General Etiquette > All In A Day's Work

Coworkers with bad body odour

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I've received so much helpful advice on this site. I moved into a new work area this week and I'm really uncomfortable because my new supervisor is not only invading my personal space, but also has bad breath and bad body odour. so although I can handle people invading my personal space usually, it is not quite this urgent. Today at lunch, I got some food from the canteen, and he asked if he could have some, and I said that was ok, as long as he used his fork. He then tried to use the fork I had been using to take food! I'm a lady, I'm not "normal" weight, I'm only grams over it and have never been called "fat", but I have been losing weight excessively in the last few weeks because of stress etc. When I said he needed to use his own fork, he said "well you must be really hungry, otherwise you wouldn't have ate so much food". What I ate was a side dish to most peoples normal meals. It was the fries in peoples Big Mac meals. Other people I was with were supportive in saying that my serving was not suffice for the vast majority of people, but my Senior continued to be rude about it. Any advice on getting more "personal space"? I've tried slightly moving away and seperately myself with other people to limited effect (ie. I will sit fairly closely to other people on all sides and he will just barge in). Any advice on informing people that they have bad body odour/breath?

wow. talk about stepping over boundaries.

I hate to say this - but if this was my supervisor, i would be looking for a new job. I could not be happy working for someone so rude and mean (it doesn't matter if you are one gram overweight or 320 pounds - he has no right to berate you about it).

If you are staying on the job - is there  an HR dept? can you talk to someone over him?

at the very least - don't be so nice. Do not let him eat your food , simply say "no".

"can I have some of that?"
"sorry, no."

Or "Joey doesn't share food!!"

Thanks @cicero - I am actively looking for another job, but your advice has made me realise I need to report this to higher up, instead of just taking it on the chin. Still would love advice on making more "personal space". Should I just be honest and say that he is entering my personal space? I have a personal space for a reason

Ginger G:
Well, as an HR person, I am totally appalled by this guy.  You do need to let someone in HR know, or if there's no HR at your company, then talk to his boss.  This is affecting your job as well as causing you physical stress. 

I would start off by saying that it's really three separate issues.  The first is invading your personal space, the second is the hygiene issue, and the third (and in my opinion the worst offense) is berating you for eating your own lunch.  He may not even realize he's invading your space or that he has a noticable hygiene problem, but he has to know the third issue is just wrong.  This guy needs some behavior modification before he drives you and potentially other employees away.

HR needs needs to be put on notice about this person because eventually if his behavior continues he is going to cost the company a lot of money, whether it's people leaving and having to train new people or through a lawsuit.  HR needs to straighten this out immediately.

As to sharing your food simply say NO that you do not wish to share, you're hungry and you purchased what you are going to eat.  Seriously go to HR today.


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