overstating how judgemental I am based on a single off the cuff word choice. I wouldn’t be saying this to a coworker’s face. Maaaybe to a person I was especially close with, and would consider a friend, I would discreetly pull them aside and say “I know this is the thrill of a lifetime to you, but maybe be careful about announcing so early.”

          4. Salymander*

            Or maybe just that telling everyone really early on means that there is a greater chance that you will have to explain things to a whole lot of people later. I had a rather late miscarriage, and it was so painful having so many conversations about it with well meaning people who heard I was pregnant but hadn’t heard about the miscarriage. I wasn’t ashamed or keeping it a secret, I just didn’t want to deal with it quite so many times with so many people. Even really kind people can be a bit thoughtless in their comments and it was a total nightmare that lasted a couple of months.

            1. Artemesia*

              yeah it isn’t about shame — it is about the misery of having to talk about it over and over with people you don’t know that well or having people who haven’t heart yet all enthusiastic about the coming baby. My daughter lost one at 12 weeks and of course the family knew and could be there for support — but it wasn’t something she wanted to share with the workplace.

            2. Anonymous4*

              EXACTLY. I had a friend at work whom I liked a lot but didn’t see much; we’d talk on the phone periodically, and when she told me she was pregnant, I was just thrilled for her! Then we didn’t chat for a few weeks because I was out of town, and when I had occasion to call her about a work thing, I cheerfully asked, “So, how do you like being pregnant so far?”

              When she told me that she wasn’t anymore, I wanted to dig a hole, climb in, and pull it in after me. And the bad part wasn’t my embarrassment and mortification, although I had plenty of both — it’s that my embarrassment and mortification were due to the solid knowledge that I had stuck a big sharp thumbnail right into an excruciatingly painful place.

              So, yes, a widespread early announcement is not always the best idea.

              1. Salymander*

                I’m sure you felt terrible. Those weren’t the worst comments for me though. It wasn’t great, but it was over quickly and clearly unintentional.

                The worst comments after my late miscarriage were the ones where the person was trying to be helpful or give advice. That never, ever ends well.

            3. Lenora Rose*

              I’m sorry you went through that. I was somewhat lucky in my work experience; I mentioned it to a few people at a place I was temping, then wasn’t called back there again for about two months. Not being a regular, it didn’t spread far, and by the time I was explaining to those few why I was still able to come in, it was also old news for me, and I had my reactions under more control.

    7. Momma Bear*

      Agreed. It is in no way her fault that Jessie’s announcement was poorly planned and executed. I’m a mother and not a germaphobe and I would be horrified to suddenly be tossed a used pregnancy test from a coworker. I hope OP continues to press about the harassment, and documents it with Abby and encourages Abby to report it as well. I think OP did the right thing and Jessie is just taking out her hurt feelings on the wrong person. “Actually, Jessie, throwing a stick you peed on at a person and continuing to harass them about it is gross, so please stop.” HR needs to grow up, too.

      I’m still floored anyone thought this was a good way to announce her pregnancy to her *coworkers*. How far have these professional lines been blurred, not only with this but in general? I didn’t even hand my own mother a pregnancy test! And knowing Abby is a germaphobe? Very wrong of Jessie on many levels.

      Part of me also hopes that Abby is invaluable to the team and she bails for a less juvenile workplace, leaving Jessie and team hanging.

      1. generic_username*

        Yeah, reading this made me question whether I’ll hang onto the tests I take long enough to let my husband see them once we start trying. I find even holding my own test while I wait for the results to be quite gross…. Throwing it at someone feels a bit like assault

        1. Sled Dog Mama*

          Yeah I took a picture of mine to show my husband but that was after washing my hands and laying it out on a plastic bag to keep the counter clean and I don’t consider myself a germaphobe just you know not gross.

        2. NoNotNan*

          In a plastic bag, take a picture, there are alternatives between “eww never share” and “hand unwitting people things I used on the toilet.” I remember flipping past a Real Housewives episode back when channel surfing happened and one of the ladies had a BOX of pee sticks from two prior pregnancies. A. Box. These are not keepsakes!

          Of course, if you try a long time and don’t want to spend big money on single use plastic… Wondfo is a good alternative. 50 pack of ovulation tests, 20 pack of pregnancy tests, almost no plastic

          1. Ashley*

            I generally agree but again this is a workplace and not your group of personal friends. So putting it in a bag and showing off to friends is one thing, but making a co-worker look at something like that to me is a crossing professional boundaries.

        3. Alice's Rabbit*

          Personally, I do the dip-in-the-cup method, so the stick doesn’t get splashed. And even then, I put it in a cellophane bag before surprising my husband with the good news. Because I don’t want to risk touching the business end if the cap gets knocked off.

      2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        I’m a mother and not a germaphobe and I would be horrified to suddenly be tossed a used pregnancy test from a coworker.

        I have, in my adult life, raised, or otherwise taken care of, two humans, a dog, two cats, two rats, a chinchilla. Plus the occasional cleanup when ex-husband with a drinking problem would get sick in unexpected places. I’m no stranger to body fluids and solids. And I would freak the heck out if a coworker tossed their used pregnancy test at me.

        Part of me also hopes that Abby is invaluable to the team and she bails for a less juvenile workplace, leaving Jessie and team hanging.

        Transfer to corporate, and take OP with her!

      3. Not So NewReader*

        I would not say “please stop”. I would just say “stop”. Then add that one more mention of this incident will cause a write up to happen. I don’t think OP has the authority to write up Jess but she can write up a safety issue because of the pee and because of the on-going harassment.

    8. Red 5*

      Hard agree. This is absurd that anybody is even remotely taking Jessie’s side in this.

      If it was just that Jessie had some hurt feelings and she and Abby needed to work out the whole thing together then it would be one thing but Jessie is 100% in the wrong here.

      It doesn’t really matter that Abby is known to be a bit of a germaphobe, and the fact that we’re still dealing with an infectious disease/years of considering sanitation more than we ever have before. Those things all just make it even more egregious that Jessie even considered this appropriate.

      She was in the wrong, full stop. I don’t think filming coworkers while you announce your pregnancy to them is appropriate either, but if you wanted to do that the appropriate way to do it is to like make a cutesy photo or get a card or something.

      The whole idea of filming people’s reactions when you tell them you’re pregnant is super weird to me, even if it’s trendy right now (most recent example I know of: the woman on TikTok who handed her brothers a used pregnancy test and one of them took the cap off and put the thing in his mouth because he thought it was a vape).

      It’s just so performative and weird. Be happy without trying to go viral online, and don’t drag unsuspecting co-workers into your online stardom dreams. Especially don’t do it with something covered in urine.

      1. Data Analyst*

        Right?? I would not be grossed out to hold a pregnancy test of a family member, or quite possibly even a coworker, if they asked me to look at it or something. So I am definitely not a germaphobe. But I would still react very poorly to one being thrown at me or otherwise foisted on me without permission. Just NO.

      2. horrified*

        What if you are announcing your pregnancy to a co-worker you don’t know is struggling with IVF or miscarriages or whatever? Putting someone on the spot to film their reaction is selfish and inconsiderate and completely ignores the fact that hearing about someone else’s pregnancy doesn’t automatically launch every nearby human being into a paroxysm of joy. For some people it’s hard to hear and putting them on the spot may capture other conflicting emotions that no one would be entitled to see publicly for their own 5 minutes of fame.

        1. BlueSwimmer*

          Just getting ready to type this exact thing, horrified.

          I’m infertile and have struggled with it for years. I always show happiness when I congratulate co-workers and friends who announce their pregnancies, but in private I grieve a little because it brings it to the surface every time. If someone threw a pregnancy test at me while I was at work, and expected me to perform for the camera, I would be beyond upset.

          Jessie seems to have what my mom calls “Star of your own world” syndrome– the rest of the workplace is literally her audience in this and she is the star whose life-events should bring joy to all the little people around her. It’s so attention-seeking. Ugh. Poor Abby.

          1. Freya*

            Yeah, quite a few people I know have announced their pregnancy over the last month and publicly I’m excited and happy and then I go home and log off and cry. I’m never going to harsh their yay, and I feel a yay for them too, but it’s starting to feel a bit relentless.

        2. meagain*

          I cringe to think of any video capturing the look on my face with the latest pregnancy announcement, leet alone flinging a disgusting test at me – putting on the fake, brave smile that doesn’t reach my eyes, but the camera probably picking up that flash of horror, shock, and sadness, and attempt to look “excited” or “happy.”

        3. Biology dropout*

          So much this. I had a really traumatic loss and even rapid Covid tests are a bit emotional for me to do now. I lose it a little every time I see a pregnant test on social media (which is far too often, fuck you very much Mom groups.)

      3. Not So NewReader*

        The whole video thing has that “I’m the first woman EVER to give birth!” feel to it, which is a tiring thing to have to listen to/deal with.

        1. Anonymous4*

          I worked with one like that. Not close-by, but I was privileged to be within earshot of all her All About Me Gabfests. When she got pregnant, I thought I’d put an icepick through my eardrums because that would be less painful than getting all the pregnancy-jabber, all day, every day.

          Then she had the little rugrat. It was a cutie — and it ran her back and forth, day and night. For the first time in Gabfest’s life, she was not the person in charge, and yes, she DID have to figure out why the little one was screaming (and it wasn’t because the baby loved Gab’s new outfit). I left that company shortly thereafter, but as far as I could see, that baby did Gab a world of good.

      4. Alice's Rabbit*

        Also, it’s one thing to film your husband’s reaction. I did that one time, though I didn’t share the video, and he loves having that moment preserved. Or the grandparents’ reactions. Or other close friends and relatives, who are likely to be emotional about it.
        But coworkers? Most coworkers are going to be politely happy for you, and that’s about it. Nothing worth filming.

    9. RC*

      Not to mention, this was done AT WORK. Not with Jessie’s family, who presumably give a crap, but to other human adults who may not. WTAF.

      1. Rose*

        Thank you – this is one of the things really bothering me. Like do you think your coworkers are soooo invested in your reproduction that they’re going to have great filmable reactions? I have been genuinely excited/happy when work pals told me they were pregnant, (excited) voices were slightly raised, but I wasn’t crying or jumping up and down. It feels really out of touch and self centered to expect “let’s film this” level reactions from people who aren’t your family or close friends. I’ve seen people do this with their parents and grandparents and it’s adorable, but anyone outside your inner circle (whomever that may be) it’s just awkward.

        1. MigraineMonth*

          If a coworker I wasn’t close with told me they/their SO were pregnant, my reaction would be to smile and say, “Congratulations” in a low-key way. Maybe ask if they’ll need any coverage while they’re out on parental leave.

          Not very instagrammable.

        2. Bagpuss*

          Also, even if you are happy to congratulate your coworker on their pregnancy you may not want to be part of their video. I would not be OK with someone taking photos of me at work, let alone video, and my reaction would most likely be to ask for it to be deleted.
          People *choosing* to record messages for a coworker is one thing, but ambush video?
          Even without the throwing a used urine dip and the subsequent bullying and victim blaming there are issues with how Jessie and Daniela behaved

        3. Salymander*

          I know. I don’t really understand why anyone would think that their coworkers would be ecstatic and fascinated and super excited by their news. I mean, I would be happy for the person, but not jumping around and cheering. I would certainly never expect someone to be that personally invested in my pregnancy either. This whole situation sound exhausting.

    10. AnonInCanada*

      “Oh gross!” is right! Germaphobe or otherwise, you don’t throw a used pregnancy test, or any test for that matter (complete with bodily fluids) at someone. Abby is in the right, everyone else (except OP) is in the wrong and owes Abby an apology.

      1. Mockingjay*

        I think being a germaphobe in a global pandemic is a good thing. Abby should be held up as an example.

        OP, push back with management. This is ridiculous. Regardless of why – pee stick or other – bullying in the office creates a HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT. Jessie should be shut down immediately and disciplined in whatever manner the company has designated.

        1. Abogado Avocado*

          Uh, no. In the United States, the term “hostile work environment” is a legal term that applies only if that environment has been created because a person is experiencing that environment due to a characteristic that the law protects — e.g., race, ethnicity, gender, religion, etc. The law does not protect against a difficult work environment that is difficult because your coworker or boss is a garden-variety asshole. If they’re acting like an asshole because of your race, gender, ethnicity, religion, etc., then the law protects you. Otherwise, no.

          1. Mockingjay*

            Thank you for correcting me; I didn’t stop to think clearly in my indignation!

            But as a manager, I hope OP pushes back on Jesse’s behavior regardless.

          2. Ismonie*

            If her germaphobia rises to the level of an actual or perceived disability, it could be hostile work environment, or if Jessie targeted her, say, based on race, it could be, but generally yeah you’re correct.

    11. GreyjoyGardens*

      Same here! Jeepers! It’s NOT abnormal or weird or “body shaming” to not want to touch someone else’s pee. Gross, and if I were Abby I’d probably have reacted the same way.

    12. Federal Worker Drone*

      Right??? There is NO way I would ever apologize to Hessie and I would die on the hill that if Abby does not get profuse apologies from Jessie AND Daniela.. we’ll zi don’t know what.

      This company needs the Jean snd Jorts HR department locally. “Pam will not throw her used pregnancy tests at coworkers.”

    13. Just Wanna Leia-Round*

      I’ve never commented on this site in my time reading AAM, but I had to with this one. I fully agree Abby is owed an apology, and on top of that, there needs to be a company-wide safety class. Throwing bodily fluid at someone is considered assault, and in all honesty, Jessie needs a class herself on how to behave appropriately in the workplace, along with the managers who think this is alright??
      I mean, I know that every manager has their blind spots due to implicit or explicit bias. It’s a well-studied phenomenon. But to defend someone LITERALLY throwing something with pee on it at someone is beyond the pale. I was pregnant and I announced it by telling people “Hey, I’m carrying a little chest-burster!” I never threw a fricking used pregnancy test at anyone!
      Also, dearest letter writer: Start looking for another job. Immediately. The way management has handled this and the bullying points to a company culture that is incredibly unhealthy, and I’m willing to bet if you sit down and think, you’ll start seeing all sorts of red flags of dysfunction because in no well-adjusted workplace would someone who had a fricking pee stick thrown at them be at fault. All the best, and I truly hope that things change or you find somewhere that isn’t bananapants.

    14. My head is exploding*

      1. You are not crazy, your HR and management is.
      2. Can you contact corporate HR and have them speak to your on-site HR and management about how incredibly off base they are in their reactions? A memo is not nearly enough to rein this in.

    15. Silent Fan*

      I said “eww” before you even explained it. Yeah. ABBY is owed the apology! I would have reacted the same way, and I’m not a germ-a-phobe. WTF!

    16. CASH ASH*

      I don’t get why she would want to video her coworker’s reactions? Friends and family yes, but coworkers? Getting handed something someone peed on IS GROSS. Not appropriate for the office. She didn’t even put it in a ziplock baggie.

      OP wasn’t wrong and if the intimidation and bullying continue because of this situation, they should report back to corporate HR.

      1. Salymander*

        It sounds like maybe Jessie is one of those people who think they are in some super glamorous and exciting Instagram/Hollywood fantasy life. They are over the top dramatic about everything, and they see other people as being like characters in their exciting drama/life. It is exhausting to deal with people like this. Their actions don’t make sense because they conform to whatever their personal fantasy of the moment is, and if you get in their way then you are in for a rough time. I have a couple of people like this in my family, and they are very unpleasant.

    17. Rachel 2: Electric Boogaloo*

      This. I’d have been grossed out, too, if someone tossed something at me that had been PEED ON.

    18. Some Dude*

      It’s a PEE STICK. You threw biohazard at someone and are catching feelings because they didn’t appreciate it? COME ON!!!!!!!!!

      Couldn’t she have gotten a printout from her doctor of a positive pregnancy test? Or a little onesie? Or told people she was pregnant and videoed their reactions? Instead of hurling a urine soaked medical test at them? Jumpin Jehosephat.

    19. raincoaster*

      Abbey is at least entitled to pee on a pregnancy test and throw it at Jessie. See what you start when you set bad precedents?

      1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

        At this point, I think Abby gets to pee on an object of her choice, really. Possibly she can pee on an otherwise-blank apology card from the dollar store to “sign” it and hand it off to Jessie…

    20. TW1968*

      Ditto that! I feel like I’d ask everyone including ‘local’ HR and ‘corporate’ HR (everyone that thinks you and Abby should apologize to these other dingleberries), in an EMAIL so there is no “confusion” about the message later: “Just to clarify, Jessie threw an item, THAT HAD BEEN SOAKED IN HER OWN URINE, at another coworker, ‘Abby’. Abby, not surprisingly, reacted poorly to this. Now Abby is being subjected to bullying and both she and I are being considered for disciplinary action unless we publicly apologize to Jessie, Abby for reacting to having a urine soaked item thrown at her, and me for reporting this to corporate HR. Am I understanding the situation correctly? If I am, are you saying that it is acceptable to throw items with urine on them at coworkers and this is acceptable behavior in the office? Is this limited to items with urine on them or are items with any body fluids on them acceptable to throw at coworkers? I have many more questions about this (example what if someone is injured/infected as a result) but if you can first tell me if this is acceptable behavior or not, that will give me direction on my next steps.”

      1. Anonymous4*

        Is this limited to items with urine on them or are items with any body fluids on them acceptable to throw at coworkers?

        I’m dyin’ here! The only thing that might possibly — just possibly — make that set of questions any better is if the query, “Are used tampons acceptable?” is added, along with, “If not, why not?”

        1. Christina*

          “Personally, I sometimes have an issue with fecal incontinence, which requires an adult “disposables.” Is it appropriate to let people know I’m going home for the day by throwing the diaper at them? How about if I just show them? Its awkward to use words to say “my GI system is really on the fritz today and it will be more pleasant if I’m at home” – its much easier to show people. Also, I get really cranky at times of the month – wearing my tampons as earrings would give an easy signal to people without me having to explain. I’ve always thought this is a brilliant idea – although inappropriate – but since throwing something covered in urine on seems to be actively encouraged in this organization, I think this might be just the place for used tampon earring signaling. “

          1. Splendid Colors*

            And if my COVID test is positive, can I throw it at people wrapped in a phlegmy tissue to let them know they need to quarantine?

    21. Mallory Janis Ian*

      What is even the matter with the people who think Jessie is the one who is owed an apology? Abby is the one owed an apology.

    22. TG*

      If anyone did that to me I would’ve been so mad – of course I’m happy when someone shares good news but the way Abby did it is absolutely the worst. Keep your pregnancy test you peed on at home

    23. jessi*

      yeah, if ur gonna do that the least u could do is put it in a Ziploc bag so ur not throwing a literal pee stick at someone..

    24. Amethystmoon*

      Agreed. We are in a pandemic. Things that might have bodily fluids on them should absolutely be properly discarded, not thrown at people.

    25. Juam Moore*

      Jessie is lucky I’m not in that office. If she’s going to refer to her baby as gross in order to punish/bully another, I’ll double down on it.
      Hey Jessie, how’s your gross baby today.
      Etc etc
      Extreme passive aggressive, but it works.

    26. Erin*

      +1 don’t throw things at your co-workers, especially things that are drenched in urine or any other bodily fluid.

      I would have reacted with “eeww gross” and most likely much more if someone threw their used pregnancy test at me.

    27. Aunty Fox*

      Abby is definitely owed an apology. Unexpected projectiles are not normal in a professional environment and pee covered ones are entirely unacceptable. That said, I think OP already went above and beyond by going to corporate HR to calm down the silliness and Abby now needs to ask her manager or go to the HR head lady herself. OP might want to quietly let Abby know the HR lady has the full story and is approachable but then I’d say there isn’t much more she can do here.
      I find the whole culture around ‘everyone must be excited I am pregnant simply because we share an office’ weird and insensitive anyway (as well as dull, I am not personally baby oriented).

    28. MCMonkeyBean*

      I am truly baffled as to how anyone in this office is not 100% on her side of this super clear-cute issue!

      I am childless by choice so maybe I’m biased, but I feel like no one other than your spouse and maybe your parents would want to see in-person your actual pregnancy test, right???

      I also understand how a newly-pregnant person would be so excited that they would forget “oh, to people who aren’t me this is basically just a stick I peed on” so I wouldn’t necessarily hold it against someone for bringing it in–I think it sounds like OP’s response in the moment was super reasonable! “Congratulations, but hey this isn’t super appropriate to bring to the office, please put it away.” And if things had ended there then I’d say everyone is fine.

      But all the fallout described is so ridiculous! I’m glad at least your corporate HR was reasonable, but I’m not sure how useful they would be in continuing to ease the remaining drama?

  1. FridayFriyay*

    As a 5 year infertility veteran who did YEARS of unsuccessful IVF and had multiple recurrent miscarriages I am having a visceral reaction to this. Work was my sanctuary while I went through all this. I like to think I’m generally a reasonable person and I did avoid pregnancy and kids discussions with my coworkers mostly while I was going through this (everyone was super nice and understanding) but if someone handed me a used positive pregnancy test I’d probably have had an involuntary panic attack. For so many reasons this is both inappropriate and unkind.

    1. LadyByTheLake*

      I was coming to say this — set aside the inappropriateness of throwing a used medical device at someone (particularly one that was used in the toilet) — this is an incredibly unkind way to announce a pregnancy if someone in the office has reasons to be sensitive about pregnancy announcements. Jessie and Daniela are incredibly thoughtless, bordering on cruel, and need some serious sensitivity training.

      1. Momma Bear*

        Agreed. I had a miscarriage and something like this might have made me burst into tears when everything was still raw. No one at work knew because I didn’t discuss it with my coworkers. Jessie was horribly insensitive and self-absorbed.

    2. Is it Friday yet*

      Yes. THIS. As someone who had multiple miscarriages, I probably would have broken down in tears in the office. This is not in any way appropriate.

    3. I'd Rather Be Eating Dumplings*

      Yeah, that was my first thought actually — handing a positive pregnancy test to someone who has experienced infertility or loss would be exceptionally cruel, and Jessie probably doesn’t have any way of knowing who those people might be.

      1. Flossie Bobbsey*

        Exactly. My first thoughts were the same. It is so self-absorbed if Jessie or local HR thinks this fiasco was at all appropriate. The people who would be upset by this “prank” for infertility and loss reasons aren’t readily identifiable and can include people of every age, gender, marital status, and any other demographic.

    4. tiny*

      I’m sorry you went through that, and I agree – the pranksters are effing lucky as hell that all they got in the moment was “gross!”

    5. BuckeyeIT*

      I’ve also battled infertility (13 years & many miscarriages) and I completely agree. Not that I expect anyone to walk on eggshells around me, but it was really thoughtless on Jessie’s part.

      And even though I’ve taken a TON of my own tests, I think I would have tossed back her used pee stick too. You’d think that after two years of this people would be more aware of germiness in general.

    6. Very Anon*

      Like, even before we get to the, um, execution of this announcement, the expectation of filming real time reactions to a pregnancy announcement at work is a loaded idea for this reason. And also, like, I like my coworkers, so I am/would be happy for them if they announced a pregnancy, but they are my coworkers and not my personal friends, so I would not want to take part in celebration that is largely performative (again, performative because they are coworkers, not friends, and for social media), even though I personally have made peace with the fact that I can’t have kids.

      1. Huttj*

        Heck, I remember when one of my friends announced his kid was on the way and I’m sure the expression on my face in the moment was….not what I would have consciously chosen (combination of personal stuff, the unexpectedness of the announcement, and some other stuff).

        In that situation I would have been a mix of “ok” “why are you telling ME?” and “why is there a camera?”

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          I know – how would Jessie have reacted if the first person was someone who went “and I personally need to know about this right now because…”
          Probably would have rained just as hard on her parade as well.

      2. Jaybee*

        Yes. I’m honestly confused by the entire thing, because it seems like Jessie was expecting some kind of interesting, ‘filmable’ reaction – from coworkers. The standard reaction to a coworker’s pregnancy announcement I’m pretty sure is just ‘congratulations, that’s awesome’. It’s not like announcing to family and friends who might have an actual emotional response to a new baby in the family.

        1. Putting the Pee in Performative*

          Throwing a peed-on stick at people aside, I’m pretty stunned at Jessie’s presumption that coworkers will have a video-worthy response to her pregnancy announcement. Sure, I’d be happy for a coworker who happily announced a pregnancy, but to expect emotive joy for the family growth of work-proximity acquaintances is really asking way too much. That Abby is being penalized for ruining the video makes me hate my own office less.

        2. Bubbles*

          Totally! Even for a co-worker I really like and would feel excited for, my reaction would not be worth filming. Add to that the awkwardness of being put on camera by surprise

          1. LazyPuffin*

            Exactly. It sounds like Jessie got caught up in those daddy or grandparent reveals that seem to be all over social media and didn’t stop to think that it just wouldn’t translate to co-workers. The whole concept is weird and icky.
            Abby’s reaction was absolutely natural.

        3. Freya*

          Yeah, coworker reactions should be ” yay! Now when do you want to think about scheduling a meeting to discuss what we need to do when you go on leave? We have 6 months, do you need help getting the procedures manual up to date?”

      3. MissBaudelaire*

        This was what I thought, as well. Even if I love babies and would be happy for that person, I don’t want my reaction filmed and I sure as shit don’t want a used pee stick tossed at me with no warning. There are plenty of ways to do a pregnancy announcement, and none of them involve bodily fluids.

        I do work with some people that I am friends with and I’m sure they would be over the moon if I announced a pregnancy. I have some coworkers who wouldn’t care, and they deserve to feel their feelings and not have a camera on them when I tell them.

    7. kc*

      I also had many years of infertility and recurrent miscarriages. When I finally announced my pregnancy at work (at 30 weeks, thanks for the cover pandemic) I made sure to do so in an email. That allowed everyone to have time and space to react and not be put on the spot. No one knows what others have gone through and some people need space. I also was very business focused in the email- I am pregnant, I will be taking leave, here is the plan for covering my work while on leave.

      1. Ismonie*

        That is really thoughtful of you. I did something similar. Phone call to my boss, mentioned it in chat to my coworkers. I’ve been through RPL, so I don’t tell early either.

    8. Rose*

      Lord. I didn’t even think of this (distracted as I was by or her idiocy). Thanks for sharing this perspective. I’m sure it would be hard to hear either way, but 1:1 with a camera in your face is a full on nightmare.

      I’m so sorry for your fertility struggles and your miscarriages.

      1. BenAdminGeek*

        Same here. Didn’t occur to me initially because I was focused on bodily fluid grossness, but it makes sense it would be horrible for someone who might be struggling, or pregnancy isn’t a happy memory, or…. a host of other things!

    9. Sled Dog Mama*

      I had 2 miscarriages before having my now 7 year old daughter and then lost a full term healthy* baby at 9 days old. I would not react well to this either.

      *She was not healthy despite the doctor’s assuring me she was and only made it to term because I was acting as a life support machine. 9 days was how long it took her organs to fully fail after that support was removed and she was on dialysis and a ventilator for part of that 9 days.

    10. I've Escaped Cubicle Land*

      This was one of my first thoughts. Pushing past the obvious grossness of urine covered pee stick, what if it was thrown to someone had had fertility issues or had a prior miscarriage? Is someone bursting into tears the “reaction” they really want to capture?

      1. The Magpie*

        And would everybody start bullying the heck out of the person who burst into tears because of miscarriages/infertility? Probably, because Jessie sounds very far up her own butt, and that’s just unthinkably cruel. Like, that’s “I might have to quit my job, because I cannot handle this and it’s destroying my health” levels of cruel.

    11. Not So NewReader*

      I was waiting for someone to point this out. We just don’t know what kind of private hell a person is going through. If this scenario here describes Abbey then that only raises the level of offense that Jess has committed.

      The way Jess is carrying on and on, I think the best response from the company is to show her the door.

    12. Vin Packer*

      Relatedly, I wonder: does this company offer extended, PAID parental leave? Flexible schedules? Exemplary healthcare for the child-birthing process and the dependents once they exist?

      Or do they have none of that, and their entire idea of supporting a pregnant employee is to demand that everybody act delighted when she throws her dried pee at them?

      1. FridayFriyay*

        Coverage for fertility treatments so that people who need assistance can get and stay pregnant? Bereavement leave for people experiencing pregnancy losses? So many ways they could ACTUALLY provide support…. and yet…

    13. Despairing of Humanity*

      Last year my brother in law announced that his wife was pregnant by doing a “surprise, we’re pregnant” and sending us the 12 week sonogram, on what would have been the first birthday of the baby I had miscarried. I am fairly certain I had a mental breakdown. We’ve since had two unsuccessful rounds of IVF, and I would have freaked out even irrespective of the whole pee thing.
      These reaction to pregnancy announcement things can be damaging!!

    14. CoveredinBees*

      Yeah. Work was my sanctuary too. The only person in my office who had kids was a grandmother. Everyone else was mostly recently out of college and single* so pregnancies weren’t happening around me at work and no one had interest in talking about kids. I had a near-fatal pregnancy loss during infertility treatments and I went back as quickly as I felt physically able, despite having more than enough leave. I wanted to keep my mind busy and it was ideal that it was busy in a kid-less environment.

    15. Ellie*

      I agree. The pee on the stick thing doesn’t bother me at all, but this could be incredibly hurtful if Abby was struggling with infertility, or any issues around children really. Also, why would you involve someone in your pregnancy announcement without their knowledge? That’s a really weird thing to do.

      Since they’re using the ‘you think my baby is gross’ angle, I’d avoid that completely by dropping the pee stick references and just concentrate on how people need to be sensitive to the needs of others. Is there any way to raise a complaint through HR that concentrates on the bullying angle, and how problematic it is to involve others in their pregnancy announcements without their consent? I mean, I’m assuming if she’d thrown the stick at Danielle with prior planning, etc. it wouldn’t have been such a big deal?

  2. Murfle*

    I don’t have any recommendations, but I’m surprised NO ONE is bringing up the fact that a positive pregnancy test could also have been misinterpreted as a positive rapid-antigen test for covid.

    I mean…. if my coworker tossed me a freshly-used test indicating that they had covid, especially since everyone made the effort to get vaccinated, you’d bet your ass I’d be freaking out. And considering Abby is a germophobe, she’d have EVERY REASON to hit the roof here.

    1. Murfle*

      Ack, let me rephrase that second para a bit:

      I mean…. if my coworker tossed me *something that looked like* a freshly-used test indicating that they had covid, especially since everyone made the effort to get vaccinated, you’d bet your ass I’d be freaking out. And considering Abby is a germophobe, she’d have EVERY REASON to hit the roof here.

      1. a tester, not a developer*

        I accidentally scared the heck out of my husband doing something like that. Was sick in the middle of the night, did a rapid Covid test, forgot to throw it out. My husband hadn’t seen the rapid tests before, so he was concerned that I had been doing a pregnancy test.

    2. Dust Bunny*

      Former veterinary assistant here: I would probably think, “OMG YOU HAVE HEARTWORMS!” Or parvovirus.

      1. Stay-at-Homesteader*

        That would have been an AMAZING reaction. “My condolences on your heartworm. Do you have a good vet?”

      2. The OG Sleepless*

        Veterinarian here and I sort of thought the same! Especially if it had turned that really dark blue…

      3. CoveredinBees*

        That’s a video I’d want to watch. I don’t have any interest in response videos regarding someone’s pregnancy. Just not interesting.

    3. ThatGirl*

      Pregnancy tests and covid home tests look very different, so I don’t think that’s a real high likelihood. But I suppose the possibility is there for someone to misinterpret it.

      1. FridayFriyay*

        There are several brands of home pregnancy tests that look virtually identical to most home covid tests on the market.

        1. CoveredinBees*

          The first time I did a rapid at home COVID test, it triggered a lot of unpleasant infertility memories for exactly this reason.

        1. Momma Bear*

          When the school reminded us that two lines was a positive for the home rapid test, I immediately compared it in my head to a pregnancy test.

          I’m guessing people would not find it so funny to be tossed a rapid test, regardless of result.

        2. Rose*

          Yup, we used the dollar tree ones in the hospital I used to work at. They work just fine, and they look almost exactly like a lot of Covid tests.

          It was a prestigious teaching hospital too, not a low budget place. The dollar tree ones work just fine!

          1. MissBaudelaire*

            I encourage everyone to test first with one from the Dollar Tree. It costs 1.00 (or 1.25 if the price hikes have hit). Buy several and put your mind at ease!

            1. Wendy Darling*

              I wish I’d known this when I was buying $8 apiece pregnancy tests every few weeks because a mutant ovarian cyst made my period go away and I was incredibly paranoid. That shit was expensive.

          2. Unicorn Parade*

            Many years ago I had monthly district meetings and one of the attendees sounds a bit like OP’s Jessie. Every single month for four years there was drama, and I could write a Melrose Place spinoff* based on this one woman. Anyway she finally got engaged and married and immediately after the wedding, the pregnancy scares started. And by scare, I mean every free second of our 8-hour meeting including breaks were spent contemplating whether or not Christina was pregnant. There were only 8 of us, and 6 people were fine with the Christina Show, but I needed a break after the wedding drama, not new drama! So that third month when she started up again, I ran out on my lunch break to a Dollar Tree and picked up ten. Came back from lunch, handed her one, and said “why don’t you just take it and find out for sure?” sweet as can be. I kept them at home and threw one in my purse for our meetings, and whenever she started, I handed her one. After the first six or so, I think the district manager finally said something to Christina and the other six women would go have loud conversations about her uterus on the sales floor where our customers were forced to listen instead.
            *A few highlights:
            1. She found our her fiance cheated at his bachelor party with the stripper, but was determined to marry someone, anyone before she was 30. Her exact words were “I can’t be over 30 and single, it’s too sad!” (I was over 30 and single at the time.)
            2. She was two maids of honor and 8 bridesmaids. One maid of honor broke her leg skiing a few weeks before the wedding. Christina sent our frantic texts begging anyone who could fit in a size 10 dress to stand-in because otherwise her numbers were off, but no one bit, so finally she offered money and paid a coworker she barely knew $250 to be her (second) Maid of Honor.
            3. We worked in a store that is strongly associated with one color. Think Target and red (but a different store/color). Christina’s wedding accent color was that exact shade of red, so everything from the roses to the bridesmaid dresses to the napkins to the wedding cake decorations to the frilly toothpicks to the wedding favors were red. One of her coworkers made a comment about how she had matched her wedding to Target colors and Christina had to leave work early because she was hysterical and sobbing and enraged that the coworker would dare say such a thing.
            4. Apparently she was still so mad about the cheating that she refused to spend the wedding night with her new spouse, and instead spent the late night/early morning with a Tinder hook-up.

      2. Aarti*

        I have not seen a pregnancy test in like 15 years, except pictures online. Never seen a home covid test. Yes, there could be confusion.

        1. Elizabeth*

          Edit – I didn’t buy them! They were a “people who bought X” suggested purchase.

          But let me tell you about citrus reamers and looking up kitchen supplies at lunch with your boss 5 feet behind you…

      3. jane's nemesis*

        yeah, this isn’t true. I have a brand of covid test that looks eXACTly like a pregnancy test.

        1. KateM*

          Me twenty-two or something. Put three drops of pee with a dropper vs put three drops of snot solution with a dropper, wait for one or two lines to appear. Exact same procedure except for from where do you get the stuff to put in.

      4. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        The ones we have here, I couldn’t tell the difference.
        And not everyone has ever done a pregnancy test to have first-hand experience with what they look like.
        I mean, I saw adverts for them before I ever had to test for pregnancy, but I’m pretty sure they were in women’s magazines, not in anything a guy would read.

      5. londonedit*

        The Covid tests we have here (I’m surprised some people haven’t seen home Covid tests, they’re literally everywhere here and people have been advised to test twice weekly for some time) look nothing like a pregnancy test – pregnancy tests are usually long and slim, maybe 5 inches long, with a window in the middle, and the Covid lateral flow tests are little white rectangles about two inches long with just a little test window and a bit where you put the liquid stuff. I don’t think anyone would confuse the two. But still, throwing a used medical test of any kind at someone is gross.

        1. PT*

          In America home covid tests cost $24 for a 2-pack and they are sold out everywhere. You have to go to multiple stores, constantly scour different websites to see when they get new stock in. If you’re lucky your health department will be giving them out for free and then you’ll just have to stand in line in the cold for three hours to get some.

          1. Mimi*

            Yeah, I’ve only been aware of them being *available* within the past few months, and we wouldn’t have seen one except we have a friend staying with us who’s been very on top of looking for when they’re in stock.

          2. The Prettiest Curse*

            In the UK, we are fortunate enough that we can get a pack of 7 rapid tests for free (if you can get them, there’s been a shortage for the last month.) You can either order them online or go to a pharmacy and give them a collect code. Of course, since this part of the testing programme has worked pretty well, the government is now talking about discontinuing it…

          3. Wendy Darling*

            The dude on twitter who notifies people of Xbox and Playstation restocks is now also doing covid test stock notifications.

            Which is the only way I was able to get a home test after a recent exposure. I can’t get a non-home test, they’re so short on supplies they’ll only give you a test appointment if you’re symptomatic. Before that I’d never seen one.

        2. metadata minion*

          This seems to vary significantly — the ones I have look very similar to a pregnancy test. It’s a long slim rectangle with the two little lines in a window in the middle.

        3. Eden*

          Not all home covid tests look the same, and not all pregnancy tests look the same. I did a google search for “pregnacy test” and one of the ones in the first 2 rows of results looks exactly like the antigen test I did at home yesterday, just with different trim color. A rectangular piece of plastic with a place to add drops of a sample fluid and a results area with labels for a test line and a control line.

        4. Jaybee*

          You can’t get home COVID tests here. They’re constantly sold out. I only know what one brand looks like because my sister was supplied two kits by her job (a medical testing facility – she can’t work from home and their work has been vital throughout the pandemic, so they made sure all of their employees had home test kits on hand).

        5. ThatGirl*

          This is what I was going by – the pictures I’ve seen online of covid tests do not look like typical pregnancy tests to me. But clearly, I was mistaken.

        6. Mel2*

          It absolutely depends on what brand pregnancy tests you get. Fancy more expensive ones may be long and thin, but cheap basic ones from the Dollar Store do look a lot like many home COVID tests. The cheap ones are basically what are used in medical offices, so you get the same information without the expense, although a tad messier than the pricier long tests that are made to be comfortably placed in the urine stream.

        7. Sashasoo*

          I have 100% bought pregnancy tests that look exactly like the covid test you described. A lot of cheaper brands look like that.

          Also, I don’t know where you are, but where I am home covid tests are definitely not everywhere. They are very hard to find and people are not being encouraged to test twice a week by any stretch of the imagination because there aren’t enough available for people to do that. So it’s very understandable that some people wouldn’t have seen one.

          1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

            Probably UK, like me, given the comments about twice-weekly testing. Rapid antigen tests are absolutely ubiquitous, but manufactured by various different companies, so they look slightly different, and there’s also overlap in style between the variety of covid tests available and the variety of pregnancy tests available.

            I’m past the stage of regular pregnancy testing, and firmly into regular Covid testing (though thankfully through the daily testing regime required when a household member tests positive) so my first thought would definitely be “why has someone thrown an LFD at me” not “squee, Jessie’s pregnant”.

      6. LolaBugg*

        My husband and I have had to do at home rapid Covid tests a few times in the past couple months and they look very similar to pregnancy tests, to the point that when we read the results of the Covid test we announce to one another if we are pregnant or not as an inside joke.

        1. ThatGirl*

          Okay! I stand corrected; the pictures of home covid tests I’ve seen are largely the Binax variety with the flat panel that clearly says covid-19 on it. But I will admit now that I have never taken a pregnancy test OR a home covid test, so clearly I was wrong.

          1. LolaBugg*

            Lol did I ever think my family’s inside joke about Covid tests looking like pregnancy tests would become relevant in an ask a manager post? Nope! But here we are :-)

        2. Aitch Arr*

          My husband: “Are you sure it’s negative? A faint line is a line.”

          Me: “I’ve been pregnant before; of course I know a faint line is a line!”

          (To be fair, Mr. Aitch Arr is my son’s stepfather.)

      7. quagmire*

        I have like 3 different brands of rapid tests, and all of them have a testing strip that looks essentially identical to different pregnancy and ovulation tests I have used over the years. The first at home test my husband used, he joked that I bought 100 for $15 on Amazon.

      8. Red 5*

        It depends on a lot of things, including all of the brands, but especially how much exposure you’ve had to one or the other (and how recently).

        I haven’t seen a pregnancy test in person in…fifteen years maybe? I still know generally what they look like because of using them back in the day and also pop culture. But right now I’m way, way more likely to come across a COVID test stick, and that’s about the only thing I’ve seen people posting on social media, etc.

        So I probably would assume it was a COVID test because that’s what’s on my mind, no matter what size or shape it was. It’s not like I have a comprehensive knowledge of all the different brands of either, so split second reaction your brain is going to fill in the most likely candidate, which is COVID test for most people right now.

      9. Artemesia*

        the home test we used looks like pictures I have seen of pregnancy tests. easy to confuse if you haven’t seen a lot of actual pregnancy tests.

      1. mlem*

        The context clue of “someone just threw a pos/neg stick at me, without warning, in the office, during a pandemic”? I’d think Covid test before pregnancy pee-stick. Hell, I’d personally think feline FIV/FeLV snap test for a second ahead of pregnancy pee-stick, even though that uses dots rather than lines, because I have more experience with the snap test.

      1. COHikerGirl*

        Remember chicken pox parties? There are now COVID parties. I would not be surprised if COVID reveals were a thing.

    4. Lydia L*

      Assuming that it is local HR ‘encouraging’ people to write apologies to Jessie. I would continue to loop Corporate HR in on local HR’s handling of the situation as they are reacting inappropriately and likely exacerbating the bullying situation.

    5. ivy*

      agreed, that was my first thought too

      Recently I saw someone post their postive covid tests on Twitter and a handful of people assumed it was a pregnancy announcement…

  3. AVP*

    What on earth??? Absolutely not, Abby is in the right here! Don’t pass go, please go find a job where people have common sense and boundaries.

    1. AVP*

      What really gets me about this letter is that OP is trying so hard to explain her bosses’ POVs here and make excuses / find Jessie’s behavior reasonable in some way. But even through all of that this situation is so clear cut…it kind of makes me sad to think of these reasonable humans going so far out of their way to make this make sense. (And you just know there’s so much else going on in this workplace…)

      1. Rose*

        I think OP is just questioning their own common sense because it seems like every other person in the office aside from Abbie disagrees. It’s so easy to start to question your own judgement at that point.

    2. Ace in the Hole*

      I work at a garbage dump. Getting covered in dirt, garbage juice, and worse is business as usual. I have been splashed in the face with decomposing rat fluids and have had to change clothes when someone spilled rotting clams on me. Last week I cleaned up a huge spill comprised of a stranger’s blood and the mystery liquid that dripped out of their refrigerator.

      All this to give some context when I say that, as gross as this job is, throwing a used pregnancy test at a coworker would STILL be too unsanitary to be acceptable at my organization.

      LW, you are not crazy. If it’s too gross for garbage workers, it’s definitely inappropriate for the office.

        1. Marillenbaum*

          Same! If there’s ever a Friday open thread where you’re free, I’d love to hear more about it!

      1. Keep your pee away from me*

        This is beautiful. Thank you for painting this visual picture. Seriously, I love everything about it.

    3. The Dogman*

      This option is the only sane option.

      That workplace is a cluster-omni-shambles (with some swearwords in there too perhaps?) and even if the corporate HR get involved I cannot imagine it will be much fun working there with this going on.

      Since LW has no power to discipline or fire the weridos who instigated this situation getting out, and hopefully finding Abby a place to land next, is the safest and sanest choice.

      I was flabberghasted when I read this letter, and nothing usually ghasts my flabber at all… but urine sticks being hurled around the office and then the offender being the victim somehow is bonkers!

      1. GreyjoyGardens*

        My flabber was well and truly ghasted as well (love that phrase). LW, your workplace has some serious serious boundary issues. Run, and if you can, help Abby run, too.

    4. A Poster Has No Name*

      This was pretty much my reaction. The fact that everyone seems to be siding with the person who threw a peed-on object at someone, and not the recipient of said object, tells you everything you need to know about this office.

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        Yup – sounds like the inmates have taken control of the asylum, and you and Abby are the last sane people left. Please get yourself and Abby out of there and make corporate HR aware of the fact you are leaving and why you are leaving

        (It is possible I am being unkind to other coworkers who are just keeping their heads down and staying away from Jennie as their only job preservation option, but if that is the case, well Jennie is creating even more drama and damage than the local HR people want to acknowledge. In fact I put a lot of blame on the local HR for creating the other videos that made Jennie think this whole thing was a good idea in the first place.)

    5. Generic Name*

      Yes! My thought when I read this was, “OP needs to find a new job”. They have given OP no managerial power but are now complaining about her very appropriate management reaction AND upper management is supporting bullying someone who had a normal reaction to getting a peed on object thrown at them. This whole place sounds bananacrackers.

    6. Beth*

      Y’know, not only was the projectile gross — but why the hell should any co-worker assume that they can film me doing ANYTHING in the workplace, for the purposes of posting it on THEIR social media, without my consent? I wouldn’t even want to be filmed at a party held by a close friend, unless I had been asked specifically beforehand.

  4. Blue*

    Where the heck is Jessie’s chain of command in all of this??? They seem like the logical people to get her back down to earth and make things right with Abby.

    1. Just J.*

      No kidding right? Why has Jessie’s direct boss not been looped in already?

      A conversation with Jessie needs to immediately happen that while the office is thrilled she is pregnant, her plans for announcing it backfired. Jessie needs to be told to get her act together, put the drama behind her, and if she continues bullying Abby, a PIP will be forthcoming.

    2. cubone*

      Yeah, in terms of practical advice (and not just ew/poor abby/you’re in the right, all of which is true but I’m not sure really helps the OP proceed), I would want to know where Jessie and Danielas bosses stand in this. Also, if senior HR was horrified, why is an apology letter still being demanded?

      Would it make sense to ask HR for more ongoing support and make them aware Abby is being bullied? Also, it would probably go a long way to make it abundantly clear to Abby you are so sorry this happened to her and ask what you can do to help. And shut down any of those comments when you hear them (or pass them up to HR). Honestly, OP needs to be the squeaky wheel to senior HR (since they’ve demonstrated their take on the matter).

      1. Minerva*

        Yeah seems like the prudent thing to do at this point is have Corp HR take site HR aside and pull rank on this one. And hammer home that:

        *An associate had a used medical device that had been urinated on thrown at her.
        *That in the time of COVID a positive pregnancy test could have easily been interpreted as a positive COVID test, and perhaps Abby underreacted.
        *That harassing Abby over this is completely unacceptable.

    3. The New Wanderer*

      It sounds like the chain of command is backing Jessie and saying Abby owes her an apology for Abby’s “overreaction” to touching a biohazard Jessie threw at her. Which is obviously messed up.

      Corporate HR needs to do FAR more to fix this situation – the “horrified” response was to … send a general memo about basic manners? Honestly, that’s an unacceptable response so no wonder there are still bullying issues. But if local HR and local management are this unreasonable and the office already had a history of bad boundaries (no surprise given how this unfolded), this may not be salvageable even if Corporate HR showed up in person to lay down the law.

      Personally, I’d want to get out before the inevitable explosion-based gender reveal click-bait post attempt.

      1. Felix*

        If I worked in any other office that is part of this company, with no context of this story, I would have a lot of questions about why that memo was sent.

        1. Maya*

          Yeah, I think this is the most ridiculous example of sending a “reminder” to everyone instead of actually talking to the one person in question that I’ve ever heard of.

          TO: All Employees
          Just a friendly reminder to everyone that it is not acceptable to throw your bodily fluids, or anything that you have urinated on, at your coworkers.

          Love, HR :)

      2. Absurda*

        Yeah, sounds like there’s a lot of dysfunction. I wonder if there’s a history of Jessie being a bully or emotional and others just trying to smooth her feelings rather than manage her. If that’s the case, this incident is just the tip of the iceberg and there will be no way to fix or resolve this situation other than kowtow to Jessie or leave.

    4. Gingerbread Gnome*

      Jessie’s chain of command is backing her all the way and expecting Abby and the rest to write an apology. Personally, I think OP should move this up the chain (get back with corporate HR) and let them know that Abby is still being bullied, Jessie’s manager is part of it, and they need to RIGHT NOW come talk to Jessie, her manager, and the rest of the workers that it is NEVER OK to surprise folks with anything that had bodily fluids on it. IMO this is absolutely a firing offense to Jessie, her friend, and her manager for backing them up.

    5. Critical Rolls*

      It sounds like everyone on site has lost their damn minds. The good news is, corporate is (how often do we get to say this) entirely in the right and apparently willing to do something about it!

      BRING DOWN THE HAMMER OF CORPORATE DOOM upon these people! Not because the video idea showed very poor judgement, but because they’re doubling down, bullying someone who was wronged, and inciting the whole office to do the same, which is so far beyond acceptable it’s already tomorrow there.

      1. Essess*

        It might not have been a firing offense (but definitely a serious talking -to/write up) for her initial sharing. But the harassment, bullying, and doubling down on the behavior should become a firing offense.

  5. Shira Von Doom*

    delurking because this is TOO MUCH, LOLOLOL

    I TOO would have yelled “Gross!!” and flung away the PEE STICK, and not only that, but if they tried to bully me about it, there’d be a throwdown. I’m a professional, but if you think you can throw your used urinated objects at me, I’m going to start offering to pee on your chair, since you like it so much.

    1. Important Moi*

      Yes. This seems to be a culture issue. Jessie seems to be liked enough such that no one has told her to knock it off.

      1. GreyjoyGardens*

        I remember the letter of a couple years back where one coworker deliberately dressed up as another coworker for laughs, AND the management backed “Regina George” and not the made-fun-of coworker. This letter reminds me of that, in that both are toxic, narcissistic workplaces that are like toxic, narcissistic families. I wonder if Jessie is some sort of “golden child” who can get away with anything.

      2. tamarack & fireweed*

        It seems relevant to me that this is a marketing department – with, apparently, a pretty unfettered attitude to making “cute” somewhat edgy videos with candid reactions. Which are a recipe for creating havoc and overstepping lines. There’s a lot of this on YouTube and Instagram, and doubtlessly more on TikTok, and a good number of them are made by people as part of their paid employment. To me this means, if your workplace is into producing this kind of content… you need robust ways of dealing with the inevitable fallout.

        As a minor point – clueless lesbian here, who never had the need to use a pregnancy test – I would have dipped the end into a cup of pee and it wouldn’t have occurred to me to directly pee ON it, directionality being what it is, so maybe it’s gonna be more effective to talk about a “pee stick” rather than “your bodily fluids” or “objects that have been urinated on”. Disgust, after all, happens largely in our heads – in actual fact a re-capped pee stick that has been wiped probably exposes whoever touches is to fewer molecules of urine than grabbing a handful of peanuts or skittles from a public bowl, but that’s not at issue here: The issue is that it’s completely understandable that Abby would have recoiled from a used lateral-flow test of any type, and that framing it as disgust about the *pregnancy* or the pregnant body is a polemical over-reaction.

        And even more, that bullying must be shut down!

        (As for guidance, the original team should just have shoved a phone screen with a photo of the pregnancy test in front of the colleague for a candid. Even though it would probably have been less sanitary than the pregnancy test, it *is* socially acceptable to do, in an environment that goes for this kind of semi-consensual reaction video.)

        1. Ismonie*

          Some people pee in a cup and dip, most expensive tests don’t come with a cup, so people pee on the test. Yeah.

        2. GreyjoyGardens*

          Pee issues aside, I do think the “marketing department” is relevant. If they are used to making videos for professional purposes – or “reality TV” type videos that are carefully staged and edited behind the scenes – then they might have allowed boundaries to be blurred in the fashion you describe.

          I think if your work is around reality TV or “Candid Camera” (remember them?) type productions, you want to be extra super careful to hold firm boundaries in your work life. Just because it looks cute in a commercial doesn’t mean it will translate over to reality.

    2. kittymommy*

      I would have yelled “What the f***” and avoided it. Don’t throw things at me. Don’t thrown things that have bodily fluids on them at me.

      I’m going to try to say this as politely as possible…Jessie (and Daniela) are jerks and are being ridiculous. Beyond the above mentioned problems (and if you are going to do this, you tell people ahead of time so they don’t have an unexpected reaction), the insensitivity to someone who may be having personal issues regarding pregnancy/infertility, is astounding. Also, and as much as this might sound mean, not everyone cares about another’s pregnancy.

    3. Generic Name*

      Right?!? When I read she threw a used pregnancy test at someone I involuntarily said, “Ew!”. I am by far not a germaphobe, but even this grosses me out. Just, WTH.

    4. PolarVortex*

      I think my yelling would have had 4 letter words that are workplace inappropriate show up. I mean the fact she limited herself to Gross tells me that lady has either never sworn in her life or has the ability to workplace censor that I need to aspire to.

      1. Salymander*

        Maybe she worked with children at one point. You learn to self censor really quickly that way.

        She definitely works with children now, eh?

  6. Insert Clever Name Here*

    I would 100% go back to your corporate HR and ask them to specifically address the bullying of Abby with each of the perpetrators INDIVIDUALLY and tell them to knock the hell off with that and the pressure on others for an apology.


    1. LaFramboise (in academia)*

      Yes, agree 100%. This is an incidence to spend your political capital on. IMO, Jessie needs to apologize and the bullying need to stop.

    2. CupcakeCounter*

      Exactly what I came down here to write. Corporate HR needs to know what the local HR is continuing to do

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          Agreeing with this – and I have to say I’m hoping that local HR has put some of this in writing. It almost seems like the possible start of a hostile workplace with the bullying of Abbie and the pressure to apologize to Jessie (when she started the whole mess!).

    3. EPLawyer*

      YES. Corporate HR needs to know office HR SUCKS.

      This has been handled horribly. Even if you excuse Jesse as having spectacularly bad judgment in the moment, what is going on from there needs to be STOPPED. The bullying of Abby ends THIS MINUTE. Any continued bullying is a termination offense. This includes Jesse and her complaining. Jesse needs to be told that her stunt was a bad idea, there will be NO apology for it not being accepted as a good one. She also needs to be told that her CONTINUED bad judgment in complaining about Abby is not acceptable. That she can AND will be terminated if it continues.

      1. Elle*

        This whole thing seems like a series of bonkers decisions on Jessie’s part: the used pregnancy test, the filming, choosing coworkers for this video, specifically for a video that will be posted to the internet, not getting permission from coworkers to include them, etc. I would be interested in knowing if she just ignores boundaries relating to her personal life and pregnancy or if this bleeds into work more frequently.

    4. Cold Fish*

      Agree. Might I also suggest Corporate HR require Local HR take some training courses (like anti-bullying) as it looks like they need an update on what is appropriate workplace behavior.

      1. Keep your pee away from me*

        Besides the consequences to Jessie, Daniela and anyone else bullying Abby, there should be some consequences to the local HR people. This honestly goes beyond “needs more training.”

    5. Susie*

      Yes, yes, yes. The bullying needs to STOP IMMEDIATELY. Are there no decent manager with common sense in this office?

    6. OlympiasEpiriot*

      I second this.

      OMG! I am absolutely NOT a germaphobe and I would be 100% against this ridiculous announcement and I say Abby needs (1) an apology and (2) a new job far away from these idiots. Jesse and Daniela need to be reprimanded and need to especially apologize to Abby, but, also need to apologize to the entire office.

    7. Lynca*

      You need to go back to Corporate HR with documentation of this. Given the disconnect between the on-site and corporate branch responses, I think you’re going to need evidence of the mismanagement of this situation to get traction. Even though you should not need it for something as egrigous as this.

      I might also suggest that Abby make the complaint with you, if she feels like she can.

    8. EvilQueenRegina*

      This was what I was going to suggest. It sounds like corporate HR were handling it better than the onsite team in the first place, and they would most likely be willing to step in, shut down this rubbish about apology letters to Jessie and all bullying of Abby, who I don’t think did anything really wrong. Forget her reputation for being a bit of a germophobe, a lot of people would likely react the same way to getting that thrown at them!

    9. Tara*

      And encourage corporate HR to call out local HR’s behaviour, it’s shocking they’re acting like this! An apology letter seems to odd in any context, it’s like how you’d get 11 year olds to make nice. And they’ve got it the wrong way round here!

    10. sometimeswhy*

      This. Go back to corporate HR. Forward them anything that’s in writing and give a detailed description of what’s happened since they stepped in initially, use dates if you can.

      1. awesome3*

        Exactly this, if you’re getting a bunch of emails telling you to apologize, fwd those bad boys right along

    11. SpringIsForPlanting!*

      Replying to upvote–Corporate HR seems sane here, so loop them back in immediately. Be as specific as possible with what is going on (the comments, the demands for apologies, any impacts to work that’s observed like people refusing to work with Abby)

    12. Catalin*

      Corporate HR, actively protect Abby, and GTFO of this insane workplace.

      Fox’s sake, I didn’t even want to handle my own pregnancy test. I might actually throw up if someone handed me a peed-on stick.

    13. Kate R*

      Yes. 100%. Someone needs to tell the local HR and managers in no uncertain terms that Jessie and Daniella are 100% in the wrong here. It is they who owe Abby and any other affected employees an apology. Not only is it unhygienic, but they explicitly ignored a well known phobia of Abby’s. That they are still encouraging apologies to Jessie shows they don’t understand the gravity of the situation, and that Abby is continuing to be bullied shows they are not doing their job. Someone above them needs to I address this with them.

      (This also doesn’t even get into the fact that for people struggling with miscarriage or infertility, this sort of thing could be extremely upsetting. And most people probably don’t know their coworkers to that level of detail, so you might not know who is going through what. Which isn’t to say you can’t announce pregnancies at work, but demanding one-on-one reactions from each individual person can be a bit much)

    14. Not So NewReader*

      Since Jess loves videoing so much, why not video her bullying and send it to corporate HR…. or maybe NOT. But definitely something “fun” to think about. “Gee, Jess, since you like videoing so much, I am videoing you now. I know you will be okay with that.”

    15. PolarVortex*

      Corporate HR about the bullying yes, but also about how there’s still pressure to apologize to Jessie. (Since I assume that is also coming from in house HR.) They need to know that their in house team is at best useless, and more likely just finding ways of defying the law laid down by corporate because they still believe Jessie isn’t at fault. (Side note, is Jessie friends with HR? Why on earth would a bunch of dudes think touching a pee covered stick is normal? You’d think they’d have the opposite reaction given how dudes usually are about tampons.)

    16. Venus*

      As flagged elsewhere, Abby was the first target and she is known to have an issue with germs. Is this part of a wider pattern of bullying that is becoming more open?

    17. Jessica Fletcher*

      Yes. LW also says this is part of a pattern of local management encouraging behavior that has caused problems in the past. Corporate HR needs to know what’s happening at this office so they can hopefully rein it in.

    18. Jen Barber, IT*

      Agree with this – a follow up with HR saying that the issue of people bullying Abby is still ongoing and they need to do something a bit more concrete that sending a memo around!

      Good luck to you OP, this is bananas

  7. What's in a name?*

    No one owes anyone else a congratulations on a pregnancy announcement. Period. Let alone when a urine stick is thrown at them. No apology necessary from Abby. Abby should be part of the great resignation for this.

    Hopefully the test was dipped in urine, like they are supposed to be, rather than held below a stream, but still… not cool.

    1. avocadotacos*

      This is a good point. Even when I just saw the title I did think it was inappropriate to do at work. If a coworker threw a pregnancy test at me right now I’d probably burst into tears, not for urine related reasons. If it’s that kind of office you can maybe add in jazz hands or pass out cookies when you make an announcement like that, but Alison has always said to be matter of fact and positive about it. Even the cookies and jazz hands would be too much in most places, and that’s besides the fact that urine was involved here.

    2. Yucky*

      A lot of them actually tell you to hold in a stream rather than dipping. Depends on the test, but that’s pretty common. I’m dealing with infertility, so I’ve taken quite a few pregnancy tests (and read all the instructions very closely).

    3. MistOrMister*

      I have to wonder, what would have happened if someone just had a reaction Jessie didn’t like? As in, seeing the positive test, saying meh, handing,it back and returning to their work (after washng their hands!!). Would the bosses be requiring they apologize to Jessie? Because this seems like it’s just set up for a special snowflake to get butthurt over. I personally do not care about most people’s pregnancies or babies. I don’t understand when people get all squealy and excited over these things for coworkers. If its a close friend, ok. But for Janice in accounting that I only make water cooler chitchat with a couple of times a month….well I hope she wouldnt want to film me reacting to such an announcement because then it would be on tape how little I care and I guess her feelings would be hurt.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        “Oh you want me to throw it out for you, sure thing, you bet!” [Toss into garbage can.]

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          I’d throw it away too – but in a dumpster that’s harder to retrieve it from. I’d cheerfully make a whole thing of going to the dumpster too.
          You put me in a video – you’ll get a reaction, just probably not the one you were hoping for.

      2. MHA*

        Responding with “meh” to anyone’s (enthusiastic) pregnancy announcement would be incredibly inappropriate, so, yeah, it would probably hurt their feelings, and they wouldn’t be the one having a weird reaction in that circumstance. Of course YOU’RE not excited about the baby, but congratulations (and condolences, for that matter) aren’t about your feelings– they’re an acknowledgment of the OTHER person’s excitement (or pain.) If you seriously can’t muster an “aw, congrats, you must be so excited,” then that’s not something to pat yourself on the back about.

        1. MHA*

          CAVEAT: all of the above if the pregnancy announcement ITSELF is appropriate; handing someone a peestick is NOT appropriate and I’m fully on team Abby “OH GROSS” in that case!

        2. Oofnik*

          Nothing is ever so simple.
          In Jewish tradition, congratulating a pregnancy is very bad luck and seen as tempting fate. You wouldn’t congratulate a pregnancy (and in fact to do so may well be rude and/or inappropriate) but rather say “B’sha’a tova” (“In good time”).

        3. MistOrMister*

          Well, my comment about responding is about this particular circumstance. If someone goes so far as to throw a used pregnancy test at someone else, I don’t feel that a “meh” if you’re not excited for them is inappropriate. I get that two wrongs don’t make a right, but if you have flung a pee stick at me, I don’t feel the need to congratulate you on anything at that point.

          Also, I wasn’t saying that I can’t/won’t give a polite response. But I am not going to fake the level of enthusiasm that a Jessie type person is going to want caught on camera. It sounds like what Jessie expected was along the lines of everyone jumping up and down in excitement, hugging her, looking beyond thrilled, etc. When you have those sorts of expectations, anything less is going to come off as too little so even the normal polite congratulations would likely upset this person as not enough.

    4. Loulou*

      The first line of this comment is wild! If someone tells you they’re pregnant (in a normal way, not by throwing a pregnancy test at you) you absolutely owe them a “congratulations”???

      1. Bekx*

        Agreed. Regardless of whether it’s your cup of tea or not, it’s still polite to say congratulations on a major life event.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          I tend to go with “I wish you all the best” for announcements like that. Seems to me just a bit safer than congratulations.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          uhh… yeah. I have often treated pregnancy announcements with caution and that caution has paid off.

        2. Loulou*

          In your personal life, sure, but when you’re announcing life events like pregnancy to coworkers there’s really a social script it’s safe to stick to. I’m pregnant = congratulations, my family member died = I’m sorry for your loss, etc. I’m sure we can all think of an example where we’d say something else to a friend because we have intimate knowledge of their personal circumstances, but work is different.

        3. Loulou*

          I am Jewish too, but in a secular professional US setting some version of “congratulations” is still appropriate for the vast majority of situations! If you’re very religious/superstitious or the pregnant person is then I think “how exciting,” “I’m happy for you,” or some version of “best wishes for an easy pregnancy” would do the trick. The idea is to acknowledge the major life news they have shared, not to cover all possible contingencies.

      2. MHA*

        Yeah, I’m baffled by that. Maybe no one is “owed” basic social niceties in the sense that you’re not (necessarily) going to get fired for not offering them, but it is socially inappropriate and unprofessional not to make the attempt (in a situation where you haven’t just had a peestick thrown at you– Abby’s reaction here was absolutely valid.)

      3. Batgirl*

        I see what you mean, as it’s what I would do and what I would recommend that others do where possible because it’s warm and and pleasant thing to do. That said, it doesn’t take much thoughtfulness to realize how horribly common miscarriages and infertility are. Thoughtful people make pregnancy announcements easy to ignore if someone needs to do so. Also, if it was my pregnancy, while I’m going to want a few congratulations from people I’m closest to, if someone’s reaction is nothing more than “Oh, really” followed by smalltalk then that’s okay! It would have been nice but I wouldn’t be owed anything! Its okay because I’m not a child, or a primadonna.

        1. Loulou*

          Yes, i definitely agree with this! Everything about how this person handled their announcement was insensitive and thoughtless.

  8. A Pinch of Salt*

    I don’t actually *know* anything here, so this is mostly just hopeful thinking. But my god…there has to be a government entity that would be concerned with urine sticks getting thrown around the office. OSHA? Can the county health dept talk some sense into your HR/management?

    1. NoMoreOffice*

      I know where I’m from, even spitting at someone can be considered assault, I would imagine the same would go for having medical waste hurled at your face.

      1. Susie*

        Yes, especially since Abby is being bullied because someone threw a pee stick at her. I just can’t understand why the thought this was a good idea. Like no. Just no.

    2. AndersonDarling*

      If Abby goes to a lawyer, there will be trouble. An employee threw a contaminated item at Abby for a prank, and the executives are retaliating against her for having the proper human response. I’m not saying there is an obvious law being breached, but it is so much of an outrage that an attorney can make the company’s life miserable.
      I would have already called my employment attorney if I was in Abby’s shoes.

      1. The Dogman*

        “Hostile working environment” if nothing else, this could be an expensive legal bill in the making.

    3. Ace in the Hole*

      Probably not. Urine is gross, but not typically a huge health hazard. The OSHA standard for “blood and other potentially infectious material” specifically excludes urine from the definition.

      Now as far as being considered harassment/assault/etc, I don’t know. Certainly seems like part of a pattern of bullying, which is very not good. But as far as safety regulations are concerned I doubt this would be considered any worse than making your employees clean the bathroom or change a diaper.

      1. quill*

        I mean, “potentially infectious” and “safe to throw at a coworker” are completely different categories. I wouldn’t want to be thrown someone’s damp dishrag from cleaning up a coffee spill.

        1. Ace in the Hole*

          Sure, neither would I. But neither damp dishrags nor urine are an OSHA violation. They’re not considered unsafe, they’re just disgusting.

          That doesn’t mean it’s acceptable. Everyplace I’ve ever worked would consider this totally inappropriate, it would be against company policy, etc. But the government doesn’t care about workplace pee sticks on the basis of health/safety regulations.

          1. quill*

            Yeah, it doesn’t have to be an OSHA biohazard to potentially meet the legal definition of assault, and certainly not to meet a company’s standards of unacceptable behavior.

            1. SnappinTerrapin*

              The civil tort of battery is “any touching in rudeness or anger.” In some jurisdictions, it’s “any touching without consent, except as legally privileged.” (In other words, if there is affirmative legal authority to touch someone, for their protection or as a means of enforcing legal custody or control.)

      2. calonkat*

        I don’t know of many offices that you are required to clean up someone else’s urine. And I worked in a garment factory once. I’ve also never been asked to change the diaper of a co-worker.

        My reaction when I got to the “threw the pee stick” part was “oh gross” and I consider it a sign of maturity that I didn’t yell that in my cubicle. Corporate HR needs to be aware of what’s going on and the ongoing issues. I like the idea of Abby having a claim for hostile working environment, and if corporate won’t help, an employment lawyer might be willing to send a letter at least.

        Or when interviewing for her next position, she could explain that the reason she’s looking for a new job is not enjoying being forced to handle the urine of her co-workers.

        1. Ace in the Hole*

          I wasn’t saying contact with urine is normal at an office job, or even that it’s acceptable at work! I was explaining that it’s not an OSHA violation.

          Childcare workers routinely change diapers at work. I’ve had to clean the bathrooms at every retail and food service job I’ve worked, which involved occasionally wiping up pee. I’m now a garbage worker, and we routinely work around items contaminated with urine which occasionally contact our clothes or skin. All of these are perfectly legal and not considered an unsafe work environment.

          Yes, it’s gross. Gross is not an OSHA violation.

          No, it should not be allowed at work. But unacceptable is not the same as illegal. It’s important for people to have a clear understanding of what is ACTUALLY a legal safety violation so they know when and how they can push back with legal protections. It’s against the law (in the US) to fire a worker for refusing to do unsafe things or for reporting a safety hazard. It’s not against the law to fire someone for refusing to put up with something gross, but technically safe.

      3. 30 Years in the Biz*

        Urine is not included in the bloodborne pathogens/OPIM, but can still be considered infectious if it doesn’t have blood in it but has other infectious agents. Universal precautions/standard precautions apply to all blood, body fluids, tissues, and secretions.

    4. SpEd Teacher*

      I agree that throwing a used pregnancy test at someone in the office is out of line and kinda gross. It’s not actually that gross in a disease passing sort of way. I don’t think anyone is going to catch anything touching a pregnancy test that was used a few days/weeks ago.

      Icky, yes. Out of line, yes. A bad idea, totally. Going to spread infection, no.

  9. ThatGirl*

    This seems to have gotten out of hand very quickly.

    Jessie and Daniela need to be talked to separately, to make sure they understand that this was not about Jessie’s pregnancy but the grossness of bodily fluids. They need to apologize to Abby. And the bullying of Abby needs to be shut down.

    But this all needs to be done CALMLY — de-escalated — because it really seems like what should have been a 2 on the crisis scale has been ramped up to an 8. There’s no reason this needed to turn into a giant clusterfork.

    1. The Cosmic Avenger*

      I dunno, even without the pee, ambush videos are bullying to me, especially when you hold it against them for not giving you the reaction you wanted. The only way I see this as acceptable is giving absolutely no judgment on their reaction, and THEN getting their freely given consent to show their reaction to others. Because the OP says “reaction video”, but that’s basically an ambush video if you involve other people.

      1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        oh yes, I’d be furious if someone did something like that to me.
        But then, in France, if you post any photo or video of anyone without permission, you’re in big trouble.

      2. NNN222*

        Yes, both the ambush video and throwing anything at a coworker are bad without bringing in that it was a pregnancy test. No one should be secretly taping a coworker while doing something to provoke a reaction out of them and no one should throw things at their coworker. None of this is OK and Abby deserves apologies for everything including the bullying over her understandable reaction.

    2. NeutralJanet*

      I could see Abby reacting on instinct by yelling and throwing the pregnancy test, especially if she’s a known germaphobe—having something unexpectedly thrown in your face is likely to trigger a reaction no matter what it is, so I don’t know that it’s fair to say that she escalated the situation more than necessary, which I think is what you’re implying. If she had gotten through her initial response and THEN yelled, that might have been an overreaction, but in the moment, she can’t really be blamed.

      1. ThatGirl*

        To be clear – I have no problem with Abby’s reaction! I’m talking about everything that’s happened since then, mostly from Jessie’s side, and the nonsense about people needing to apologize to her. It just seems like everyone is very hyped up about this when it should not have devolved into a bunch of nonsense.

        1. NeutralJanet*

          Okay, understood! I thought you might be saying that both sides were to blame for the issue being escalated way beyond where it should have been—turns out we are on the same page after all!

    3. CupcakeCounter*

      Unfortunately I have worked in places where everything becomes a 9 or 10. I literally got a complaint once that Jane was out sick on the same day as Nancy’s birthday treat so obviously Jane hates Nancy and Jim and Kate both took the same week off so they are obviously going on vacation together and leaving out George or were possibly having an affair and should we notify someone? (George was not the complainer, Jim and Kate were not on vacation together or having an affair as Jim was on his honeymoon with John and Kate was on the opposite side of the country dealing with a very sick parent, and no one liked Nancy…who was also not the Jim/Kate/George complainer).
      And no…this was not middle or high school kids. These were 30-somethings. I didn’t work there long.

      And you are correct…the second Abby said gross it should have popped into Jessie and Daniela’s heads that “ohhhhh…there is pee on that…we didn’t think this through”. But so and so loved it on effing TikTok…social media trends ruin all common sense.

      1. Momma Bear*

        TikTok trends are why schools needed to shut bathrooms – children were following the trend and stealing soap. During a pandemic. Not every trend deserves a following. Jessie is well old enough to think that through.

        1. Marcy*

          Sigh, nearly every time I hear about a new TikTok trend I become more convinced that TikTok is the most damaging social media platform to exist yet.

          1. Humble Schoolmarm*

            It was bad enough when the worst consequence was having to watch teenagers randomly flail their arms all day (“No, Fergusina, you really don’t need to practice your tiktok moves in the middle of my lesson on meiosis. Focus on the sperm and save the dancing for after class”).

    4. Trillian*

      I forsee one of those additions to the employee handbook that will make future employees scratch their heads and think, “There’s a story behind that …”

    5. Omnivalent*

      Jessie understands perfectly well that this is not about her baby being gross. She’s upset because she and her little friend Daniela had a whole scenario planned out in their heads, where they would hand people the PEE STICK and everyone would coo, and they’d record it all. Abby didn’t follow the script.

      Have you ever played make-believe with a very young child who has a whole scenario of how the story goes, and you gamely try to go along with it, and they get upset because when you play “wrong” because you didn’t know the imaginary rules they were making up as they went? Jessie and people like her are stuck at that developmental stage.

      1. Nanani*

        I’ve also had adults do this, and it is demoralizing (at best) to be treated as a prop in someone else’s story.

      2. JB (not in Houston)*

        Yep. My nephew once got upset that we wouldn’t change the rules to a game we were all playing to a the rules that he wanted (and that would change the game into something completely different). For about 30 minutes, he sat in a chair and refused to interact with us except to periodically demand in a loud voice that we apologize to him. It was kind of cute. He’s 5. And he got over it within the hour.

      3. rototiller*

        Exactly, and I think this is important if the goal is to de-escalate things. Jessie didn’t get her scenario the way she wanted, so the new scenario is Everyone Is So Mean to Jessie. My guess is anything non-supportive anyone says to her at this point will get edited into another episode. (“They made me APOLOGIZE for BEING PREGNANT!”) So this probably isn’t a case where talking it out will cool things down.

        The focus needs to be on practical consequences – increased oversight, loss of perks, clear communication that if X behavior continues she could lose her job, etc. Admittedly, this is easier said than done, given that it sounds like there’s a bit of a management void at OP’s office. But if my read on Jessie is accurate… people like this love exaggerating their non-problems and absolutely hate having actual problems.

      4. Lucy Skywalker*

        Only, it’s even worse because they weren’t handing people the pee stick, they were throwing it!

    6. Jaybee*

      I am sure they do know (that it’s about the pee and not about the baby). They’re just embarrassed that their ‘cute’ idea backfired on them this way, and are being permitted to wallow in that emotional reaction because it sounds like some people in their chain of command are backing them up rather than telling them to wise up and remember how to behave professionally.

      I’m just not sure it’s helpful to spell this out to them and give them the benefit of the doubt that they somehow misunderstood. They’re clearly just mad that Abby didn’t play along with their mental vision of how this would go.

      1. ThatGirl*

        This may all be true, but it still needs to be spelled out that what they did isn’t acceptable **because of the pee**. Like I said, the point is de-escalation. Whatever story they’re telling themselves or other coworkers needs to change.

        1. quill*

          Everyone needs to know where they went wrong, including:

          – The pee
          – Throwing things at coworkers
          – Filming coworkers in the workplace without their consent
          – The pee
          – The bullying, which CANNOT have come as a complete surprise here, whether or not OP knew about it
          – The PEE

        2. calonkat*

          Well, I think it’s also not acceptable to start throwing things at people in the office!

          I have terrible hand-eye coordination (to the point my family regularly tells me NOT to try to catch things as I tend to hurt myself). I’d have poked myself, hit someone else, or maybe knocked the thing across the room. But not caught it. I do not work in major league baseball, nor do people “throw” spreadsheets at me, so I don’t expect it to be a problem in the office.

          Filming co-workers without their ok, throwing things at them, AND the thing being a used pee stick. These are all bad things. Then you add on “bullying the person who didn’t respond correctly”.

          1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

            You and me both! I usually tell people that I play volleyball like Carrie White (apologies for making, not just one, but two Carrie reference in this thread). Even if it were a diamond ring, that I could keep if I’d caught it, I would have, with 99% odds, not caught the thing.

          2. NNN222*

            Yes! People are so hung up on the pee but throwing anything at a coworker isn’t expected in most workplaces and I actually hate that, the secret taping, and the subsequent bullying the most.

        3. anonymous73*

          The pee stick isn’t the only issue here. You shouldn’t ambush others with a camera in their face. That would have pissed me off just as much as having a pee stick thrown at me.

          1. ThatGirl*

            Much like Jessie and her buddies, the commentariat here is so hung up on JUSTICE!!!!! and focusing on every little thing that went wrong — the goal is to get everyone to calm the fork down, first. Of course Jessie’s actions should have consequences; she shouldn’t throw anything at anyone. Of course Abby should not be bullied. But it really sounds to me like there’s a lot of unnecessary drama around this, and ramping that down should be the first goal.

            1. anonymous73*

              Yes there are many issues at play here. I was just pointing out that having a urine soaked stick thrown at you is not the only one, because that’s what most seem to be focused on. Yes the drama is high, but everything that happened here needs to be addressed.

  10. Rusty Shackelford*

    Oh my everloving gawd. Even if the stick didn’t have urine on it (AND IT DID!!! IT WAS PEED ON!!!), what kind of attention-seeking child needs to record her coworkers’ reactions to her pregnancy?

    (And part of me really wants you to start tossing medical waste at Jessie. “Look, Jessie, my urine pH is normal! Aren’t you excited?”)

    1. Shira Von Doom*

      Right? Slap a used tampon in Jessie’s hand: “Congratulate me! I’m not pregnant!”

      I mean, I’m not recommending this, but I would think about it with great malice, LOL

        1. All Het Up About It*

          It would probably also be a great way to make these male senior team understand, given the way so many men react about blood from “down there.”

          And by great – I mean amazingly satisfying, but not particularly smart or professional. But DEEPLY satisfying.

          1. Keep your pee away from me*

            Yeah, don’t DO it, but present it that way so everyone can get the clear picture. Obviously urine is different from blood, but BOTH are bodily fluids and should not be thrown at anyone.

        2. Presea*

          A sterilized but used menstrual cup might work better for illustrating the point – tampons are quantifiably different because they’re absorbent and aren’t meant to be saved or reused for any reason. A used menstrual cup is actually a lot cleaner than the pregnancy test involved in the incident, specifically because of the sterilization factor, but it has a higher “ick” factor for many people, especially non-menstruating men, due to the specific bodily fluids and cultural context surrounding it.

          1. The Prettiest Curse*

            That reminds me (warning: unpleasant content ahead), a couple of years ago, an enraged anti-vaxxer threw the contents of her menstrual cup at lawmakers on the floor of the California assembly. As I recall, they changed her with assault due to the nature of the attack and the health risk caused by flinging blood around randomly. A menstrual cup without any blood (or fake blood) presumably wouldn’t have the same legal consequences.

          2. Absurda*

            I was kind of surprised that the male managers and HR weren’t more grossed out by the pee stick. Unless they’re thinking pregnant woman = protected class = must keep her happy or she’ll sue.

            1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

              From the way Jessie is acting I wonder if she has long been a drama lama and the male HR people just think the best course of action here is to make Jessie happy so she leaves us alone.

          3. Danish*

            Hey just wanted to drop you a comment in appreciation of “non-menstrating men”. Whenever discussion of menstruation comes up I usually see it de-gendered into “people who menstrate”, which to be clear I also don’t have a problem with–it was just a nice positive moment this morning of feeling Extra Seen :)

      1. Lady_Lessa*

        Some reddish or mix brown with red water based food coloring would work nicely on the tampon. It appears used, but not.

      2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        HAHAHA There have been a few times in my life where that did put me in a festive mood! Not festive enough to throw my tampons at coworkers, mind you.

    2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      A used condom. “I’m in a new relationship! I think he might be the one!! But, OBVIOUSLY, my new love is gross to you, JESSIE.”

  11. Glomarization, Esq.*

    Since corporate HR appears to have your back, if it were me I would make a further report to them about the ongoing situation and ask them for some action that is more specific than a general e-mail to all about bodily fluids. I would also approach Abby and encourage her to make an individual complaint on her own behalf about bullying she is experiencing.

      1. Violet Fox*

        Often I think emails like that are more about creating a paper trail showing that people have been informed rather than getting people to actually behave reasonably.

        People that behave reasonably to begin with are usually willing to have a functional conversation and work with people, and not need these sorts of emails to begin with.

        1. Bagpuss*

          Yes, and sometimes I think to pre-empt any claims of bullying or victimisation “No Jessie,we’re not picking on you. No-one is allowed to throw bodily fluids at their coworkers “

        2. Candi*

          In dysfunctional workplaces, To All memos are used to take the place of actually managing.

          In functional workplaces, To All memos are what you said, to use “they had the opportunity to read it and should have read it” to start the paper trail that, yes, they were informed that they weren’t supposed to do X.

    1. Cait*

      Yes, I think if local HR won’t do their job (who on earth condones people throwing things coated in urine at other coworkers???) then this needs to go up the ladder. Abby could get a lawyer and sue the company for harassment and I really wouldn’t blame her. No one forced Jessie to 1. announce her pregnancy at the office and 2. do so in a manner that was unsanitary. She did it because she wanted to post it somewhere and get a lot of attention. Abby burst that bubble (quite rightly) and now Jessie feels slighted and embarrassed. But that’s not an Abby problem, that’s a Jessie problem. If local HR won’t do anything about the harassment and continues to encourage people to apologize to Jessie, I highly recommend telling them that you are concerned Abby will rightly be able to sue for harassment and that you need to inform corporate of the bad behavior that’s being allowed to continue.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          I wondered above if there were maybe other employees that were bothered by Jennie’s behavior but were keeping their heads down to stay out of her line of fire. Maybe some of them can also be encouraged to let corporate HR know about what is happening.

    2. Clefairy*

      This is what I came here to say. Corporate HR are clearly reasonable, but they are far removed, and are probably assuming that (beyond the initial drama and lack of proper input from local HR) everyone is now acting reasonably. I would document every incident you’ve witnessed since they sent that general letter (bullying towards Abbie, HR still pushing folks to apologize, etc), send it there way, and request that the follow up a second time, with specific people and specific direction on why their behavior isn’t ok, since the general email clearly didn’t actually do anything.

      What a nightmare. Sanity check for OP, you aren’t crazy or overreacting, this is legitimately bonkers.

      1. Gan Ainm*

        Yes this sounds very much like when Alison would usually advise going back to Corp HR and saying “thanks for your intervention but more is needed”, because they probably assume that it was resolved unless you tell them otherwise.

    3. Kramerica Industries*

      If HR is going to make a generic message to everyone, the message should be that social media filming and participation needs to be mutual and consented by everyone involved! From what I’m hearing, I don’t think Jessie is getting that message because she just thinks that Abby is a killjoy. But the issue is that Abby didn’t ask to be involved in a reaction video. She had a natural reaction and is now being unreasonably punished by her coworkers…so awful.

  12. Xavier Desmond*

    Not really advice but I just want to say you did nothing wrong! I’m trying to work out what you could have done differently but I’m drawing a blank as you seemed to handle the situation as well as you could have done.

    1. Gnome*

      Yes. Wondering if those who criticized the handling could give examples of what they think would have been better. Because I can’t.

  13. Greengirl*

    This is quite something. Yes, everyone owes Abby an apology. I might loop corporate HR into how Abbie is being bullied for her reaction and ask them to intervene with your on-site HR and managers. Ideally, Jessie’s manager would take her aside and tell her to stop making snide comments to Abby and to understand that the “gross” reaction had nothing to do with her happy news and instead had everything to do with having something someone else had peed on just thrown at her.

    1. Clorinda*

      Whoever is pressuring Abby to apologize to Jessie needs to be required to put that in writing.
      The timeline of the event in question is that Jessie threw a used medical device with urine on it at Abby, and Abby reacted with an exclamation of surprise and distress. Am I to understand that you want Abby to apologize after Jessie threw a used medical device with urine on it at Abby? Is it clear that Jessie is the person who threw the urine-contaminated device at another employee? Under what circumstances is it appropriate for one employee to throw urine at another?

  14. Dust Bunny*

    [shocked silence]

    [more shocked silence]

    OK, I used to be a veterinary assistant and will eat stuff that may or may not have been nibbled by cats, so I am definitely not a germophobe, but if you toss me a used pregnancy test I will immediately throw it back at you and then run to wash my hands.

    I don’t even have anything to recommend here because the suggestion that Jessie deserves an apology is so out-of-line that I can’t imagine anything I could offer would actually be acceptable to your managers and HR. Yes, this was a bonkers thing to do. No, it wasn’t fair to toss it at Abby, although I don’t think you need to be germ-phobic to have reacted the way Abby did–I think most people with an average feeling about [let’s be real] biohazards would respond the same way. Yes, Jessie is being ridiculous about this. Yes, your managers and HR are also being ridiculous. I’m not sure where you would even go with this given the absurd lack of support.

    1. Chief Petty Officer Tabby*

      Literally! I’m a vet assistant/kennel tech, so I am used to some interesting body fluids, parts, and whatnot laying around, but I nearly threw my phone away just reading this! The levels of NOPE NOPE NOPE is strong with this one.

      1. The OG Sleepless*

        That’s because HUMANS ARE GROSS! Seriously, things that would never bother me coming from an animal completely gross me out if they are from a human. There is a reason human medicine was never, ever on the table for me.

    2. metadata minion*

      Yup, same here. Well, not vet tech, but generally of the “eh, good to give my immune system something to do” when it comes to germs in non-pandemic times. And still, *that is not cool*. I will be the one that picks up the dead mouse in the trap and then just washes their hands really well without being overly grossed out by it, but that doesn’t mean it’s ok to fling bodily fluids at me.

      I’m also generally very, very against surprise inclusion of other people in your life-cycle announcements, so I would if anything be more upset by that than by getting a pee stick thrown at me. If you’re not immediate family or a very dear friend, this is not ok. (And frankly if you are immediate family or a dear friend, you know me well enough not to do it in the first place.)

    3. MistOrMister*

      For some reasons when my cats poop, they will cover it so “well” they end up flinging it out the litterbox. I will pick these poos up barehanded when doing the scooping rounds. If I think their poos look weird, I will break them in half (dry ones only!!) checking for blood, too dark stools, etc. That being said, I would absolutely have the exact same reaction as Abby in the situation where someone threw a pregnancy test at me!! Absolutely 100%!! If you hold out a test and someone realizes what it us and chooses to take it, all well and good. But to suddenly realize you’re holding a handful of pee…very few people are not going to freak out there. No one wants that sort of surprise!!

      I hope both OP and Abby go to corporate HR and describe in detail the bullying Abby is now going through as well as the fact that people are being pressured to apologize to Jessie.

      As an aside, in my opinion this entire plan was stupid anyway. If you want to have some sort of gathering for an announcement, fine, but not everyone wants to be filmed reacting to someone’s news.

    4. Bacon Pancakes*

      I am a wildlife biologist. I have eaten many sandwiches – in the field, with inadequate handwashing facilities – with fish scales or duck poop on me.
      This “pee stick in the office” situation is gross AF and I have peed on a stick more than once.

  15. Foreign Octopus*

    Well…I didn’t have this on my 2022 bingo card.

    I honestly have no idea what to do except maybe taking a leaf out of Ellie Miller’s book from Broadchurch and threaten to pee in a cup and throw it on Jessie if she doesn’t think other people’s urine on her person is anything at all to be concerned about.

    However, that’s very much (probably) not recommended.

          1. Foreign Octopus*

            I assumed your reply was a joke too!

            Sadly, I agree. Two wrongs might be satisfying in the moment but never a good idea (and the logistics of peeing in a cup at work is way more hassle than its worth. I’m pretty sure you can buy pre-bottled urine online so that’d be best).

    1. RosyGlasses*

      LOL at 2022 Bingo Card – same. My face kept going through progressive stages of what? ew! oh no. UGH!

  16. 2 cents of grump*

    Give Jessie a bottle of unidentified yellow fluid everyday, “for her health”?

    No but seriously Jessie is acting like a toddler which is concerning considering she’ll be caring for one all too soon. Give her and her cronies one final warning and then start writing them up for their bullying. And ask Jessie to apologize for bringing biohazards to work and exposing her coworkers to them.

    1. Del Monte*

      I was thinking about a bottle labelled “urine sample | do not drink” in the office fridge. No one should mind now the office is sharing bloodily fluids, right?

  17. Aepyornis*

    Abby is now entitled to throw a wiped but used condom to Jessie for a reaction shot about her new relationship. Then everybody can write each other an apology letter.
    Other than that, the usual: independently of the take of anyone on the situation, the bullying is not ok and it should be addressed each time to ram the point home if necessary.

    1. PeanutButter*

      I would be tempted to toss used tampons in plastic baggies as an “I’m not pregnant!” announcement at the perpetrators.

      1. Shira Von Doom*

        hahaha, I had the same thought, although the baggie element is much nicer than my impulse to want to slap one in her bare hand, like she did Abby

        I would not DO this…but ye gods, I would think about it very intensely

        1. PeanutButter*

          Ha ha, yeah, it’s NOT a good way to de-escalate and resolve the situation but oooooh I’d fantasize about it. Also saying “I’m glad I’m not pregnant but I guess SOME PEOPLE find a natural cycle GROSS.”

      2. Emotional Support Care’n*

        I dunno, she could even bring out some used toilet paper and say she’s not constipated. Really milk the whole “the body is a beautiful thing” angle.

  18. The Smiling Pug*

    Poor Abby. She had a peed-on pregnancy test thrown at her, and everyone knows she doesn’t like germs anyway. Jessie should should be at the head of the apology line.

    1. Anonymous Hippo*

      I would say H.R. needs to look in the past and see exactly when the bullying of Abby started. Because I don’t think the she was a random choice for the first “toss” and the fact that everyone immediately took the pee-throwers side indicates to me that Abby has been on the outs with these folks a while.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          I betting it’s only the beginning of the publicly being a jerk to and about Abby. They probably were crummy to her in more private ways for a while.

    2. JustaTech*

      I have to wonder about Jessie and Danelia choosing Abby (the known germaphobe) as their first “reaction”. Did they do that because they figured if other people went first Abby would figure it out and scram to avoid the pee stick?
      Did they want to get the “biggest reaction” first?

      It’s pretty clear that their idea was that everyone would react as though they had no idea what was going on, which is absurd as after the fourth time you hear “Name!” *thing thrown* “Gasp, Congratulations!” you will know that *something* is coming.

      The whole thing was very poorly thought out and now Jessie is taking out her disappointment by bullying Abby. All of this needs to get shut down by Jessie’s boss like yesterday. (And local HR needs a serious talking-to.)

      1. The Smiling Pug*

        Yeah, I wondered about Jessie and Daniella picking Abby first for this too. My thinking is that if they had picked someone else, Abby would have hid in the bathroom or behind others. I know I would.

      2. Elle*

        The fact they filmed it makes it extra icky. Like sure, maybe it was for a fun pregnancy announcement video, but including someone who can reasonably be expected to have a negative reaction feels like it could be also double as material to harass Abby on social media. Honestly, expecting “cutesy” reactions to this from coworkers seems pretty out of touch.
        Unrelated but has Jessie never heard of a sonogram or a cute onesie? So many possible props that aren’t covered in old pee.

  19. Solitary Daughter*

    Good grief—this is absurd. Priority #1 is getting HR’s help in fixing this. It’s not over.

    1. Ama*

      Yeah, definitely go back to the corporate HR contact, explain exactly what is happening and who is doing it (anyone who is backing up Jessie’s bullying of Abby and exactly who is pressuring you to write an apology letter) and ask if it is possible for someone to speak individually with these people to explain how they are out of line. If your on-site HR is part of the problem (or just refusing to intervene), you should mention that as well — even if your corporate HR contact isn’t their direct boss, presumably she knows the procedure for what to do when the site HR person is wrong.

      This sounds to me like a situation where the squeakiest wheel (Jessie) is getting to define the situation, and someone above your management needs to step in and point out that they are all acting like idiots.

  20. ZSD*

    If I were Abby, it would make me feel much better if the OP (and other co-workers who were secretly on my side) would take me aside and privately reassure me that my reaction had been completely understandable and that Jessie and Daniela were the ones who were out of line. Just knowing that not everyone supported the bullying would help a lot.

    Also, OP, please update us when Jessie starts a forest fire with her gender reveal party.

    1. Broadway Duchess*

      Honestly, saying it privately to me but not to the perpetrators would piss me off more than if OP said nothing. It’s easy to speak in private but choose to remain silent when it counts.

      1. gbca*

        But OP has spoken to the perpetrators, in addition to going over her local HR’s office to Corporate HR. This isn’t a case of her standing by silently.

        1. Broadway Duchess*

          I know, I’m not saying OP didn’t do that.. I’m only referring to the idea introduced by ZSD that’s they’d feel better if people privately spoke to her to give support (in addition to others who are secretly supportive). I’m saying in that scenario, I wouldn’t feel supported.

    2. Yet another person*

      Agree with this 100%, and also let Abby know you’ll follow up to ask corporate office to intervene (and then do that).

      If you get the sense she may be looking to leave over this (I would if this didn’t get shut down pronto!), and you are familiar enough with the quality of her work, let her know she can list you as a reference.

  21. The Starsong Princess*

    Someone needs to have a conversation with Jessie and Daniela about surprise videos. Guess what? People don’t always react as you expect. I think that’s what HR should have focused on. But they’ve bungled this from the beginning – a no-body fluids all hands email was never necessary. Instead, they should have spoken to Jessie and Daniela about their judgement of throwing someone a used pregnancy test and filming a surprise video. Then any subsequent bullying of Abby should not be tolerated and dealt with immediately by any management in earshot, and that includes you.

    1. londonedit*

      100% agree with all of this. Sorry, Jessie, but I’d probably have ‘ruined’ the video as well by saying something along the lines of ‘Aargh! What’s this? Ugh! Is that USED?!’ And I’m not even a germophobe, just someone who would react in a surprise manner if I had a random object hurled at me that turned out to be a used pregnancy test. In what world is that a pleasant thing to do? I get that in Jessie’s head she’d imagined a whole amazing scenario where Abby caught the pregnancy test, a gentle look of confusion crossed her face, and then she burst into tears of joy and jumped up and down and ran over to hug Jessie, but…that was SO unlikely to happen. Abby is completely in the right here, and OP/other management should have told Jessie and Daniela that throwing things at people without warning is never acceptable, pregnancy test or not, and should have shut it down as soon as they started bullying Abby. Jessie is just sulking because her ‘big surprise pregnancy reveal’ didn’t go as planned, and that’s no excuse to take it out on other people.

      1. CupcakeCounter*

        Not to mention that those “surprise reveal” videos are planned and scripted for social media

      1. Elbe*

        Exactly. They’re mad that she didn’t follow the script that they never gave her and she never agreed to.

    2. Anonymous Hippo*

      They do need this conversation. But it is WAY down the list of what they need talked to about.

      1. Loulou*

        I see what you mean, but I also think on balance “don’t film people without their consent” is more likely to come up again than “don’t throw something you’ve peed on at people.” So I do want them to address that part!

        1. Anonymous Hippo*

          I meant the ongoing bullying as the major problem. The pee throwing shows an incredible lack of sense of any kind, but the bullying is the real problem IMO.

      2. Underrated Pear*

        Yes, reading this whole thread, I’ve been thinking to myself that the pee stick is, in the larger scope of things, maybe one of the *smaller* issues overall. Yes, it’s the most acute and has health implications – and it is absolutely bonkers that few people in the company seem to be reacting strongly to it – but it’s probably a one-off incident that could MOSTLY be resolved with discipline and a sincere apology (assuming Abby didn’t come down with some gross bacterial infection from handling Jessie’s pee, ick). But Abby’s continued harassment, the refusal of higher-ups to do anything about it, and the general atmosphere of “I’m going to bully my coworkers for ruining the video I forced them to be in without their knowledge” are indicators of a much more widespread problem.

        Basically, if I were in a workplace and someone threw a urine-soaked pregnancy test at a coworker, it would be a story I told with horror for years to come, like “can you believe this thing my old coworker did?!”. But if I were in a workplace where people were throwing things at me to film my reaction and post it, and sulking if I didn’t participate the way they wanted, AND I were the one HR was coming down on – that’s a workplace I would quit immediately.

  22. Chief Petty Officer Tabby*

    I’m sorry, what? In the words of Bruno Mars, with the cig and the head tilt: “THIS BITCH!” (Meaning Jesse, of course.)

    Lady, nobody wants your personal juices. I don’t care how happy you are about getting pregnant, if you try to shove a used pregnancy test at me, I will have you charged with battery, which it is. I don’t know what you have, disease-wise, so keep that to yourself.

    OP, do NOT write an apology; she got what she deserved! It is definitely gross.

  23. PT*

    For comparison’s sake, you were to throw a used pregnancy test at a police officer, it would be considered assault with bodily fluids and you’d be criminally charged with assaulting a police officer.

    The law is on Abby’s side here, and if the company does not side with her a lawyer certainly will.

    1. AnonLawNerd*

      I came here to say similar: throwing something at someone is assault and/or battery. Jessie’s lucky she’s not getting the book thrown at her…

      1. Ella bee bee*

        I see a lot of comments along the lines of “get the police involved! This is assault!” and my question is, is this actually assault in the legal sense? The LW describes it as they “tossed it to her” and which is definitely different from throwing something at someone; and yes there is pee on the test but I think the spread of pee from this might be comparable to someone using the bathroom and not washing their hands correctly which isn’t illegal (if you aren’t working in food service or something similar.) Tossing the pee stick is super nasty and LW did the right thing by telling them that it is never acceptable to do this, but is this actually something that the police would get involved with? (I’m asking because I actually don’t know)

  24. Lynca*

    As someone who has been pregnant: what Jessie did was gross and forcing co-workers to go through that is also gross.

    Her bullying isn’t low-key and you really shouldn’t give her the benefit of any “she’s excited and didn’t think this through” sympathy. You’ve reported everything to higher up HR. Do they know you’re being “encouraged” to apologize to Jessie? Do they know the extent that Abby is getting bullied for a VERY NORMAL REACTION to having a used pregnancy test thrown at them?

    I’d start building documentation about how dysfunctional this all is for corporate HR in order to help Abby and then evaluating whether this job is worth this level of insanity.

    1. Ginger*


      Focus on the ongoing bullying and being asked, multiple times, to apologize to the instigator.

      Document with dates, quotes and formalize the report.

    2. Kyrielle*

      Yeah, the “she’s excited and didn’t think this through” excuse died when her negative reaction persisted past the immediate moment, instead of being followed up with a heartfelt and horrified apology to Abby for not having thought it through first.

  25. Snow Angel*

    Your managers and HR are horrible. I think handling pregnancy tests among family are weird too (spouses aside) so I certainly wouldn’t want to hold something from another coworker that was urinated on. I’d go back to the corporate HR and explain that this has continued on past their company wide memo to see if they can step in more directly. Otherwise I think this is out of your hands.

    1. Charlotte Lucas*

      I have never seen or handled another person’s pregnancy test. If they tell me they’re pregnant, I don’t require proof.

      And definitely not from a coworker. Keep HR in the loop.

      Oh, & surprise videos suck.

  26. I should really pick a name*

    Now and then you start to think that every question has already been asked, and then something like this comes up…

    I do think that a clear statement against bullying Abby has to be made.
    If you’re up to it, addressing the passive aggressive comments when they happen in the moment might help.

    “Oh, well I guess my baby is GROSS according to SOME PEOPLE.”
    “You’re well aware that that isn’t what she said, so please avoid making comments like that”

    1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

      Now and then you start to think that every question has already been asked, and then something like this comes up…

      Agreed. My gut reaction was stunned silence; someone actually managed to make my workplaces look normal in contrast.

        1. Wordnerd*

          Check out the linked “commenting rules” and then scroll to the bottom. Alison has included some html tricks there, including block quotes.

        2. Purple Cat*

          How can I use HTML in my comments?

          This will make the text bold. Be sure to include the closing tag at the end!

          This will give you italics. Again, don’t forget the closing tag.

          You can underline, or you can cross things out.

          You can quote someone this way.

            1. Purple Cat*


              to start with a slash to end.
              B – Bold
              i – italics
              u – underline
              del – cross things out
              Blockquote – for the quotes

              1. Howard Bannister*

                You can use I think & l t ; and & g t ; all crammed together to simulate the ol’ gt/lt symbols.

                <blockquote> This would be a blockquote if I were using real code. </blockquote>

    2. laowai_gaijin*

      Every one of Alison’s “and now there’s chaos” posts is a study in how you should never think you’ve seen it all.

  27. Lab Boss*

    Is corporate HR “separate” from your satellite HR in the sense that they’re totally unrelated? or just that it’s not a direct hierarchy? Because somebody needs to rein in your satellite HR. Jessie is at fault here, probably not maliciously but at the very minimum she was thoughtless and is not compounding it by letting her own offense/embarrassment drive her to hostility. Trying to force adults to give public apologies and write letters is, frankly, bonkers.

    1. LDN Layabout*

      (If someone asks Jessie about her pregnancy and she knows Abby’s in earshot, she’ll say loudly, “Oh, well I guess my baby is GROSS according to SOME PEOPLE.”)

      No, I think we can say Jessie’s being pretty malicious here.

      1. Lab Boss*

        Sorry, poor wording plus a typo. What I meant to say was:

        Jessie’s initial actions (trying to film a reaction shot to a used pregnancy test) weren’t workplace appropriate but seem more thoughtless than malicious.

        She is NOW compounding that (not “not compounding” like I typed above) her initial thoughtlessness by going full-on hostile as a reaction to being called out.

  28. Over It*

    What a mess. You can be happy for someone’s pregnancy and also not want to touch their pee. The way this is being handled is ridiculous.

    When we had sex ed in high school, my health teacher proudly passed around a pregnancy test that was her granddaughter, so apparently Jessie is not the only one who thinks this doing this is okay.

    1. Ama*

      There’s a pretty common misconception that urine is sterile (I think because of the ammonia content) that could be part of the issue. But it’s completely wrong and has been shown to be wrong scientifically many times over — there’s lots of bacteria even in healthy people’s urine.

      1. Clorinda*

        If it were sterile, we’d clean with it. Does Jessie pee on her kitchen countertops? I don’t think so.

    2. anonymous73*

      Honestly, unless we work closely together or we’re friends, don’t expect excess joy if you tell me you’re expecting. I wouldn’t be rude, and would say “Congratulations”, but I’m going to do cartwheels down the hall and celebrate in your honor. And if you shove a camera in my face, you’ll get nothing but nasty.

      1. Over It*

        That’s totally reasonable—pregnancy is a hard topic for some people, and even for people who it isn’t, not everyone gets excited about babies. I don’t think it’s okay to be nasty to anyone announcing their pregnancy, but anywhere on the spectrum from a polite congrats and changing the subject to cartwheels of joy is fine. And yeah, definitely don’t go around sticking cameras in your coworkers’ faces—for any reason!! Maaaaybe that’s a cute thing to do with family to film their reactions to telling them they’ll be a father/grandparent if you know they’d enjoy having that video to look back on, but not your coworkers!

        1. anonymous73*

          The “being nasty” has nothing to with the type of announcement. As I said if you ambush me with a camera in my face you will get nasty regardless of the why. I don’t want to be recorded EVER unless you ask my permission first (and I will most likely say no).

  29. LDN Layabout*

    I’d be reporting to off-site HR about the on-going behaviour from both management and your on-site HR, especially since it seems they actually took it seriously.

    1. Kate, short for Bob*

      Yes, this. On site HR are clearly not up to the job and corporate needs to step in before the whole thing gets even messier.

      Meantime, every time OP hears someone talking about it she should say “she threw a pee stick at Abby”. Repeat repeat repeat.

  30. Resident Catholicville, USA*

    There is literally nothing useful I can say or recommend here but lord love a duck, people are amazingly stupid sometimes. Just when you think you’ve seen/heard it all…

  31. Magpie*

    Can you contact corporate HR to tell them that Abby is being both bullied *and* threatened with disciplinary action because she didn’t react well to having the bodily fluids thrown at her, and ask them to intervene with on-site HR?

    Might also be worth having a sit-down with on site HR to point out that throwing urine-soaked things at known germophobes is very obviously bullying even before the current treatment, and they are laying themselves wide open to a complaint?

    1. I'm just here for the cats*

      I wouldnt even mention that abby is a germaphobe. NO ONE wants urine-soaked things tossed at them.

      1. Lab Boss*

        Agree, unless she’s phobic to the point of it being documented as a disability requiring accommodations, it’s a red herring. Bringing it up could even be counterproductive by implying that Abby’s somehow abnormal and that’s what made it a problem, rather than just the whole urine-throwing part.

    2. Irish girl*

      This is a lawsuit waiting to happen. The bullying and harassments on top of the warning about her complaints and Corp HR vs office HR is a mess. There needs to be documentation shown to Corp HR as to what is happening. Corp HR needs to deal with it an prepare for the retaliation that might ensue as clearly the people in the office are not going to be happy they are being told it is out of line.

  32. Not Tom, Just Petty*

    Dear Coworkers,
    I am not an unpaid extra in the movie of your life. Do not involve me in your shenanigans without my consent. Do not record me, all. And finally and most importantly, do not hand me pee and tell me that it’s rain.

    1. BA*

      You’ve hit on something broader here, too… Depending on the state, workplace rules and platform on which the video was to be shared (a lot of qualifiers, I know) it may not be legal to film something like this. Did Abby or anyone else consent to being filmed?

      While that may not be the largest of issues here, it is something your corporate leadership should consider going forward. If people are being shown in videos, I don’t know that just showing up to work on a day that something is being filmed is enough consent for their likeness to be used.

      If Jesse shares the video on her social platforms and not through a “covered through your employment contract” permission form, Abby may have a legal complaint there too.

      1. BA*

        It might be worth reminding Jesse expressly (amongst other things) that sharing this on social probably violates several privacy levels.

      2. JustaTech*

        The OP says that their corporate office encourages this office to make videos to “meet the staff” and it sounds like those videos are shared with clients, so this might be an even bigger issue that just Jessie’ announcement video.

  33. awesome3*

    Your reaction was great! A congratulations and a reminder to not make your coworkers touch your urine. I’ve had clients put used pregnancy tests on my desk at work before (it’s semi-related to my job), and I gently remind them that pregnancy tests say on the box when they stop sharing the correct results, and that used ones should go straight in the trash once that time limit has passed.

    The fact that your great response in the moment was met with resentment makes me wonder if people in your office tend to act reasonably in other circumstances, or if this is not an outlier.

  34. Juniper*

    Honestly, there’s no reason to even bring COVID into this. Bringing a pregnancy test to work (and throwing it at someone!) is gross in and of itself, and opening up that can of worms has the potential to derail those incredibly legitimate concerns.

    Where are the line managers in all this??

    1. velomont*

      And there’s a flip side to this. I’m a 62 yr old married guy and my wife and I don’t have kids (completely our decision from the outset) so, having said that, if someone tossed me a pregnancy test I’m not even sure that I would know what it was since my knowledge of these things is limited to brief views on TV ads.

      So in addition to someone tossing a urine stick to co-workers, some co-workers might not even know and inadvertently be exposed to the urine and/or implicated in passing around the stick.

      1. Gingerbread Gnome*

        I wonder if the managers and office HR even know that pregnancy tests require the taker to pee on them or be dipped in urine. It might explain why they don’t think it is a serious offense (they are completely in the wrong, but it may be out of ignorance).

      2. Lady_Lessa*

        I’m a single woman and would be equally confused. And with the comments about some of them looking like home Covid tests, I would probably think the same. (My home test was the two stripe type on a narrow plastic holder)

      3. borealis*

        That was what I was thinking as well: I’m a middle-aged woman, I have never wanted children (being an aunt rocks, though!) and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t recognise a pregnancy test. I knew it’s something you pee on, but that’s about it. And since throwing a pregnancy test is such a bizarre thing to do in a workplace, or in any other place where there are actual human people, I’m VERY sure I wouldn’t have guessed what it was.

        Kudos to the LW for stepping up and handling the situation in the moment! I think many people (I for one!) would have been too flummoxed to react constructively.

  35. RuthAnn*

    WTF. I would write a truthful but glowing letter of recommendation to Abby, provide her with accurate contact information and carte blanche offer to serve as reference for some period of time that makes sense (3 years?), and update my own job search materials this weekend. Your coworkers are acting badly and senior leadership team is letting themselves be influenced by the loudest of the bunch instead of acting with deliberation. Their leadership is inadequate and you both deserve better.

  36. More Coffee, Please*

    Call corporate HR again and ask relay what’s happening to Abby. They should be concerned that she will quit and file a lawsuit for unsafe working conditions (bodily fluids) and workplace harassment (subsequent bullying). Additionally, LW should let them know she’s being subjected to some harassment due to her defense of Abby.

  37. Not Tom, Just Petty*

    Oh, and OP. Toss the male execs a pee stick and tell them their reaction is just petty female BS and they owe you an apology.

    1. MeleMallory*

      Um. I am currently pregnant. My uterus definitely does not think it’s the center of the universe. I don’t think it’s the center of the universe. I announced my pregnancy by 1) telling people and 2) showing my ultrasound picture. I didn’t even throw the used pee stick at my husband. Being pregnant makes you hormonal, it doesn’t make you an asshole. Jessie is an asshole, but not because she’s pregnant.

      Get over yourself and your issues.

  38. Cheap Ass Rolls*

    I am not a germaphobe by any stretch of the imagination, I’ve peed on my share of pregnancy tests, and I would be incredibly grossed out if someone threw me their pregnancy test.

    It’s also just a huge amount of oversharing that I (someone who has very close and friendly relationships with my coworkers) would find uncomfortable. You are pregnant – I don’t need to see the medical evidence of that. But I also think showing off sonograms is weird, especially at the beginning, when you’re literally just staring at a picture of the person’s uterus. That’s your uterus, I don’t need to see it up close.

    1. Charlotte Lucas*

      I agree about sonograms! They all look like to me like what John Hurt’s insides would have looked like in Alien right before…

      There’s a reason I didn’t go into a medical tech field.

      1. Shira Von Doom*

        Reading them is clearly a skill, because any time I’ve seen one, I’m like…congratulations, it’s a projection from my unconscious mind, according to Freud

        1. Cheap Ass Rolls*

          I’ve been pregnant before and have lots of sonogram pictures of my baby, and up until about 32 weeks I also never saw anything, ever. Just…hey, it’s a blur.

    2. quill*

      Overall, I would rather not see the inside of anyone’s body. No matter what medium the photo was taken in.

  39. CatCat*

    So, who actually is in charge over Abby and Jessie? I am not clear if that person is on-site. I would clue them in though. “Jessie [and whoever else] are bullying Abby. It should be put to a stop because it’s unfair and having a serious impact on office morale.”

    Frankly, if I were you, as an exec, I’d be tempted to tell Jessie to cut the crap myself even if she doesn’t report to you. There are execs in my org that are technically not in my chain of command, but if one of them told me to stop what I was doing, I would listen. They have a lot of status and sway.

    1. CatCat*

      I also think you have some good leeway here to take matters into your own hands if necessary since corporate HR seems to have your back and you were told expressly you should “have acted like a better manager.” Run with it.

      1. Polly Hedron*

        Was it corporate HR or on-site HR who told OP she should have “acted like a better manager”?

  40. Ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

    I thought the whole gender reveal and push presents were bad enough.

    A *reaction video* to a work announcement and tossing a PEED on pregnancy test?! The mind boggles. Just… NO.

    I’m not a germaphobe and I still wouldn’t want to touch someone else’s “even if it was washed” stick.

    What they’re really mad about is that their idea for an amazing video with tons of likes completely backfired. The online world is filled with failed copycat videos.

    Poor Abby.

    1. LolaBugg*

      Honestly, even if it wasn’t a Peed on pregnancy test, I would react badly to anything being thrown in my direction because I startled easily. I don’t understand what the coworkers thought they were going to get out of Abby and how they can be angry it didn’t go the way they wanted it to. She was supposed to catch the pregnancy test, read it, and have a strong positive reaction on camera for them without knowing anything in advance?? Crazy to me

    2. LemonLyman*

      I agree that gender reveal is cringe but I hadn’t heard that push presents were out (not that they were ever “in”). Do you know the reason for that? Serious question. Just curious.

  41. Aarti*

    God how disgusting. AND you want to video me for a reaction, without my consent? I mean I think Jesse should be fired if she doesn’t apologize, for both things. Lord may I never have to work in an office where they think filming me for social media without my say so is ok at any level.
    Why oh why does everything have to be on social media anyway? Why can’t you just be happy on your own? I too would have shouted gross and dropped it. I don’t even particularly like to look at ultrasounds, in what other circumstances could you show me the INSIDE of your UTERUS without consent? Yet it’s perfectly ok to shove ultrasounds in people’s faces!

    1. Suzy Q*

      Right? Ultrasound photos are weird, and I am NEVER going to want to see one, even if I’m related to you!

        1. Suzy Q*

          Ha! I have never been excited to see a coworker’s baby. I just…don’t care about other people’s reproductive results.

          1. Aarti*

            No, but I get they are excited, and now it is an actual person, so sure, show it to me. I won’t interact with it for long – there is a reason I am childfree – but it is much more engaging than a picture of your uterus. A picture of the pee stick is unneccessary too. Can you not just use your talky bits and tell me you are pregnant?!

  42. Caramel & Cheddar*

    “we’re a small satellite office so corporate encourages us to do a lot of “meet the staff” and “it’s Tiffany’s Birthday” type sharing posts to attract clients”

    Does this actually work? I don’t personally care to put my image out there on the internet so I realize I’m coming at this with a certain bias, but this is pretty much at the bottom of the list of things I’d care to see from a company on social media. If you did a pee stick video, I’d probably mute or block your company on social media.

    1. cubone*

      Honestly, it depends how you define “work”. A lot of companies are stunningly bad and poorly skilled at social media, so their only metric of success is “did more people watch this video than the last one = success”. Or “have we grown in followers = success”. Also, social media is kind of a numbers game. To be seen, you have to consistently be putting out new content that’s being seen and shared, and so on and so forth. I’m guessing they just don’t have the resources, capacity, or creativity to come up with a social content strategy that focuses more on their product/service, so “showcase the people who deliver the product/service” and “look how much fun we are” IS the strategy.

      Perhaps they have refined metrics and are really examining their prospect pipeline and able to determine that they’re getting views/followers which are directly translating into clients. But even then, it doesn’t necessarily mean their clients saw these posts and thought “wow, company X sure has some fun employees and workplace shenanigans! I think I’ll do business with them”. It’s probably as simple as their prospective clients just … saw their posts, didn’t think much of the content necessarily, but remembered the name. Hard to know w/o more clarity on what they do.

      1. Caramel & Cheddar*

        “Honestly, it depends how you define “work”.”
        I mean this purely in the sense of “do you now have new clients you can bill as a direct result of Tiffany’s birthday video”. I’d be willing to be the answer is zero new clients getting converted that way, but agree that there are lots of variables at play here. Not the main point of the letter, of course, so I suppose it doesn’t really matter.

        1. quill*

          I mean, if there weren’t details about this workplace having an actual product to sell, my brain would be tempted to make the leap to “buzzfeed-esque social media company,”

        2. Littorally*

          I mean, ‘as a direct result’ is a pretty foggy standard. Do you mean only people who saw Tiffany’s birthday video and consciously went “ah yes this is a company I now want to patronize” because if that’s your standard, most advertising doesn’t do that.

      2. Resident Catholicville, USA*

        Also, “work” can go both ways- there is a very large company in my area that promotes itself as a fun, exciting work environment and does a lot of promo videos giving demonstrations of that. I watch one video and went, “That’s not an environment that I would enjoy; I will definitely not apply there ever, even though I have tons of experience in their field.”

    2. OlympiasEpiriot*

      I don’t know what kind of a business this is, but, aside from basic “here’s a picture , name, office and contact information and (maybe) a link to their area of expertise”, I ABSOLUTELY DO NOT WANT OR NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR BIRTHDAY, YOUR HOBBIES, OR YOUR FAMILY WHEN I AM LOOKING TO DO BUSINESS WITH THE FIRM.


      If I want to dig deeper, I’ll look on LinkedIn.

      If I were an employee, I’d be worried about privacy.

    3. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      EXACTLY my question!

      Leaving aside the “throw something I peed on at a germaphobe”, is a positive pregnancy test really something that you’re putting out on the corporate web site and social media? What happens to the next person who gets pregnant but DOESN”T want to make the announcement part of corporate marketing? Are they going to get shamed into doing a stunt?

      1) Everybody apologize to Abby.
      2) Somebody speaks to Jesse and Daniela and tell them that this wasn’t a great idea. To be precise:
      2a) this is overboard, and the company doesn’t want to encourage this kind of sharing. Save it for the birth announcement.
      2b) bringing a used pee stick to the office is bad judgement.
      2c) throwing a pee stick at people out of the blue is terrible judgement.
      3) OP needs a level-setting meeting w/ higher management about general protocols. If OP is effectively the field office supervisor or acting supervisor, then higher mgmt needs to not publicly undercut decisions that OP has to make in the heat of the moment. This is a management principle that good organizations adhere to.

    4. e271828*

      It sounds like this marketing office either does not have a manager specifically tasked with creating and making social media posts with explicit goals or does not have a competent manager doing same. Random employees shouldn’t be representing the firm on social media with whatever they want. This would not be an appropriate social media post for any business. It’s about Jessie’s personal life, not official news.

      OP mentions a history of “oversharing” and other problems in the office. I get the impression that the manager maybe thinks work should be fun, with everybody being friends, like the beer run manager. Management has long been allowing a lot of unprofessional behavior, and OP’s attempt to ring an alarm bell up the line of command about serious problems on-site wasn’t taken seriously enough. A nonspecific email with no consequences for people filming a personal TikTok and throwing used pregnancy tests at coworkers is not an all-hands email situation, it’s a PIP situation!

      OP and Abby should start looking for sane places to work and let this place go down in flames without them.

  43. Just another opinion*

    Holy. Flipping. What?! WTF! Abby deserves a huge apology. (And if I were Abby, I would totally respond to Jessie’s passive-aggressive comments by saying, “Yes, I DO think your pee-soaked pregnancy test was gross when you threw it at me. Disgusting, in fact!” Jessie and Daniela need to apologize and stop their BS, or be let go for bullying. I would absolutely die on this hill.

    As a side note, I’ve read occasionally about people doing this to their partners to inform them of the “good news” even going so far as to hide the test in a plate of food… and if I were the partner in that case, I would probably separate from them over it. Yuck, yuck, yuck.

    I don’t know anyone who would do what Jessie did, so I’m finding it very troubling that people like that exist in this world.

    1. RagingADHD*

      I’ve seen that one. Poor guy was about to tuck into a nice plate of waffles and found a pee stick in it. His reaction was totally appropriate, and the new mom was a complete buffoon for acting like he “wasn’t excited enough.”

      A pee stick is not a baby. Nobody in their right mind is going to be happy to get a surprise pee stick.

  44. Nia*

    Not the point but I’m kinda confused at the idea of the video. I don’t understand what reactions she was expecting. I’ve never seen anyone in an office have a film worthy reaction to a pregnancy announcement. They say congratulations, maybe ask a few questions, and then go about their day. I suspect she was going to end up mad at her coworkers pver not being excited enough even if Abby hadn’t been justifiably upset about the body fluids.

    1. Rusty Shackelford*

      Obviously Abby was supposed to squeal in excitement and should OH MY GAWD YOU’RE PREGGERS and do a Tik Tok worthy dance.

      1. Nia*

        I get that something this over the top must have been what she expected but I don’t understand it. I cannot envision the life someone has led that would lead to them expecting this kind of reaction from coworkers(or anyone really). It is just totally alien to me.

      2. Anne of Green Gables*

        I did have a coworker react this way (when I said at a staff meeting that I was pregnant, no urine involved) and it was delightful and clearly genuine. It was also very much a part of this person’s personality. No one else reacted this way, nor have I ever “squealed and done a tik tok worthy dance” for someone else, despite being genuinely happy. The reality is, most people are not going to have outrageous filmable reactions. The presumed expectations for the video baffle me. Though so does this whole thing, so (shrug)

      3. Littorally*

        Some people really, really do not comprehend that the influencer shit they see online is all carefully scripted and curated.

    2. RagingADHD*

      Right? Even without the nasty pee stick business, was she expecting her coworkers to jump up and down or cry? How dysfunctional is your workplace when an employee expects their coworkers to act like the baby’s other parent or grandparents might do?

      I mean, big smile, “yay, congratulations,” or “awww, that’s great,” maybe a hug, is about as much as I’ve ever seen at work. Do they normally get hysterical over each other’s personal business? Weird.

    3. londonedit*

      Yeah, definitely. First of all, everywhere I’ve worked your first port of call would be HR, because there are health and safety considerations and you need to discuss maternity leave etc, but then you’d generally just tell your boss first in a private conversation and then perhaps ‘announce’ it to your closer co-workers in general conversation. Most people I’ve worked with have just said ‘Hey, everyone – small announcement, I’m going to have a baby’ or whatever. People will say congratulations, maybe ask when it’s due, etc, but I’ve never seen a big deal being made out of it at work.

      1. TechWriter*

        Not to mention if you’re at the “fresh pregnancy test” stage it’s…. REALLY REALLY REALLY early to be announcing it at work? Or to anyone other than your co-conceiver?

        An acquaintance I had on FB once shared her positive test with the entire world… only to have to share again like two weeks later that she’d sadly miscarried. You do not want to put yourself in this scenario.

    4. Hiring Mgr*

      The LW makes it sound like they were going to share it on social as they have done with birthday announcements etc.”to attract clients”. , which is unfathomable..

    5. Missy*

      I think people don’t realize how fake a lot of social media is. Jessie might have been watching “surprise pregnant announcement” videos and seen people laughing or crying in joy, or whatever, and didn’t realize that a lot of that stuff is pre-scripted or shot multiple times. My step-sister was a mildly successful instagram “Mommy blogger” and for a while it totally warped her ideas of normal since all the people she followed and her social media algorithm was nothing but these other mothers who all were perfectly styled and always were doing fun and interesting projects with their kids, who were never tired or cranky.

      1. JustaTech*

        It sounds like a friend of mine who was sent a box by her brother’s fiancé that my friend was supposed to wait to open while she was on Facetime with the fiancé.
        The idea was that she would open the box and a balloon would float out asking her to be a bridesmaid and she would clap her hands in delight and cry and say yes.
        Thankfully she opened it in advance and so was able to give the happy and pleased response rather than her initial honest response which was “ahh! balloon! What the heck? Really?”

        You just can’t expect that everyone has read the same Pinterest/Instagram script as you have.

    6. Dust Bunny*


      If this were a group of her besties who were all trying to have kids at the same time and were all into babies and potential babies, yeah, not my scene but we all have our friend dynamics so OK.

      But at work? Big ol’ no. I don’t know if this was naive or massively egotistical or what but Jessie missed it by a mile.

    7. anonymous73*

      Jessie sounds like the type of person who’s entitled, thinks the world revolves around her, and expects everyone that she shares air with to be as excited about her life events as she is.

    8. Broadway Duchess*

      There are some people who give (what I think are) over the top reactions and it’s fine, it’s part of their personalities. Some people, tho…

      I used to work in employee health and the group was “like a family,” and that should’ve been my first clue about the dysfunction. Anyway, I’d been having dull abdominal pain and one of the NPs (who was just waaaay too familiar and nosey) kept asking if I was pregnant, even outside of this abdominal thing. Finally, she said I should take a test because it could be an ectopic pregnancy (just assuming that I’m pregnant) . So, I go home and take the test and it’s positive. My OB was able to fit me in that evening and everything’s fine, not ectopic. I texted the NP that all was well and that I’d be in the next day.

      The next morning, she corners me and demands to know if I’m pregnant and, as I’m a terrible liar, she didn’t believe my non-denial denials. My colleagues had started to trickle in and at the morning meeting, the NP says, “There’s another person here that we can’t see” and smiles at me. Everyone figures out that I’m pregnant and it was chaos. I was soooo uncomfortable and the NP couldn’t figure out why I had such a problem. She way just baby crazy, but that really colored how I saw her for the rest of my time there.

  45. MPerera*

    I work in a hospital laboratory where we routinely deal with patients’ bodily fluids, and we take all precautions with those. I can’t imagine someone throwing a used pregnancy test at me, especially in a situation where I *wasn’t* wearing PPE!

    1. Rusty Shackelford*

      Right? If she’d taken this test at the doctor’s office, everyone who handled it would be wearing gloves.

    2. Damn it, Hardison!*

      Right?! I once had to deposit a couple of samples at my medical lab. They were in plastic containers, inside plastic bags, and inside a paper bag. The medical professional put on gloves before accepting it from me. Throwing a used pregnancy test at an unsuspecting coworker is bizarre and so inappropriate that it redefines the term inappropriate.

      1. Texan In Exile*

        I had to deliver fecal samples to the lab as part of my Peace Corps outplacement. The instructions were to put a sample the size of half a lentil in each of three small vials.

        I did so, then, as you did, wrapped the vials in plastic and then put them in a paper bag.

        When I got to the lab, I slid the bag apologetically across the counter.

        As I was doing so, the man next to me pulled his three vials out of his pocket. Just the vials. And he had interpreted “half a lentil” to mean “fill the vial completely.”

        1. PT*

          I had to bring a fecal sample to my cat’s veterinarian and drop it off with the receptionist. I wrote my cat’s name, my name, and my phone number on a ziploc bag for identification, put the fecal sample in the ziploc bag, and then put the ziploc bag in a small shopping bag to hand to the receptionist.

          When I handed it to the receptionist she flinched. I said, “Oh don’t worry, it’s in a zipper bag inside that bag!”

          She said, “Oh good! You would not believe the number of people who just hand me poop.”

          1. Rockette J Squirrel*

            Our veterinarian requested a fecal sample from our dog, and the tech relayed it via phone, saying the sample should be about the size of a Hershey’s Kiss. With disposable gloves on, I carefully placed the required-size sample into the corner of a plastic baggie, inside another baggie. Twisted the baggie corner and taped it shut. Placed it onto a square of foil, on top of a strip of paper I’d printed out, which said: Squirrel Ortney’s Kiss 7/25/17 @ 7:55 am (repeated). Carefully closed the foil and gently twisted it closed, with paper hanging out the top. Put it in yet another baggie, then in a paper sack. Handed it over, and went to visit the clinic Guinea Pigs, waiting. The tech came out with it, showing it to all present, snort-laughing the whole time.

    3. ParrotMom*

      I work in a hospital laboratory, too, in microbiology. My first thought: Urine pregnancy dipsticks aren’t collected with clean catch – the best ones are first morning routine void. Which means that it’s loaded with bacteria, too.

  46. Erin*

    Just here to validate that you are not crazy. Abby deserves an apology, and Jessie needs to be told to stop bullying Abby. So childish. No one said your baby is gross; throwing an object that you peed on at another person is objectively gross.

    I swear, things that should go without saying…This is why we have Ask A Manager.

  47. Jam Today*

    Throw the male execs a used menstrual pad that’s been carefully rewrapped in toilet paper and put back in the little plastic self-stick baggie it came in and tell them its nbd because they’re not actually touching menstrual fluid.

    1. PT*

      It doesn’t even have to be used. It just has to be unwrapped and re-wrapped. It’ll look used and make the same point.

  48. NW Mossy*

    As the kids would say, this is cringe.

    Allowing for this particular organization’s affection for celebrating employees’ personal milestones, there are so very many ways to capture that enthusiasm that do not involve pee. Fortune cookies with “Jessie’s pregnant!” slips inside, perhaps?

    Lean on your ally in corporate HR – let them know that it’s still not addressed and resulting in negative impact to an employee who didn’t in any way agree to be part of this terrible TikTok.

  49. Emeemay*


    Abby deserves an apology and a couple days off, and the pregnant lady needs to sit down and consider how she’d react if someone threw her something that had been soaked in another persons pee.

    Also everyone bullying Abby deserves a formal write up. What the FORK.

  50. Anon attorney*

    Really, the pee thing is by the by in a way. The issue is that Jessie is involving the office in a drama about her hurt feelings. What you said to Jessie and Daniela in the moment was perfectly reasonable. I suspect that the male management are rolling their eyes at “the girls” and that’s what is making you second guess yourself.

    Jessie’s manager needs to be told by HR or you or someone else in authority to tell Jessie to cut it out immediately. If you hear any further remarks you should shut them down in the moment and let the person’s manager know. And in your place, I would make it quite clear that I was not going to apologize to Jessie nor ask anyone else to do so.

    I think this might be a corporate HR flies in for the day and knocks heads together scenario. Could you make that happen?

    1. Haha Lala*

      Such a good point. I wonder if the male managers would have reacted differently if the first target was a man, instead of Abby. If a man had been forced to touch Jessie’s pee stick, management would take it seriously and then I guarantee she’d at least be getting a stern talking to, if not disciplinary actions… ugh.

  51. Jennifer Ward*

    Besides the fact that this is super gross, she THREW something at an UNSUSPECTING coworker. How tacky and weird.

    Talk to HR again. Make sure they do their job. Threaten to CALL THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT if they don’t.
    Have a private conversation with Abby and make sure she understands she has an ally.
    Sorry for all the CAPS.

  52. StressedButOkay*

    Oh. My. GOD.

    1) Abby had something that was PEED on thrown at her. Even someone who wasn’t a germaphobe would have a natural “EW” reaction. She doesn’t think Jessie’s baby is gross (eyeroll), she thinks something covered in pee is.

    2) What about people who have had infertility issues?? It’s one thing to talk about your upcoming pregnancy but to YEET your PEE STICK in someone’s face…

    Abby has some real issues to take to a lawyer if the bullying doesn’t stop. HR needs to step up right now and nip this in the bud.

  53. Happily resigned*

    Two thoughts…if Abby had a documented condition with fear of germs, the stunt could be deemed harassment based on her disability. And this is right up there with the guy who pees in the jar and dumps it into the office sink with the dishes. Disgusting doesn’t even describe it. The men in the office who want apologies probably pee directly into the sinks and don’t wash their hands.

    1. CreepyPaper*

      If I’d had that thrown at me, Jessie would have got a lecture about people with compromised immune systems and how you can’t tell who has one and it’s Not Okay to throw your germ-ridden stuff at people because you don’t KNOW if you could make them sick by doing that. Phobias are sicknesses too, is my poorly articulated point here, but honestly!

      Abby needs an apology and Jessie needs to be dragged to the top of the top HR and very sternly dealt with.

  54. RagingADHD*

    Jessie has contracted a terrible case of Main Character Syndrome, and apparently the office’s emphasis on social media has erased her ability to distinguish between real life and staged online performances. Which puts her level of maturity somewhat lower than the average middle-school child. Most 7th graders I know are already aware that tik tok pranks are unlikely to play out the same way in real life.

    And the passive aggressive comments? No, Jessie. Your baby isn’t gross. YOU are gross.

    I can’t believe that only one person in the hierarchy understood why throwing a pee stick at someone is disgusting and unacceptable. I hope you give Abby a great reference while she looks for a new job. Please also document all the bullying and make sure Corporate knows what assess your onsite management are.

    1. sofar*

      Yep and I can kinda see why Jessie is upset. Her office environment encourages stuff like this, she thought she was doing something SUPER creative, and her coworker reacted viscerally in a way that she didn’t expect. And now Jessie is trying to make herself feel better about her questionable judgement by vilifying Abby. And leadership is helping her do that.

      What a mess. This needs a huge detangling, including LEADERSHIP acknowledging that Abby did nothing wrong and that it was complicit in fostering an environment that encouraged what Jessie did. And apologize for it. But that will likely never happen.

      1. AnotherLibrarian*

        Yeah, there’s a lot of interesting defensiveness cropping up here as bullying I suspect, but that doesn’t make it okay. I can easily see how the drama of all this would completely get out of hand.

    2. Ama*

      Given the response here, Jessie should be glad Abby’s reaction made sure this video was never posted — I do not think this would have gotten her the kind of positive attention on social media she obviously thought it would.

      1. RagingADHD*

        If someone wants to refer to their own unborn child as their baby, that’s their prerogative.

        Someone’s reaction to a used medical test is not the same as their reaction to a pregnancy or to a baby.

  55. Ginge*

    Wouldn’t it have been a better idea for Jessie to take a photo of her pregnancy test instead and placed that on desks? Cleaner, safer and without Drama and upset co workers for a start.
    I don’t get why HR are demanding apology letters from anyone, with the exception of Jessie to Abby. Are they just wanting to be seen doing the right thing by a pregnant employee. Anything bodily fuid wise is a massive No, no and HR should be investigating this, not penalising the recipients.

    1. EvilQueenRegina*

      Cleaner and safer, yes, but even that could still have potential for drama and upset coworkers – I can see the latter happening if she put such a photo on the desk of someone who had fertility issues.

    2. Nea*

      I will bet cash money that the version that local HR believes is Jesse’s narrative: “I told her I was pregnant and she told me it was gross” and not “I threw a pee stick at Abby.”

      1. Humble Schoolmarm*

        As I have said to more than a few seventh graders ‘That’s not why you’re in trouble. It’s the five steps in between that are the problem.”

        Life lesson to the Jessie’s: If your actions remind a middle school teacher of a disciplinary conversation, you need to re-evaluate your life choices.

  56. Purple Cat*

    I have no words.
    I feel so horribly for Abby. Nobody should be subjected to this. Bodily fluids and germaphobe aside what if she was struggling with infertility and had to deal with this type of “announcement”?
    Everybody needs to apologize to Abby and anybody who’s saying otherwise needs a formal reprimand.

  57. Sharpiee*

    People never cease to amaze me. A baby isn’t “gross”, a stick covered in pee is gross. Unless you’re handing it to the soon-to-be coparent, it has no business being forced into anyone else’s hands. I’m hoping she doesn’t fling a dirty diaper to announce the birth of the baby.

    1. Shira Von Doom*

      yep. even the most obnoxiously baby mad office I ever worked at, while the half day parties commencing after announcement bugged me and ate up time I wanted to be working…at least the announcements themselves involved no body fluids or other over-sharing re visual aid, LOL

      I’m perfectly capable of being politely happy for someone about their impending parenthood if you don’t put your pee on me.

    2. MeleMallory*

      I didn’t even make my husband touch the pee stick. I didn’t even want to touch it after I peed on it, and it was my own pee. I can kind of understand sharing it with the coparent, but there are still better ways to do it. (First pregnancy, I held it up so he could see it; the second one I left it on the bathroom counter (on top of toilet paper) because he was still asleep and I had to go to work.) When I shared it with my coworkers, I showed them my ultrasound photo. I wouldn’t have even thought to record it and share it on social media.

      A recent Tik Tok sticks in my mind, where the gal put her pee stick under her partner’s waffles and then was shocked when he wasn’t super excited. Like, you just contaminated his waffles with your pee and you think he’d be excited? I don’t understand it.

    3. RagingADHD*

      I don’t know why you’d even show the stick to your partner, since the result window changes after a fairly short time anyway. They all look positive after about 5 minutes, so what is the point?

      It’s not a souvenir. Or a trophy.

      1. Dahlia*

        Some people take pregnany tests with their partner less than five minutes away. In the same house, sometimes, even.

      2. Ismonie*

        They don’t, actually. Sometimes you can get a really faint line after it dries, but not a real blazing positive.

      3. Emi*

        If you’re testing early it’s nice to get a second opinion so I always just test when my husband and I are both home. At least with the pink dye tests, idk about the others.

  58. Suzy Q*

    Ughhhhhhh. I am totally on Abby’s side here. Throwing a pee stick at someone? NOPE. Also? Not everyone will be delighted with your pregnancy news at work, for various reasons, so don’t assume a supportive reaction from anyone.

  59. Elenna*

    I’m probably the opposite of germaphobic (the other day I ate a jelly bean that had been on the floor for several days and had then been touched by my (clean, bare) foot) and even I’m having a mildly disturbed reaction at the thought of touching a stick that someone else had peed on. Especially if I didn’t expect it. So, yeah, 100% supporting Abby here.

  60. a clockwork lemon*

    I get that there’s a gross-out component to someone having peed on the stick, but like…I am NOT a germophobe, don’t generally care about bodily fluids, and would probably react the exact same way, but with many more expletives, if someone came into my workplace and handed me their pregnancy test. That’s absolutely bonkers, way beyond manners and etiquette.

    You should follow up with corporate HR and keep them very in the loop about what’s happening and how Abby continues to be treated.

  61. cwhf*

    “But here’s the part everyone’s mad at. I told them it’s never okay to hand someone something they urinated on, regardless of if they wiped it down and put the cap back on it. I said we’re excited for Jessie but that wasn’t okay and to throw the test out or take it home.”

    LW I absolutely cannot fathom why any of this statement would be at all controversial or up for debate. Poor Abby is the wronged party here and Jessie needs to be put in check because she is acting ridiculously and bullying (and engaging the rest of the team as I understand it) into bullying Abby after she had a completely normal and appropriate reaction to a disgusting action on Jessie’s part. HR needs to shut Jessie down. If they won’t or apologies are continued to be encouraged, I’d find a new workplace because these folks are completely bonkers and illogical.

  62. RoboBob*

    Wow, I think your entire office wins the Passive Aggressive People of the Year Award. Not only is Jessie pulling the classic intentionally-misunderstanding-what-you-actually-said thing (i.e., she called my baby “gross,” not a peed-on test stick) but apology letters? Whatever happened to getting everyone in the same room and actually TALKING to each other?

    I don’t know if you will get Jessie and Daniela to admit they exercised poor judgment here, but I think it would be beneficial for all of the affected parties to sit down in the same room and go around and share “I feel” statements. Abby can share how being forced to handle someone’s dirty pee stick made her feel. Jessie can share how Abby’s reaction to what she thought was sharing exciting personal news was. OP can share how having to manage a bunch of people screaming at each other over something that’s frankly really juvenile made her feel.

    And the HR people at your branch should at least sit in and try to learn how to handle this kind of situation. I don’t think they should be allowed to share their thoughts at all.

    1. Suzy Q*

      I completely disagree with this getting everybody to sit down and talk about their feelings bullshit. That would put Abby in the hot seat again, completely unnecessarily. I would not agree to such a thing if I were Abby. This is a workplace, not a counseling center.

      1. pancakes*

        I totally agree, Suzy. If Jessie and Daniela want to apologize, fine, but they’ll still be immature jerks with terrible judgment, and no one needs to hear how or why they justified behaving this way to themselves. If either of them feels a need to talk about how upset they are about this being poorly received, they can go get counseling.

      2. Dust Bunny*

        Yeah, Abby has been through enough. Jessie, especially, and Daniela need a talking-to and that’s it.

      3. AnotherLibrarian*

        Wow, no. This is not a case of all people having valid feelings. Someone had bodily fluids thrown at them and is now being bullied for their totally sane and normal reaction to having bodily fluids thrown at them. Jessie and Daniela showed shockingly poor judgement, should apologize, and cut it out. That’s all.

    2. I edit everything*

      Nooooo. That sounds like torture for all.

      Someone, preferably HR, needs to speak explicitly to Jessie and Daniela about their inappropriate behavior and ongoing bullying and make no bones about how they must behave going forward. I have a strong suspicion they targeted Abby intentionally. Abby gets all the apologies–she’s the only one who was truly hurt here.

    3. Texan In Exile*

      “being forced to handle someone’s dirty pee stick” is not a “both sides have a point” argument.

    4. anonymouse*

      This is beyond passive-aggressive. They are being straight-up aggressive towards Abby- threatening to discipline her if she doesn’t apologize and bullying are pretty straightforward acts of aggression.
      I don’t think the “I feel” thing would work. That type of thing might work in a second-grade classroom, but in this situation, it’s adults who have proven to be stubborn and self-righteous in their treatment of Abby. It’s clear how the three main people in this situation feel- Jessie is horribly offended by Abby’s (well warranted) reaction, Abby is upset that a pee stick was thrown at her on camera in front of her colleagues, and LW is upset that this happened in the first place, that the office is bullying & ganging up on Abby, and that HR & management in their office is being worse than useless. I also think that if HR were to facilitate this discussion, there is an implication that “no one is right or wrong”. The reality is that this is a conflict with two sides and one of them is right and one of them is wrong.

    5. Nanani*

      Letting bullies steal the show by asking them their feelings is like inviting your abusive ex to couple’s therapy. A bad idea.

    6. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

      But both sides KNOW how the other feels, that’s part of the problem. The bully knows they’ve offended the victim and the victim knows the bully thinks they’re an evil child hating creep.

      If someone is harassing me at work it’s never solved by having them sit down and relate to me exactly why they feel the need to be an arse. It’s solved by someone in authority telling the bully that, whatever their feelings, they have to stop this right now or dire consequences will ensue.

    7. RoboBob*

      Wow, if you could all slow down on the gang-beating of my comment for a moment, I never suggested Jessie’s behavior was a valid or reasonable way to act. Of COURSE Jessie and Daniela are being bullies and are in the wrong. But obviously no one is actually talking TO each other, instead there’s constant backstabbing and blame-throwing and that affects the entire office, not just Jessie, Abby, and LW. HR is apparently incapable/unwilling to step in and do anything but turning Jessie and Daniela into personae-non-grata doesn’t help either. They still have to be able to work in the office too.

      I find it a bit hypocritical that so many folks here call this “talk about their feeling bullshit” when Alison often advises direct communication about conflict. Yes getting a pee stick thrown at you is gross and completely inappropriate but, visceral emotional reactions aside, this is about resolving interpersonal conflict and addressing poor decision making, not permanently socially ostracizing someone.

      1. cmcinnyc*

        Someone at my job bungled a firing and people flipped out and there was an everybody-in-the-conference-room-talking-about-our-feelings-arama and WHOO BOY that is the worst idea. Because it is perfectly possible to continue to be shitty while using “I feel” statements, to control and manipulate while using “active listening,” and generally make the whole situation a torture chamber for the person who is least popular. Which would be Abby. Who does not deserve this.

        1. Artemesia*

          Active listening and other therapy processes are OFTEN used to bludgeon people — add a little passive aggressive and it is even a more powerful weapon.

      2. Humble Schoolmarm*

        It sounds like you’re suggesting something like a restorative (justice) approach which we do use a lot in schools these days. When it’s done right and all parties are open to it, it can be a really powerful conflict resolution tool. The problem (and trust me, I do speak from experience here) is that it only works if the people who were in the wrong (Jessie and Daniela) are open to that possibility. It seems pretty clear that Jessie, at least, hasn’t even advanced to the “I don’t see why this is a big deal” stage of blame-avoidance, so Abbie sharing her feelings is likely to fall on deaf ears at best or give Jessie more bullying ammunition at worst. I do agree that more talking should be done, but for the moment I think it needs to be a) calm b) firm and c) from a person in authority.

      3. RagingADHD*

        Please explain how Abby is backstabbing or blame-throwing.

        Pretending like “everyone” is embroiled in bad behavior or a multi-way dispute, is just wrongheaded.

        Jessie and her enablers probably need to hear Abby out as part of their apology. There is no reason that Abby or anyone else needs to give special listening time to Jessie. She’s been very loud about her feelings and everyone heard it already. Jessie’s attitude should not be dignified with that much attention.

      4. Tali*

        I agree that people need to talk, and direct communication is needed… But Abby doesn’t really need to hear Jessie/Daniela’s opinion. She is already hearing it via their bullying. LW/HR need to sit down with Jessie & Daniela and speak directly to them about why their behavior is unacceptable and will have consequences. Jessie & Daniela need to speak with Abby and apologize. Once they work to repair the damage they did to their relationship with Abby, then they will be able to work in the office like normal.

      5. Critical Rolls*

        Direct communication and talking about feelings can certainly overlap, but they are not the same. “Your behavior was inappropriate” is very direct communication, no feelings are involved.

        The reason you’ve got a bit of a pile-on here is because your suggestion legitimizes Jessie’s bad-faith excuses for her current actions, and makes them equivalent to Abby’s justified reaction to having a pee stick thrown at her. That would be absolutely detrimental, “both-sides”-ing a situation where someone is actually clearly in the wrong.

        Additionally, the person in danger of being permanently socially ostracized here is the VICTIM, Abby. The initial incident demonstrated incredibly poor boundaries and judgement from Jessie and Daniela, but I agree that the goal would have been to manage them to a better place. At this point, they