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Michael, Employment Services
Category: Etiquette
Satisfied Customers: 3176
Experience:  Employment Services Professional
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An office employee smells really bad. s clothes are filthy

Customer Question

An office employee smells really bad. His clothes are filthy everyday (always the same clothes) the stains on his shirt are like a story of the last 6 months. He's been told about the odour in the past, but it did not improve.
He earns a great wage ($28-$30/ hr) has no children so finances and time restrictions don't seem to be the issue.
Short story long, how can I get the point across anonymously and effectively without being cruel?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Etiquette
Expert:  Michael replied 1 year ago.

Hi Joey,

This problem ranks #1 and #2 in terms of co-worker issues as listed by the Society of Human Resources Management. Some suggestions I can offer include:

1. Bring up the issue with human resources but discussing it in private while being direct and wanting a resolution. Explain that this has become a long lasting issue and has resulted in workplace slowdown for example. Management at a higher level is what is needed in this case.

2. If management seems not to care, then sitting down with other co-workers and see as a group to sit down privately and offer support and guidance on your thoughts of getting a better smell out of this person. Let the office employee understand that you are not being mean but want to have a well run office environment. Being mean will not help so kindness along with being a bit direct can work.

3. See if moving the office employee if possible to another area that is away from others.

Everything I have been able to read on this issue offers these three ways to handle the situation. Article below goes into a bit more detail:

Expert:  Michael replied 1 year ago.

I hope these tips can help in getting rid of the smell that your co-worker seems to have. Please take a moment and rate my answer so that I know I was able to assist you and allow me to help other customers.