Here's a FREE selection of articles that address many different problems and situations in your workplace.
WHEN A PERSON IS CALLED ON THEIR COMMENTS OR JOKES,
THEIR RESPONSE IS "IT'S ONLY A JOKE" OR “CAN'T YOU TAKE A JOKE?”
A WOMAN IN A MALE DOMINATED WORKPLACE GETS LESS THAN KIND
COMMENTS FROM THE GUYS AND WHEN ASKED ABOUT IT QUIETLY,
SHE SAYS IT DOESN'T BOTHER HER, OR SHE CAN TAKE IT
ASKING A PERSON WHO IS CONSIDERED A "MINORITY"
TO DO TASKS OTHERS ARE REQUIRED TO DO, YET THEY CRY FOUL
EMPLOYEES WHO MAKE DISPARAGING COMMENTS ABOUT MANAGEMENT AND MANAGERS WHO MAKE DISPARAGING COMMENTS ABOUT UNIONS, GENERALLY
WHEN SEVERAL EMPLOYEES MAKE DEROGATORY COMMENTS ABOUT
ANOTHER EMPLOYEE, WHO IS NOT PRESENT, AND OUTSIDE OF WORK
WHEN SOMEONE TELLS A JOKE, MOST PEOPLE LAUGH, BUT IT'S INAPPROPRIATE, ESPECIALLY FOR ONE PARTICULAR EMPLOYEE, BUT NO ONE SAYS ANYTHING
WHEN EMPLOYEES DON'T WANT TO PICK UP THE SLACK BECAUSE A CHRISTIAN EMPLOYEE NEEDS TIME OFF FOR MASS AND WON'T WORK ON SUNDAYS
WHEN AN EMPLOYEE TAKES PART IN REPUGNANT, BUT NOT ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES, SUCH AS A WHITE SUPREMACIST GROUP, OUTSIDE OF WORK
YET NEVER SAYS OR DOES ANYTHING AT WORK
WHEN TWO EMPLOYEES WERE VERY GOOD FRIENDS, BUT HAD A PHYSICAL FIGHT OUTSIDE WORK AND NOW ONE OF THEM WON'T WORK WITH THE OTHER
OVER SOME OPEN FORM OF COMMUNICATION (RADIO OR GROUP EMAIL) AN EMPLOYEE STATES ABOUT ONE OF THE GUYS, "IT MUST BE THAT TIME OF THE MONTH" BECAUSE THIS FELLOW WAS BEING TOO EMOTIONAL
WHEN A WOMAN CAN’T DO THE SAME PHYSICAL WORK
A MALE CO-WORKER CAN DO, BUT IT’S ONLY A SMALL PART OF THE JOB
WHEN A PERSON APPEARS ALMOST RUDE IN EMAILS, BUT IN PERSON THEY COME ACROSS DIFFERENTLY – CONSIDERATE
WHEN SOMEONE WON’T TAKE “NO” FOR AN ANSWER – THEY HAVE EXHAUSTED ALL APPEALS AND PEOPLE DON’T SEE IT HIS WAY
WHEN SOMEONE IS AFRAID TO SAY ANYTHING TO SOMEONE WHO IS “DIFFERENT” FOR FEAR OF A COMPLAINT OR INSULTING THESE PEOPLE
PERSONS LOWER THEIR VOICES WHEN TALKING ABOUT SOMEONE WHO IS (WHISPER) “BLACK”
There are very few conversations tougher than telling a person they smell. Let’s face it, there’s no other diplomatic way of putting it. However, some ways of dealing with it are more diplomatic than others. You may find out about a person’s body odour because her colleagues have come to you. Or people have been making jokes behind his back or subtle jokes while the person is right in the room. You may have noticed it yourself, but decided to leave it alone. Regardless, if you are in charge, this might be the kind of task you won’t find in your job description, but dig all you want, you won’t find it in anyone else’s job duties either.
The best approach is to be sensitive, yet up front. There’s no other way around it. He may not know his body odour is a problem. Even if people have made a comment or two, he just might think it’s the guys kidding around – after all, everyone sweats and some people more than others. Don’t believe anyone who says “women glow, men perspire and horses sweat.”
Don’t let anyone know what you’re going to do, unless it’s in response to a boss saying “thou shalt” or because a colleague refuses to work with him until you correct the situation (happens a lot). Find a location where no one can hear and where you won’t be interrupted. Don’t go to a local coffee shop where things can be overheard, and if you have trouble with the smell, then go for a quiet walk outside. Tell the employee that when we work with others, simple hygiene is important. Let him know that his body odour is quite strong and he should find a way of correcting that. Be open to listening. He may be able to shed some light on the situation and a reason might even be medical of sorts (which still needs to be addressed). He may come to work every day with a clean smelling shirt, but as the day wears on, he gets smelly. Or he might not be washing his clothes properly and each day he comes in with “clean” clothes, but the smell lingers. You can try to find out what that is. Some people were brought up with better hygiene than others and might be unaware.
“Just as we all need to get along, we also need to be considerate about our personal hygiene. Your body odour is quite strong and I’m not sure why, but I’d like to talk to you about it so we can find ways to improve the situation.”
“I don’t know how to put this, so I’m going to be as direct and considerate as I can. For some reason, your body odour is strong. It might be that you sweat more than the average person, or that your clothes need special cleaning, but I’d like to talk to you about this. I know this is a sensitive topic, but I want to make sure you can work with others.”
“If I was in your situation, I would want to know what I’m going to tell you. Your body odour is strong and I’d like to discuss how you can rectify the situation.”
Stephen Hammond, B.A., LL.B., CSP
If you have any questions, please contact Stephen.
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