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So I had my first day of training today. When I interviewed they had me sit in on a lunch because (I assumed) they wanted to meet the clients I would be working with (a residential program) and that was what they were doing when I interviewed. Well today, training started at noon and the first thing they had us do was go to lunch. When they were talking about salary my boss mentioned that one of the perks of working there was being fed for whatever meal you were there during. I assumed this was an option and not a requirement. However, this much more seems to be the expectation rather than just an option you can take advantage of. So today I avoided eating lunch and while we were supposed to be there 8 hours, they only kept us 4 and so I didn't end up eating the food I had brought.

I need advice on how to deal with this. I was going to deal with any accommodation needs through HR discretely. However, this doesn't seem that that is going to work as I will be expected to eat in this group setting. I know they are going to expect me to eat lunch with them. I'm not sure how to bring this issue up with my boss, especially once I am expected to start eating with the residents who will have no option but to eat what is provided for them by the facility.

While I am not embarrassed about my Celiac, this situation makes it very hard to keep my medical information private when the expectation is that we eat what food is provided.

Has anyone ever been in a similar situation? Advice?

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We have catered lunches a lot at work and go out for staff meetings while we're on travel. Lunches are always provided on travel. When we are visiting colleagues in other states, they often feed us. I take my food along, open it up, and eat it like it's nothing. I never eat any of the provided food. If asked, I say "multiple food allergies" and move the conversation in another direction. At restaurants that can't accommodate, I just order tea or coffee. No one can't forcefeed me. Some colleagues have looked at me funny or asked for more details, but I've worked to make sure they see someone competent at her job rather than the girl who eats differently. It was awkward at first, but now...whatever. If someone thinks poorly of me, that's his/her problem.

Take and eat your food. You don't have to go into details with people. It'll be a curiosity at first, but soon they'll just come to accept that you bring your own food. Your health isn't an issue for compromise.

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It cannot be said better than Bigbird said it. :)

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Googles,

I'm only guessing, but my guess is something like a resident coordinator at an assisted living facility - or something along that line.

It isn't like you applied to be a food tester at a bread company.

I would imagine if you are expected to eat alongside the "inmates", it is probably for their comfort level.

Bigbird wrote the text book response. Eat your own food alongside of them, and if asked - give the broad and disarming answer and move the conversation in a direction relating to your job description.

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We have catered lunches a lot at work and go out for staff meetings while we're on travel. Lunches are always provided on travel. When we are visiting colleagues in other states, they often feed us. I take my food along, open it up, and eat it like it's nothing. I never eat any of the provided food. If asked, I say "multiple food allergies" and move the conversation in another direction. At restaurants that can't accommodate, I just order tea or coffee. No one can't forcefeed me. Some colleagues have looked at me funny or asked for more details, but I've worked to make sure they see someone competent at her job rather than the girl who eats differently. It was awkward at first, but now...whatever. If someone thinks poorly of me, that's his/her problem.

Take and eat your food. You don't have to go into details with people. It'll be a curiosity at first, but soon they'll just come to accept that you bring your own food. Your health isn't an issue for compromise.

Couldn't have said it better myself! That's exactly what I do, luckily I eat with the same people everyday, but when it gets changed up from time to time and I get questioned I just give the short answer. Or say, I've been bringing my lunch since grade school, why stop now? Haha a little humor never hurts! (I didn't know I was celiac then, but mom knew I only ate certain things, go figure)

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Hi everyone.

Thanks for your advice. On my second day of training I ended up getting sick and getting sent home early. Luckily not missing any required training. So I had a brief discussion with my boss as he was the one who sent me home. I think I will need to clarify tomorrow as I was somewhat out of it.

I think I got through: autoimmune disease, GI problems. I'm not sure that it was gluten andnot something else I ate that set me off. But without any other sick symptoms I am assuming it is something I ate.

I hope to feel better tomorrow to go back to work.

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Hi everyone.

Thanks for your advice. On my second day of training I ended up getting sick and getting sent home early. Luckily not missing any required training. So I had a brief discussion with my boss as he was the one who sent me home. I think I will need to clarify tomorrow as I was somewhat out of it.

I think I got through: autoimmune disease, GI problems. I'm not sure that it was gluten andnot something else I ate that set me off. But without any other sick symptoms I am assuming it is something I ate.

I hope to feel better tomorrow to go back to work.

Sorry to hear that, I hope you feel better soon! :(

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I'm guessing you receive your meal as a benefit because you will be working during lunch. Everywhere I have worked staff were expected to eat with the residents to model appropriate behavior, make sure everyone was served and offer assistance as needed. This was also a good time to get to know the residents in a more informal and relaxed setting.

I'm not sure what type of residential program you are talking about but I have worked with abused children, troubled teens and developmentally disabled adults in residential settings and this has been the case everywhere I have worked. Since it could be considered part of your job you may have to mention your dietary restrictions. Approached in the right way, you should be able to work this out.

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