You are working with someone who has horrific body odor. Can HR deal with it? I work with a woman with serious hygiene issues. She comes to my cube as I’m her trainer, and the odor is staggering. We have 2 stalls in the ladies room and I just found out she defiles one stall. As in, poops on the toilet seat. WTF?

Yeah, get HR involved.

I worked at a large company - we had a handful of IT professionals who had hygiene issues. Once a month, as part of our weekly meetings we’d address the subject, and part of the work requirements were bathing daily before work, changing clothes every day, wearing deodorant and being reasonably groomed (basically comb your hair).

It was addressed in a mostly humorous way in our meetings, but HR would on occasion request someone go home and get cleaned up before returning to work. They’d do it in a subtle way to avoid embarrassment. We also had full license to report anyone struggling with their hygiene.


Yes, as @RockerUte said, get HR involved. Part of their job is to prevent issues from growing into problems or worse. I may not be a fan of HR, but they do server their purpose, and this falls under HR’s purview.

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As a nerd herder, I completely identify with this predicament!

It’s kind of like the math professors I had at the U, who fell into two basic categories:

  1. Pretty normal people who happened to be gifted in Math
  2. Freakazoids from a different planet, who could teach Math in English (or Klingon, if you prefer.)

When I was a student I worked at University Hospital with a couple of brothers who immigrated from Iraq. I’m pretty sure they came to the U.S. before the first Gulf War. One of them had horrible body odor, you could tell he did not use deodorant and probably only bathed a couple of times a week. Someone in management pulled him aside and let him know that his hygiene wasn’t working out. He changed his habits and it was fine after that.

Those two brothers from Iraq were two of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. I hope they are still doing well.