Hands pointing at calendar(l), Man (c), Agenda(r)

‘Whoever wrote this agenda has fully lost their mind’: Worker passes away. Co-worker can’t believe how workplace responds

'Genuine question though, what is the appropriate way for work to handle that?'


Natasha Dubash


Posted on May 7, 2024   Updated on May 7, 2024, 9:46 am CDT

A man called out his workplace for the way it announced the news that one of his co-workers passed away. 

A TikToker who posts under Captain Howdy (@captainhowdylife) shared the story on social media after management at his company saw fit to break the news about their co-worker via the agenda for the next company meeting.

In the first slide of his post, which is a selfie, the TikToker wrote in the text overlay: “Thinking about the time my coworker literally [died] and they put it in the meeting agenda.”

In the second slide, he uploaded a screenshot of the agenda. It shows the employee’s name, Gary, with his last name and other details blacked out. 

The agenda lists three bullet points under the name of the deceased worker. The first reads, “Passed away this weekend.”

The second bullet point is only half legible. It reads, “Once we have more [information},” and then is cut off. The third reads, “Forward all facilities issues.” The third bullet point is also cut off. 

In the caption, the TikToker goes on to criticize corporate work culture and sarcastically writes, “Let’s take a moment of silence to think about how we’re gonna make our sales quote this quarter!”

Viewers are equally baffled

The TikTok post was seen over 568,000 times, and viewers were equally baffled at the employer’s approach to sharing the news about the death of a worker.

“Death announcement as a bulletin point is wild,” wrote one user. 

“No way they really talked about sales goals right away?” said another in disbelief.

“One of my co workers passed and all he got was a picture frame in the break room,” claimed someone else.

“Genuine question though,” one person asked, “Like what is the appropriate way for work to handle that?” Several viewers responded with alternatives. Those suggestions included sending a separate eulogy email with resources for grieving and offering employees to take a day if needed.

But one viewer’s response summed up the essence of why the company’s response was a poor one. They wrote, “There is absolutely a correct way and it’s not to put it in a meeting agenda.”

How leaders should handle a worker’s death

The Society for Human Resource Management spoke with an expert who argued that employers often make two big mistakes after a worker dies: minimizing the death and then moving on from it too quick.

Instead, employers should “encourage employees to take a moment, decompress together, share, vent,” another expert for the SHRM advised.

All the experts urged leaders to not being afraid to show emotion.

A third recommended that leaders “create a culture where it’s OK not to be OK.” That expert added, that “[Grieving] should not be seen as a weakness in the workplace. When you ignore and push [grief] aside and try to plow through, it comes out in more unmanageable ways and bigger problems.”

The Daily Dot reached out to the TikToker via Instagram direct message for further information.  

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*First Published: May 7, 2024, 11:00 am CDT