Unsanitary Office Behavior

There is a lady who works in our office who never washes her hands after using the toilet. She comes out of the stall, turns the water on and off quickly so it sounds as if she is washing them. Lately she has not even been using water. She just runs her hand over the auto paper towel dispenser and wipes her hands on the towel.

She also has a very bad hygiene problem. She smells so bad that you can hardly be near her. You can plainly see that her clothing is dirty. She also has chronic infections that add to the odor. This is a very delicate situation as she is also physically challenged, and she comes from an agency that helps place challenged employees. She is a hard worker and everyone likes her.At Christmas, all the employees took up a collection and put together a basketful of household items like soaps, detergents, towels, shampoos, etc. Our human resources department contacted her agency and informed them of the situation. They were supposed to have talked with her, but we have not noticed any change.

We even had our health and wellness department come talk to the entire department about the importance of washing your hands properly. We have exhausted all possible solutions, all to no avail. We don’t want to hurt this lady’s feelings, but we don’t feel we should have to be exposed to unhealthy working conditions. Do you have any ideas?— Baffled at Work


Rereading this column , I am sure I saved it to share with students as a “what would you do question”.  I also agree with Ask Amy, this office is a considerate, sensitive bunch. I am curious as to why none of them contacted the agency anonymously, as many Development Disabled agencies specialize in such issues of hygiene. I also am curious what happened to this person and how you would handle such a situation?


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5 Responses to Unsanitary Office Behavior

  1. Pingback: Should mentally ill people and criminals be sterilized? | Real Life of an MSW

  2. I think someone in authority in house should speak to her about it. There is a responsibility to all staff. The indirect approaches clearly haven’t worked – they rarely do

    Liked by 1 person

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