On Monday we had a subcontractor scheduled to start work on our program. After she did not show up, my manager attempted to call but could not get a hold of her. A few hours later my manager eventually was able to find out that she had passed away that Saturday. This was completely unexpected and was so sudden that not even the subcontractor's company had all the details, which is why we had not been informed.

So my team is finding the whole situation rather surreal. You normally have a relationship with your coworkers and so if one dies you know to grieve. However, since she had not started yet there was no chance for such a relationship to have formed.

Since I had no relationship with this individual I can easily move on and can easily put this all behind me, but I want to make sure I handle this in a professional way. The question I have: Is there a proper or professional way to express ones condolences for an employee that has died, but you have never met?


2 Answers 2


...employee that has died, but you have never met?

Unfortunately that is life. What you are feeling is empathy and sadness. Go home tonight and hold your family close. But it would not be appropriate for you to express condolences for this person that you have never even met.

  • 1
    This is what I figured. I appreciate second opinions on these types of things, since my own judgement could be clouded.
    – Anketam
    Commented Feb 1, 2017 at 23:08

I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be appreciated by the family to send flowers to the funeral home. If you watch for the obituary announcement, it will tell when and where. As an individual, I probably wouldn't do that, but if a few people in the company wanted to chip in and send it together, I'd be all for it.

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