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Old 01-04-2013, 05:55 AM   #1
 
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Default Work stuff: how do I bring this up?

There's a woman at work who quite frankly stinks. She starts the week not smelling but by mid-week she starts to smell and then stinks at the end of it. It's like she only bathes once a week.

How do I bring this up? And who do I mention it too? Or do I and everyone else just have to accept it?
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Old 01-04-2013, 06:07 AM   #2
 
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You don't have an hr dept?
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Old 01-04-2013, 06:12 AM   #3
 
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We had a similar problem with a former co worker. Really nice guy but his personal hygiene was lacking. Our supervisor had a talk with him in private after several people had complained. She broke the news to him gently, and told him a clean/hygienic appearance and smell was part of department policy, which it was. He did somewhat better after that.
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:14 AM   #4
 
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I think it's fairly common for HR to be asked to intervene in these matters.
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:17 AM   #5
 
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I hope you have a human resources department because as mentioned they're the ones trained to handle it.


If not, anyone have suggestions?


I was going to post this same basic thread as a hypothetical a couple weeks ago when I had the misfortune of being near a woman who really smelled terrible. I haven't seen her since, so it would be hypothetical as I don't know her, but I wondered what would happen if you're in a small enough company there's no HR - we have one and that's who I'd go to in my company, but I was wondering what if you don't have one.
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:24 AM   #6
 
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We don't have a specific HR dept. it's only a small business. Last time something was brought up with one of the managers involving a member of staff the message was to suck it up and accept it.
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:38 AM   #7
 
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I would think hygiene is a compelling enough health concern that mgmt would be more responsive this time. Approach them from that angle. If you can smell her, customers probably can too. I'd be majorly turned off by smelly employees, and equally turned off by mgmt if they refused to do anything about it.

Maybe they can put up a '10 Rules for Health and Hygiene' poster and of course daily washing would be one of the rules. Every doctor's office has those types of fliers, restaurants and other public establishments as well. It wouldn't be out of place in a pharmacy. I'm surprised there isn't one already. And if there is one, then mgmt needs to stress it, maybe as part of staying healthy during cold and flu season (assuming it's c&f season in the UK too).
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:01 AM   #9
 
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with regard to the ehow advice...I have never met anyone w/ a medical condition that caused them to stink (other than breath). What kind of medical conditions cause ppl to stink? I'm sure it happens, I have just never met anyone who stunk and wasn't also slovenly.

Many years ago, cancer patients smelled bc of the treatments. But medical advances have changed that...or so I thought.

Do they mean specific drugs cause the person to have an odor?

Or certain injuries make washing and staying clean impossible?
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:14 AM   #10
 
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The brother of my mothers fiancee (can't remember the english word) has a hormon disorder that causes him to stink to hell! I'm disgusted to death every time he enters the room...all in all he's a nice guy but the smell is horrible.
He bathes every day, but one hour later he has started smelling again. I kind of pity him cause there is no "cure" to it without tons of possible side effects.

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Old 01-04-2013, 09:14 AM   #11
 
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Causes of Body Odor that Are Due to Medical Conditions - Yahoo! Voices - voices.yahoo.com

sidenote: i'm too lazy to summarize and type anything out myself.

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Old 01-04-2013, 09:15 AM   #12
 
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I'm at work so I haven't had time to read the Yahoo and e-how answers, but here's what we did in my last job.

First of all, we had an HR dept. which you don't have, but I cleared what action to take with them first.

Is there a senior admin. type in your organization or an office manager? S/he should send around a memo about personal hygiene to everyone so that the person doesn't feel singled out.

Another idea (which we didn't have to do) is to have someone put a bar of soap and deodorant on the offending person's desk. In lieu of that, you can print out something from yahoo or e-how and leave it on the person's desk so that s/he will get the message.

You shouldn't have to put up with that. Please let us know how you handle it. Even in US prisons the inmates shower twice a week and are given deodorant to use.
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:26 AM   #13
 
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A bar of soap on her desk? Isn't that a little mean?
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:37 AM   #14
 
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Quote:
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A bar of soap on her desk? Isn't that a little mean?
Definitely! I would feel really offended and sad, maybe even bullyied if someone ever did this to me!



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Old 01-04-2013, 09:38 AM   #15
 
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I'm amost afraid to ask but what kind of smell is it? Is it armpit smell? Or something a bit more..."nefarious?" LOL
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:52 AM   #16
 
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It's an unwashed body smell. Hard to pin point exactly what and I'd rather not think about it.

We don't have desks, I work in a pharmacy. Thing is she always stand really close to people when she's talking to them and doesn't understand the concept of personal space. Even if you take a step back she steps forward. So there is no escape.

There's another person at work who stinks of alcohol but that's been excused as her medication (no one believes it as she's admitted to drinking a bottle of wine a night before).
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:55 AM   #17
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curlylaura View Post
It's an unwashed body smell. Hard to pin point exactly what and I'd rather not think about it.

We don't have desks, I work in a pharmacy. Thing is she always stand really close to people when she's talking to them and doesn't understand the concept of personal space. Even if you take a step back she steps forward. So there is no escape.
In college, I had a roommate who didn't shower as often as she should've. For her birthday, a bunch of us who shared the floor with her in our dorm chipped in and got her a really nice gift basket of shower gel, lotion, etc. It got the point across in a nice way and it wasn't a problem after that.
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:57 AM   #18
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CurlyB_ View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by The New Black View Post
A bar of soap on her desk? Isn't that a little mean?
Definitely! I would feel really offended and sad, maybe even bullyied if someone ever did this to me!



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i agree. i wouldnt do that. the idea about sending a memo to everyone is a better approach.

we had a situation where a co-worker would bring curry to work for lunch. another co-worker didnt like the smell and wrote a letter and left it on the coworkers desk. we all veiwed it offensive mainly because she did it secretly. if she had gone to the co worker and told her privatley the coworker could had easily begin to eat her lucnh in the lunchroom. our boss didnt like the lady's approach or the way she worded her letter either so she was fired (i never read the letter, but it apparently came off as bullying, rude, and racist. i'm unsure if this was the lady who wrote it intent). i wouldnt live a bar of soap on someones desk, it could put your job at risk. it could come off in a way you did not mean.
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Old 01-04-2013, 10:28 AM   #19
 
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I think something should come from management to all of the employees, about the importance of hygiene and respecting others in the workplace by keeping to a certain standard. I don't know what I'd do if management refused. Probably go the route of trying to put up a generic sign about hygiene somewhere in the office for all to see, if I was allowed to.

In terms of the personal space issues, I would be all over this one. As soon as you step back and she steps forward I'd hold out my arm and say "I'm sorry, I have some issues with personal space. It makes me very uncomfortable to have someone too close to me. Please don't take it personally".
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Old 01-04-2013, 11:44 AM   #20
 
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I'd address the space issue directly too.^^
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