There are those who make it to adulthood without knowing that they are whiffy, or they simply do not know how to stop stinking. Be warned, sometimes the issues can be a sign of other problems that will never be solved in the workplace. Managers are not counsellors, or medical practitioners, and need to be wary of professional boundaries.
- If males working in a physical environment smell bad and a woman in the same workplace is being held to a different standard, it might be a case for sexual discrimination.
- If there are other odorous employees who are not singled out and the person being spoken to has a different race, age, religion, national origin or some other protected status you can be accused of general discrimination.
- If the trouble over scents started shortly after an employee announced a disability, need for medical leave, or pregnancy (not that being pregnant is a disease or a disability!) there may be a strong case for a personal grievance or even wrongful dismissal if the situation is poorly handled.
- When did the problem start?
- Do you know what causes it?
- Can you think of any ways that the problem could be solved?
- Has anything been said to the person in question?
There may be non-invasive ways of dealing with the problem: a window could be opened, air conditioning turned on, or an automatic air freshener placed in the office. If this is not an option, talk about how to approach the person in question.