Author Topic: Coworkers with bad body odour  (Read 4165 times)

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wenners

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Coworkers with bad body odour
« on: February 07, 2013, 05:39:14 AM »
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?

cicero

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Re: Coworkers with bad body odour
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2013, 05:44:54 AM »
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!!"

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wenners

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Re: Coworkers with bad body odour
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2013, 06:36:06 AM »
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

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Re: Coworkers with bad body odour
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2013, 09:15:00 AM »
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.

Aquamarine

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Re: Coworkers with bad body odour
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2013, 10:37:28 AM »
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.
Always be polite, even to nasty people. Not because they are nice, but because you are.

Mikayla

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Re: Coworkers with bad body odour
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2013, 11:38:54 AM »
I agree you need to take this up the chain of command, whether it's HR or his supervisor.  There can be "political" reasons why you'd talk to the supervisor first, so only you know which is best. 

This is about a lot more than body odor.  In fact, that's the least of his transgressions.

Good luck!

oceanus

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Re: Coworkers with bad body odour
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2013, 10:12:31 PM »
OP -

1) Don't ever share your food with him.  (You really went overboard justifying your food choice/quantity and it's not anyone's business).  Just say "I don't share my food.  Excuse me, I'm eating my lunch."
2) Regarding the invasion of your space and offensive odor, talk to HR.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2013, 10:17:08 PM by oceanus »

Shortylicious

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Re: Coworkers with bad body odour
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2013, 06:29:52 PM »
I can't get over this guy trying to use your fork! Who does that? I wouldn't even let a friend use my fork, let alone someone I work with! Hello! It's flu season here! You need to come up with some form of 'no' that you're comfortable saying. "No, I don't share my food" or "No, I only bought enough for myself" or "No, it's flu season and I don't want to spread germs!".  :o
This guy kind of sounds like a jerk so I wouldn't be surprised if you told him about personal space issues and he disregarded it. Even stepped in closer and pushed you as he did about your lunch. You should try tho and just say "Could you back up a bit? I need some space". If he then disregards your request you'll have a concrete example to bring to HR/ his manager.

BeagleMommy

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Re: Coworkers with bad body odour
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2013, 12:36:51 PM »
Wow, this guy's level of rudeness is appalling.

For the food, just say no when he asks if he can have some.  You don't need to give him a reason.

The personal space issue I would continue to pull away from him every time he gets too close.  You can also try "Would you mind backing up?"

The body odor issues are trickier.  You might want to go to his immediate supervisor before going to HR (just about the body odor).  This needs to be done discreetly.

LilacRosey

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Re: Coworkers with bad body odour
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2013, 07:23:39 PM »
I would eat somewhere else and if he ever calls you fat that would be horrible and you should report it right away to someone! I dont thionk you can tell him he smells though there just isnt a way to do that nicely to a boss or someone you work with at all, LilacRosey

wenners

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Re: Coworkers with bad body odour
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2013, 06:36:32 AM »
Thanks guys, I have been trying to avoid meals at the same time, and taking a step back to try to seperate myself from the bad b.o. and bad breath, but he doesn't seem to get it (eg. we had a meeting last week when there were 3 chairs spare at the table, but instead he shoved himself in between me and another staff member who were seated fairly closely. Fortunately another staff member who came late to the meeting, got on a office chair and pushed herself between to make more space for me and my other colleague. H

wenners

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Re: Coworkers with bad body odour
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2013, 06:40:38 AM »
And even when I took a different break time, he came up to talk to me, with a mouth full of food, spitting food all over me. Surely this is basic manners?

girlysprite

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Re: Coworkers with bad body odour
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2013, 01:09:12 PM »
Does he howl to the moon too? Cause it sure sounds like he was raised by wolves.

LeveeWoman

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Re: Coworkers with bad body odour
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2013, 01:34:31 PM »
You have the right to walk away--and get up and move away--from someone who is in your space. Just do  it.

BeagleMommy

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Re: Coworkers with bad body odour
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2013, 02:58:43 PM »
Does he howl to the moon too? Cause it sure sounds like he was raised by wolves.

Sounds like wolves may be raised better.  This guy is a boor of the highest level.  OP, I think you need to start with his supervisor and then go to HR if no resolution is reached.  Don't be shy about saying why you are filing a complaint.  Someone who insults me, tries to eat my food, smells, and spits food on me needs to be called on the carpet.