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Smelly work colleague

(61 Posts)
Heckneck Sat 04-Nov-17 09:14:52

I have to work with a lovely lady however she absolutely pongs. I'm not sure if it's her clothes or what but it's like she doesn't wear any deodorant. It's so strong you can be walking a few paces behind and can smell it as you walk into that space. I obviously can't broach the subject cos how do you do that. I tried to talk about clothes washing the other day as maybe that's the reason why and she didn't participate in the conversation. AIBU to mention something to management? How do I broach it?

IrritatedUser1960 Sat 04-Nov-17 09:17:28

i have learnt from past experience not to try and tackle this yourself. The fallout was horrible and ended up with the both of us sitting in front of senior management. Even though I tried to be super tactful and nice about it my colleague took grave offence.
it is managements job to sort this out. Go to your line manager and ask them to sort the problem out for you.

BumpowderSneezeonAndSnot Sat 04-Nov-17 09:19:58

Take it to management it's their job

Heckneck Sat 04-Nov-17 09:22:29

I just don't get how nobody, friends or family have said anything as it's so obvious. If that was my partner I'd tell em.

Nikephorus Sat 04-Nov-17 09:24:49

Their friends have probably tried telling them subtly but they've said that twice a week works just fine for them grin

Heckneck Sat 04-Nov-17 09:26:01

Lol. I've seen the other thread. I'm pretty sure it's not washing clothes properly as well though.

Nikephorus Sat 04-Nov-17 09:28:03

It's probably that they don't wash their clothes regularly either - just stick them to one side thinking "I can get another couple of wears out of those" (after wearing them a dozen times on hot days)...

Smarshian Sat 04-Nov-17 09:29:45

I would speak to your manager. I (as a manager) have had to have this fairly uncomfortable conversation. I tend to find people do not take subtle hints, they need to be told plainly the issue.

IrritatedUser1960 Sat 04-Nov-17 09:33:38

I have another colleague a man who eats like an actual pig, snorting, troughing, food spraying everywhere out of his open mouth, table afterwards looks like there has been a food fight.
I often wonder how people like this get through life with no manners or social graces whatsoever but I just avoid the situation by not going to the staff room for lunch.

BarbarianMum Sat 04-Nov-17 09:35:44

I had a colleague like this once. We hinted - the hints were not understood. So we put up with it. Some years later I met her again. She smelt fine. In the interim someone had obviously sat her down and had a proper word. So wished we'd done that rather than muttering behind her back.

OP speak to your manager.

Violletta Sat 04-Nov-17 09:36:14

I had this at work, I spoke to their boss and they dealt with it

never another problem

laurzj82 Sat 04-Nov-17 09:39:10

Go through management. I am ashamed to say this has been me once. blush I was suffering with severe depression and shouldn't really have been at work at all but it was clothes not being washed.

I think if there is something else going on that is causing the not washing then they could take it very badly or think you were just being bitchy and not do anything about it.

Good luck smile

Mittens1969 Sat 04-Nov-17 09:40:49

I agree that you need to speak to senior management about this lady. Workplaces have dress codes and I would have thought being clean and presentable would be part of that. She won’t know that you complained, they can just bring it up as something they have noticed.

RhiannonOHara Sat 04-Nov-17 09:41:23

This happened in a workplace of mine ages ago. Someone eventually talked to HR, who made one of management talk to the smelly person.

Don't know how it went. Did feel slightly sorry for the person having to tell them, but then again she was management and that's why they pay them the big bucks![ grin]

RhiannonOHara Sat 04-Nov-17 09:42:52

laurzj, nothing to be ashamed of. Sounds like you were in a very bad way. Can I ask how it was resolved and how you felt about it i.e. was it done in a sensitive way?

UserThenLotsOfNumbers Sat 04-Nov-17 09:46:04

Definitely speak to your manager, as PP have said this is part of their job.

laurzj82 Sat 04-Nov-17 09:49:11

Thanks Rhiannon

Manager called me into his office and made it look like it was about something else and didn't tell me who had said something so it was all handled very privately. Umm..think I had a little cry (I was mortified) and stomped around in a mood for the day grin then made sure it never happened again! I honestly honestly though didn't realise as NO ONE had ever hinted or told me. Even when I asked my friends they all said it was rubbish. In hindsight though of course it was true because I wasn't taking care of myself properly.

Hopefully management will deal with it sensitively and all will be fine

whoareyoukidding Sat 04-Nov-17 09:57:44

Many years ago there was a smelly colleague in our office. We all complained to management but it did not go well. Apparently the offending person refused to accept that she smelt. She had serious BO. I don't know what happened after that because I left but I clearly remember her carrying on as before. WTF does a manager do after that? Warning?

Ellie56 Sat 04-Nov-17 11:55:14

Their friends have probably tried telling them subtly but they've said that twice a week works just fine for them grin

grin grin grin

I've seen the other thread too!

SemperTemper Sat 04-Nov-17 11:56:55

Nike grin

LemonShark Sat 04-Nov-17 11:56:59

Yes, approach management. You can be polite but nobody should have to work while dealing with the smell of someone's poor hygiene. Let them handle it.

The website ask a manager has some great advice on how to deal with this issue if you search for it.

Ellie56 Sat 04-Nov-17 11:59:54

WTF does a manager do after that? Warning?

Well yes they would have to do something. I guess if you kept getting sent home to wash every time you turned up ponging for work (and got your pay docked too) you would eventually get the message.

LemonShark Sat 04-Nov-17 12:00:08

Yes who. A worker denying someone doesn't make it not true, it's the equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ear and going 'lalalala'!

Attending work in an unfit state that causes determined to colleagues and clients is a serious performance issue. If the person has been approached and not done anything about it it must be escalated. Management need to provide clear directions on the standard they need to meet (for example we expect you to have visibly clean clothing, hair that is clean, no noticeable smell, to use gum and brush teeth regularly or seek medical advice if none of the above work) so that if the worker doesn't meet these standards they can take it further and the colleague can't plead ignorance.

Thetoothyteeth Sat 04-Nov-17 12:01:02

The word 'pongs' makes me feel sick

Gingernaut Sat 04-Nov-17 12:01:13

I've worked with people who didn't used detergent to wash themselves or their clothes, thinking water alone was enough and the environment was a better place without soap and detergents.

Our environment was not. envy <---- Not envy

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