A few years back, I was diagnosed with Celiac disease. Though I hate it, I know eating anything containing gluten can land me in the hospital. I take it seriously. However, a few weeks back a coworker brought in some leftover cupcakes from her kid's birthday party. Everyone had one but me. My coworker, let's call her Betty, was very offended and kept telling me one little cupcake can't hurt me. She also told me if I just enjoy myself it won't affect me. I told her my condition is serious and then walked out of the room.
After that she's been sending me emails about how "science" has "proven" that Celiac Disease is basically fake. She will even stop by my desk to ask if I got her email. I try to say as little as possible. She also has been hinting when we talk that I have an eating disorder. She has been telling others that she never sees me eat, etc. I've been trying to eat lunch at my desk just to prove a point.
Things escalated when she invited me to a cookout at her house this weekend. I told her I couldn't go as I had other plans. She then asked multiple times if I can find a way to come. She again claimed I need to eat "like a normal person".
On Friday, I get pulled into the boss's office where she explains that I've been acting rude to Betty and that she has been in tears because of my avoiding her. I explained that I simply cannot eat cupcakes, no matter Betty's beliefs about it. I talked about the emails she sent and shared with my boss that I'm afraid she might try to feed me something I'm allergic to, intentionally or not. I explained that I felt Betty was being unreasonable in a somewhat flippant tone.
My boss was not sympathetic, to say the least. She claimed I'm paranoid and that Betty would never do that and I am creating a hostile work environment. That was when I learned Betty grew up with my boss. They're best friends. And she didn't like that I was calling Betty names (I wasn't). It seemed as though, from the tone of her response, that I might not have a job if I snub Betty's party.
I really hate this, but I simply can't go to the party. I'm unsure how the boss will take this. Sadly, I love my job, but this is insane. How can I keep my job without eating a cupcake?
Update: Huh, this kinda blew up. As I mentioned in the comments, I DID NOT GO TO THE PARTY. Let me explain what just happened today:
Normally, management comes in an hour before I do. Today, I came in 30 minutes early. Another of the boss's friends walked by, I said hello, and she didn't respond. Instead, she sprinted away from me. This was far too curious. Something was up.
I marched to my boss's office. When she noticed me coming in, she hurriedly slammed her laptop shut and asked what I am doing. "We need to talk right now." I said.
I explained that recently I felt it was hard to come to her with things, and I apologized for not coming to her sooner over Betty's conflict. I told her I felt like speaking to her sometimes lit a fuse I didn't intend to light. If there was some way I was communicating with her that seemed combative or disrespectful, I'm sorry and will work to correct it.
Her response was that I need to go home immediately, and she will take care of it tomorrow when she's ready. She explained that she hasn't had time to put all my things in a box yet.
That was when her boss walked by. Let's call him... Saul. Saul was on his way out of the office. He wasn't supposed to be in by the time I normally come to work, but when he saw me, he was visibly confused. Whatever Bosslady was up to, coming in early clearly ruined her plan.
Before Bosslady and Betty, I worked with Saul. He's great. And he knows I can do my job like nobody else. We both have tremendous respect for each other and share the same vision for the company.
He then pulled me into his office and had me wait while he spoke to Bosslady. 15 minutes later, he came in, and promoted me to another department. He also told me to take the rest of the day off, paid, to celebrate the promotion.
The new position is with people who are hard workers like me and very intelligent. I've been wanting to work with them since I started here two years ago. Bosslady manages the department which is mostly a training ground for newcomers. Finally, I graduated out. Not many do.
I did very little, but in the end, everything seems to be working out. I definitely trust that Saul has this handled. Betty sent me an email a few minutes ago saying she was sad to see me go. All I can say is I am not sad at all to get the hell away from her.