Potential yichud situation at work

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  • #610235
    mercury
    Member

    Has anyone realized they were left alone at the office with a co-worker, patient, or client of the opposite gender? What do you do? I am a dental hygienist and for the very first time I had a close call with one of my patients. I work for a frum dentist. Besides myself in the office there is also an assistant and a receptionist. Both these girls are not jewish. Because the dentist and I see different patients, we end at different times. We work till pretty late in the evening (sometimes till 9 pm) but normally I end and leave first. One night this past week, the dentist ended earlier then me and left for the night. Soon after, the assistant left because she had no more work. The receptionist at the desk is usually last to leave but she told me she really had to go and asked if I could lock up. I didn’t want to say anything to the boy because I didn’t want to make him uncomfortable but realizing I would be left alone with him, I quietly excused myself in the middle of my procedure and explained to the girl that jewish law requires that someone else needs to be present in these type of situations. Eventho our office door is open, because he was the last patient for the night I knew no one else would be coming (especially at that late hour) and it would be considered yichud. I was about to call my husband to come but in the 15 minutes it would take for him to get to the office I realized I would probably be finished anyway so I convinced her to stay an extra 15 minutes. So my question is like this. Should this ever happen again, what is the proper approach? Can I just tell her to not tell me that shes leaving? It cant be considered yichud if I think she’s still there, right? What if I know that she left but my patient doesnt? Do both people need to know that they’re alone for it to be considered yichud? How has other people handled these types of situations? As the clinician its not like I can just leave….

    #970502
    SaysMe
    Member

    i thought non-Jews affect yichud differently than Jews…? Also isnt it still yichud with 1 man and 2 women? I need to pull out my books

    #970503
    Shopping613 🌠
    Participant

    I don’t know much about yichud, I really need to look it up. But SaysMe, 1 on 1 with an oppisite gender is definetly yichud, there are itger types too, but 1 on 1 no doubt you need to keep a door open or have someone else there.

    Wasnt there a story about a non-jewish dentist left with a jewish patient and during her treatment gave her a tranqulizer and…………ya, I bet you can guess what he did after.

    In the end the found the dentist and got him arrested, but only after he had done this to a few patients.

    Something could happen, what if she dosent tell you she’s leaving and your patient goes out cuz he forgot something and sees she’s gone????? You have to actually have someone there…..

    #970504
    Participant

    Can you not schedule men in the last appointment slot?

    #970505
    Toi
    Participant

    ask a rov.

    #970506

    It’s still yo hid with 2 girls and 1 boy

    #970507
    eman
    Participant

    Moderator:

    These issues should be forwarded to a competent posek and not addressed or paskened in the CR

    #970508
    dafyomi2711
    Member

    isn’t there a heiter of baalah bair ;didn’t you say you were married?

    #970509
    benignuman
    Participant

    It is still yichud (m’drabanan) with 2 women and one man. If your husband is in the city and the door is left open that should be sufficient.

    #970510
    charliehall
    Participant

    “ask a rov.”

    Agreed. Hilchot yichud is in some respects more lenient than people think.

    #970511
    truthsharer
    Member

    Let me ask another question:

    Since when can you see male patients? You’re not a doctor, you’re not doing anything near pikuach nefesh, so how does a female dental hygenist get to see male patients?

    #970512
    HaKatan
    Participant

    Ask a Rav.

    Two sisters and one man is yichud, but I’m not sure any two women and one man is necessarily yichud.

    It also depends on other factors, like whether or not the man is a “kasher”.

    Ask a Rav.

    #970513
    benignuman
    Participant

    truthsharer,

    There is no issur for a woman to see male patients. There is no need for pikuach nefesh. Any negiah will not be derech chiba.

    #970515
    truthsharer
    Member

    benignuman, so shaking hands is OK since it’s not derech chiba? Besides, shaking hands is one off, and not too intimate. Having your teeth cleaned is not a one off touching, it’s way too intimate to say that it’s not a problem.

    #970516
    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    benignuman, so shaking hands is OK since it’s not derech chiba?

    Shaking hands does not equal medical attention. One is an action cementing a relationship, the other is not.

    #970517
    Moshe12
    Participant

    Simply put this forum should not be used for halacha questions. Ask a rov.

    However I will point out a few things that others have mentioned that it appears that you are missing some basic facts. If there are only women there, it’s still yichud for sure if it is only two women, if it’s more then it could get complicated. More importantly and the most obvious heter for you is baala b’eer which is that yichud is permitted just due to the fact that your husband is local. What’s considered local and other details are the reason why a competent halachic authority should be consulted regarding potential situations prior to having them occur.

    #970518
    truthsharer
    Member

    GAW, is getting your teeth cleaned considered medical attention?

    #970519
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    How does shaking hands get their teeth clean?

    #970520
    truthsharer
    Member

    Don’t people shake and shiver when you shake their hands?

    #970521
    mercury
    Member

    majority of my patients are frum. i see men, women, kids and even some single bachurim. some of his patients are not jewish but i’d say 90% are. everything i do is strictly professional. i definitely do not go around shaking peoples hands. i do have to do extra oral exams which involves touching around the head and neck but i am always wearing gloves.

    #970522
    benignuman
    Participant

    truthsharer,

    It is a machlokes as to whether shaking hands is derech chiba, and a machlokes as to whether derech chiba is objective or subjective.

    According to those that hold derech chiba is subjective, it would depend on the feelings one has when touching the other person. If getting a teeth cleaning by a person of the opposite gender generates such feelings then it would be problematic.

    According to those that hold derech chiba is objective, we look at the purpose of the touching as perceived by the outside observer. If the outside observer would view such touching as being motivated by chiba or (and?) tayvah than it would be ossur.

    Agav, actual touching of skin derech chiba with someone who has the status of arayos to you (which includes almost every Jewish woman in the world), is yeharog v’al ya’avor. Pikuach Nefesh would not help.

    #970523
    benignuman
    Participant

    Moshe12,

    Of course one should ask their Rav before acting. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t interesting and informative to discuss the issue here.

    In other words, don’t rely on the forum for your practical halachic issues, but asking them on the forum limud HaTorah and a wonderful thing.

    #970524
    ilovetorah
    Participant

    ask a rov. i believe that there is very likely no issue of yichud. being that the dentist himself has keys to come back and there cam be many reasins for him to stop back into the office, that would negate the yichud issue.

    again, ask your rov.

    #970525
    2scents
    Participant

    Gloves, Gloves, Gloves!

    #970526
    Sam2
    Participant

    HaKatan is wrong. 2 women with one man is always Yichud. If the two women are sisters, it’s a Machlokes Achronim (the Tzitz Eliezer brings down both Tzdadim in 6:39:21, if I recall correctly).

    And Ben, isn’t Ba’aleh Ba’ir enough? I mean, you can always add more reasons by leaving doors open and stuff, but Ba’alah Ba’ir should be Mattir by itself.

    #970527
    🐵 ⌨ Gamanit
    Participant

    Sam2- It’s enough only when the man doesn’t work in a field with woman, like a male o.b. Some of her patients might be. In such a situation, you need two reasons.

    #970528
    Shopping613 🌠
    Participant

    Mercury, just because their frum dosent mean that you are any safer from something happening.

    #970529
    Toi
    Participant

    Sam2- cuz noshim are daatan kalos. just attempting a hijack.

    #970530
    HaKatan
    Participant

    Sam2, I certainly trust you on this one, but isn’t the whole issue by two sisters that they wouldn’t “tell” on each other and, therefore, even two is not enough?

    If this is so, then why would two unrelated women be a problem? Would one not “tell” on the other?

    #970531
    Jersey Jew
    Participant

    Mercury,

    You MUST ask a shayala from your rov whom i pray is a competent rov.

    #970532
    Sam2
    Participant

    HaKatan: The reason by two women is that they won’t tell on each other. Another reason is that they might be willing to be involved. There is an assumption that two sisters won’t be involved together. So it depends on which reason. The Mechaber brings down covering for each other. But other Poskim bring down that if they won’t get involved together then they’ll be embarrassed in front of each other.

    #970533

    “Let me ask another question:

    Since when can you see male patients? You’re not a doctor, you’re not doing anything near pikuach nefesh, so how does a female dental hygenist get to see male patients?”

    Parnassah.

    #970535
    Sam2
    Participant

    Gamanit: If the guy is a Goy who has no Hilchos Yichud to worry about himself, then Ba’alah Ba’ir should still be enough to make it not Yichud for the Frum woman, even if he himself would have a Din of Asakav Im HaNashim if he was Jewish (I think). But something about this doesn’t sit well with me. I’ll have to look into this again.

    #970536
    musser zoger
    Participant

    Let me ask another question:

    Since when can you see male patients? You’re not a doctor, you’re not doing anything near pikuach nefesh, so how does a female dental hygenist get to see male patients?

    You caask the same question by an GP. When one goes for a physiacl it isnt pikuach nefesh. And one can go to a same sex doctor. I think the answer is its mutar because it isnt derech chibah, IMHO.

    #970537
    benignuman
    Participant

    Sam2,

    The OP said it would take 15 minutes for her husband to get to the office. Because she knows he won’t come for that length of time, Ba’alah Ba’ir might not help according to Reb Moshe (other poskim hold that it still helps but I can’t remember whom).

    (I say “might” because I think Reb Moshe was dealing with a case where it would be hours before the Husband could return.)

    #970538
    Sam2
    Participant

    ben: Yes, so she shouldn’t call her husband and then there is always the “possibility” that her husband might randomly be on the way anyway. That’s fine even according to R’ Moshe. As long as she doesn’t know where he is she can assume he might show up any second.

    #970539
    benignuman
    Participant

    I hear.

    There are also those who are machmir when she is somewhere other than her home (although that arguably does not apply where, as here, the husband knows where she is).

    #970540
    farrockgrandma
    Participant

    Didn’t you say that your employer is frum? Even if the workplace is non-Jewish, or completely secular, you should be able to tell your boss that at the end of the day, when you were seeing the last patients, the other workers were leaving and you are not comfortable being left alone with a stranger. It is the employer’s responsibility to provide a safe working environment. He would be completely liable if you were harmed in any way.

    #970541
    mercury
    Member

    i actually feel quite comfortable around my patients. the fact that they are frum, eventho halachikly i am not allowed to “trust” them, they are the ones i trust the most! its ironic. sometimes i feel bad that i may make a single boy uncomfortable. it has happened in the past (maybe becuase i was still single then too). if people are uncomfortable with having cleanings by women they should only see male dentists who do the cleanings themselves and dont hire hygienist.

    im still unsure if a male non jew is considered yichud. im reading a bunch of different posts and people are saying different things. so bottom line is i have to learn hilchos yichud becuase if everyone is saying that 2 girls and one guy is yichud, we had that situation tonight. as the non jewish receptionist and myself were still in the office and my last patient was a male and the dentist and asistant was gone already. if that is the case, i cant imagine i am the only one that has this potential problem. there must be other people who are working in an office that have a similar issue. im just curious what they do!?

    #970542
    ujew
    Participant

    Its important to raise awareness of this issue.

    A relative of mine works as a speech therapist in public schools which are not local. At the start of every semester she gives all the details to her Rav, including amount & ages of the students in each group, who else has access to the room, windows in the room & in the door, whether the door is locked or not, etc.

    A number of times the Rav has told her that she must rearrange the group or change rooms.

    Many who work in these fields are unaware of the potential issurim that are involved. Always ask your Rav!

    #970543
    Sam2
    Participant

    Interestingly, I saw the Igros Moshe EH 3:63 at Shul this morning, and his last three lines are interesting. He says a Davar Pashut that a man with 2 sisters is Yichud but a man with a mother and her daughter isn’t. Is anyone aware of somewhere where he elaborates on that? Because he seems to be splitting up the two reasons and Paskening by one in one case and the other in the other.

    #970544
    apushatayid
    Participant

    Is there a security camera in the office?

    #970545
    mercury
    Member

    no security cam that i am aware of. just an alarm like any office. this is a very frum/heimish office. i have never been uncomfortable with any of my patients. this isnt about being uncomfortable. this is about exact halacha and what i should do should a problem arise. why would a speech therapist in a public school have to worry about yichud? surely she is never in the building alone…. and depending on these kids ages im sure the doors are never locked for legal reasons.

    #970546
    ujew
    Participant

    There can be problems even with other people in the building if in the particular room its considered yichud.

    In some instances the teachers wanted her door kept locked so other students wouldnt run in.

    #970547
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Yasher koach, this thread is finely featured on one of the “frum” comedy blogs. I posted a shkoyach there also.

    I don’t recommend that blog, but I don’t exactly always not recommend it either.

    #970548
    Torah613Torah
    Participant

    There is a great book called “9 to 5” that discusses halachos in the workplace, and has a good overview of potential yichud problems, as well as preventive advice.

    #970549

    @Popa

    And do you agree with the author of that blog regarding the sincerity of this thread?

    #970550
    mercury
    Member

    ya popa im glad you and a bunch of other people on that website got a laugh out of this (i.e. me). surely its not that funny if you were the guy in the dental chair in that possible yichud situation. oh ya and i can make cleanings very painful! 🙂

    #970552
    Joseph613
    Member

    We are indeed a holy nation, governed by sensible and pragmatic laws like no other.

    #970553
    apushatayid
    Participant

    “this is about exact halacha”

    Yes it is. And a security camera would go a long way to resolving any issues of yichud.

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