Dealing With A Smelly Coworker

shower water
feldman_amy Amy Feldman
Amy E. Feldman is a business commentator and legal business...
Read More

By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - You stink. There, I said it. But how do you say it to a co-worker?

A family was told to leave the Musee D’Orsay in Paris because their offensive body odor was disturbing the other visitors. Let’s pause for a minute to think about how bad they must have smelled if it offended the French.

Here in the US, we tend to have more delicate senses of smell for body odor – but also more delicate senses of propriety and don’t quite know how to tell coworkers that they stink. People shy away from talking about any personal matters, but there are times when someone’s potential success is curtailed by his or her hygiene. So long as there is no intent to discriminate on the basis of gender or other protected status, it is not only okay to tell someone she smells, but it may be a kindness.

Do it away from others and at the end of the day so she’s not embarrassed all day. And let her know that you would like to be told if you had spinach between your teeth or other problems of which you are not aware that might be standing in the way and that you tell her as a friend so she’s not embarrassed later.

It may be difficult but is it right thing to do? Oui.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 33,188 other followers