08-28-2005, 12:23 PM #1
Question regarding workplace policies
Greetings all: Does anyone have a link or reference for making a dispatch center perfume free? We've got a couple of dispatchers that MARINATE in perfume before coming to work, and it's either nauseating or choking, depending on the blends. There are several of us in the poorly ventilated room who have asthma or smell sensitivity, and are looking to put forward a policy to get the perfume use to stop.
08-28-2005, 11:02 PM #2
Polices have to be followed by everyone, polices do not discriminate. Create a policy establishing how employees cannot smell up the place. The following article is more about body odor, but can apply to perfume.
Here's what The Washington Post carried:
A woman from India who immigrated here eight years ago works in our office. While her personality is somewhat aggravating, the real problem is her lack of hygiene. To put it simply, she smells foul, and as the day and the week progress it ripens to the point the whole room is putrid. It is apparent she does not launder her clothing after wearing nor does she use deodorant. A number of people in our office have reported the problem to our company's human resources department, but nothing happens. I think they do not know how to address the problem. The rest of us are afraid to tell her directly for fear of violating some law, since she is a minority. So we continue to suffer.
Is there any way the problem can be addressed, or is this one of those situations where we are stuck because American laws permit it?
The Post's reply:
This question stinks, but somebody's got to deal with it.
First off, there's nothing illegal about being irritated by poor personal hygiene, regardless of the nationality or sex of the person emitting the fumes. Foul smells can hurt productivity as employees seek to avoid contact with problem co-workers, they can hurt camaraderie, and they can spoil an organization's professional image. Companies usually try to head off problems before they arise by establishing dress and grooming codes that spell out to workers how they are supposed to look and smell when they are on the job.
Usually the human resources department gets the unenviable task of tactfully raising the issue with the offending worker or coaching the employee's supervisor about how to do it, said Deborah Keary, director of the personnel-questions hot line for the Society for Human Resource Management. She said it's a chore that many people would seek to avoid because it's likely to be a painful exchange, with the worker left feeling angry and humiliated. Nevertheless, it's part of the job, she said.
"I think the HR department has dropped the ball" in this case, Keary said.
This letter also illustrates the widespread misunderstandings about federal anti-discrimination laws. All they specifically forbid is bias in hiring and promoting workers or unfair treatment of workers because of their race, sex, physical handicaps, age, religion or nationality -- and they say nothing about deodorant.
"There's nothing in the laws we enforce that prevents an employer from telling an employee that his hygiene is not what it should be, and that he needs to improve it," said Dianna Johnston, assistant legal counsel to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which enforces workplace anti-discrimination laws. "Some people mistakenly believe minorities can get away with anything. No! [ Employers] are only not supposed to discriminate against them. They can set work rules for everybody, and everybody needs to follow them."
The issue can be somewhat murkier if a health issue is involved. Some medical conditions can cause people to have an unusual smell, and some people who are suffering from depression or other mental illness might fail to bathe regularly. In those cases, employers may want to provide counselling services through an employee assistance program.
Another possible exception could be participation in an unusual religious sect -- but a spokeswoman for the Indian embassy said she knows of no group in India that could advise its followers not to use deodorant. The spokeswoman said she, too, would be embarrassed and offended by someone who failed to maintain good grooming standards, but she said it's up to her co-workers to kindly tell the woman before she becomes an object of ridicule.
"I think a lady, in a nice way, should tell her," she said.
08-29-2005, 11:24 AM #3
Excellent article, 911, thanks. We're in Canada, and I figured if the hospitals can be scent free, then we should be able to, I was looking for wording.
Everyone on the shift is aggreeable to this, with the exception of the "marinaters", who are objecting. Sorry, but when you see a co worker go into a full blown asthmatic attack because of these inconsiderate slugs, it's kind of annoying.
08-31-2005, 12:37 AM #4
Can a policy be worded similar to the ones used in schools for (pea)nut allergies?
Or how about this:
eg: Due to allergies; it is kindly requested that all traces of fragrence be removed before entering this work environment. Your co-operation will be noticed and appreciated.
It's a positive message, doesn't point a finger at either the stinky-poo or the sufferers. The last sentence ( to me, anyway) implies that people who don't comply will be quickly noticed. However, it becomes a question of how management will single out the stinkies for fragrence removal if the stinkies choose not to voluntarily comply.
when you see a co worker go into a full blown asthmatic attack because of these inconsiderate slugs, it's kind of annoying.IACOJ
If you are willing to teach;
I am willing to learn.
08-31-2005, 05:07 AM #5
- Join Date
- Sep 2004
- Ontario, Canada
My local dispatch is a "Scent free Zone". I don't understand why all of them are not. Lots of places now are going to this policy.
Here are some links that might help you out.
Calgary Region Health - Scent Posters
Dalhousie University's Policy
Great Page of Policies and Wordage
Fragrance free is fashionable, and toxic fumes from perfumes are not.
Developing a Scent Free Policy
Search Yahoo For MoreDon't think of organ donations as giving up part of yourself to keep a total stranger alive. It's really a total stranger giving up almost all of themselves to keep part of you alive. ~Author Unknown
08-31-2005, 04:46 PM #6
Thanks so much rookielz and flightmedic9. Flightmedic9, that is EXACTLY what I'm looking for.
I don't work dispatch a lot, but when I'm called to fill in, one of the scents is so bad, you can actually TASTE it. bleh. The other challenge those of us that react are facing is that the upper management also bathes in scents. Wierd thing is, the City is scent free, therefore would it not apply to the fire department? One that I frequently work with says she doesn't "feel complete" without her perfume on. I told her that when her scent bugs me, I'm going to light a smoke at my desk. Oh, wait, that may cause the air to EXPLODE.
09-21-2005, 10:31 AM #7
- Join Date
- Oct 2004
- Ocala Florida, USA
Ah the perfume in the workplace...for years I was made to feel like I was just a complainer...please don't spray that, dont use that cleaner, bleach in an enclosed area are you crazy...
Until it finally happened, someone sprayed cologne and I had an asthma attack.
I'm the supervisor for the Fire Dispatch, we were finishing a natural gas leak, and starting a call where we had a boating accident, in the river with injuries, and I am now in a full blown asthma attack. I'm not able to perform my duties, and someone has to give up their day off, because I cant come to work the next day. All this because someone wanted to smell good.
I'm glad I'm not alone anymore.
09-21-2005, 02:46 PM #8
- Join Date
- Jul 2004
- Penn Valley, Ca
I remember the old answering service that used to dispatch the local private ambulance company until the fire dispatch took it over. They didn't buy into this newfangled no smoking stuff. You could judge how heavy the action had been recently by how low the smoke layer was in there
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