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AIBU not to have to work in a terrible smell

(14 Posts)
fanjobanjowanjo Thu 08-Sep-11 15:36:21

Got a colleague, who always smells very strongly of BO, so much so, it stinks the whole office out even with windows open. This has to be unreasonable!

Shinyshoes1 Thu 08-Sep-11 15:48:16

tell him/her. Although I don't think they are totally unaware that they smell, they can't be, I know when I start to smell.

MilkandWine Thu 08-Sep-11 16:09:28

Have a word with your boss/head of department and get them to sort it out. I really don't think it's your job to approach them yourself. They might try and act as if you are just being horrid. Whereas if the head of department does it then they will have to take notice.

Smelling of BO (unless they have a real medical problem) is just anti social in this day and age. You shouldn't have to put up with it.

smoggii Thu 08-Sep-11 16:16:08

It is a personnel issue if it's affecting you. Speak to your line manager.

WhoseGotMyEyebrows Thu 08-Sep-11 16:23:34

Shinyshoes1 I think you don't notice it if you smell all the time though.

I agree, talk to your manager.

MadamDeathstare Thu 08-Sep-11 16:27:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

fanjobanjowanjo Thu 08-Sep-11 16:29:29

Looks like a HR job - manager is well aware of the problem but doesn't wish to get involved!

I wouldn't do that it's mean! We kind of know why - the same clothes for a week and such indicates it's a hygiene issue.

MadamDeathstare Thu 08-Sep-11 16:35:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KirstyJC Thu 08-Sep-11 16:36:24

I used to work with a man who sweated loads - he had all his life, couldn't help it. He knew about it though and took a towel, flannel and soap into work and disappeared into the loos every hour or so. He was the sweetest smelling person there!

Conversely there was a young lad who joined us as a temp in our upstairs, poorly ventilated metal-roofed office one summer......he STANK!! (What is it with teenage boys? My brother was the same at that age....and I have three DSes, oh joy! Something to look forward to!) He was so shy none of us could bear to speak to him as we really didn't want to upset him, so we asked a male (diplomatic) member of staff to have a word 'man-to-man' when he next came in and all us women made ourselves scarce. He did, and thought it went well, until the next morning when he didn't turn up....we never saw him again! Still, at least we could breathe in again.

Is it a man or a woman in your office? Might be better to ask someone of the same sex to mention it casually in private, so reduce embarrassment. If you are part of a larger organisation that has an HR Dept that might be an option further down the line, but if it were me I would be mortified that things had got to that stage and wonder why on earth no-one had mentioned it before?

Good luck - it's a really awful situation!

SingleMan25b Thu 08-Sep-11 17:03:06

I left a job because my boss stank!

And on an application when questioned: Why did your leave your last job? I answered truthfully!

Good luck .. I know its really difficult.

bubby64 Thu 08-Sep-11 17:18:44

Hi, this is either a job for HR, or do you have an Occupational Health Dept? As our companies OH nurse, I have been asked on several occasions to have a confidential word with various employees. Often they are unaware of the smell, and we can usually get to the bottom of the cause and gently advise how to address the problem.

substantiallycompromised Thu 08-Sep-11 17:21:16

Had similar situation at work once.

It was so bad a few colleagues asked our boss to talk to the person concerned. He didn't and passed the task on to someone else who left a note on the person's desk.

She understandably was very VERY upset and thought we were all gossiping maliciously about her and asked me (because my "stall" (open plan office) was next to hers) whether she smelt or not? It was one of the most embarrassing situations but I was honest (tried to be as kind as poss too) and said that there had been a few comments. It turned out this person had an illness she didn't know about that made her smell of fish (I've just googled it - it's called Trimethylamineuria) There's no treatment and she was so embarrassed, she left the company a couple of months after this incident.

Sorry, just trying to say in a very rambling way that it's far better if someone approaches your colleague directly and speaks to them face to face else it can cause no end of agony for the individual concerned. Agree with KirstyJ that it's far better that those immediately concerned approach her discreetly and in a low key manner rather than it going along the hierarchy of personnel and it becoming a formal complaint etc..

aldiwhore Thu 08-Sep-11 17:26:37

Wiat for the 'not-so-secret-santa' and buy smellies, or buy some freebreeze, squirt it often and say "do you think there's a strong smell of BO in here?"

Never EVER do the patronising 'chat'. Never ever go to HR. Take her out for a drink, generally chat about the lack of ventilation in the office, the heat, the smells, and throw in the non personal comment that although most don't realise it, most people smell of BO at some point in the day so its always better to carry (produce a handbag size canister of deaoderant) a handy sized canister of deoderant in your handbag at all times.... and wouldn't it be simply AWFUL to actually smell and not realise?

Might not be the best way with everyone, but it worked for me. Both WITH me (I was the stinky one once) and for me when I had to sit next to one. I shower in the morning, bath at night, but whenever I've had an office job, I sweat... something to do with the fabric of work clothes, and the unnatural environment.

grovel Thu 08-Sep-11 17:28:47

Just tell her she honks.

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