By Melissa Hughes - For Weekender

Let’s get real: How to handle a dirty coworker

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Dear Melissa,

I have a coworker with extremely horrible personal hygiene. It started with just greasy, unkempt hair, bad body odor and breath. Then they were showing up to our professional office environment in stained, wrinkled clothes daily. This was always irritating and gross, but tolerable. Now this has escalated into seeing them not wash their hands in the bathroom, eating messy, odorous foods at their desk and not cleaning up after so their desk area is swarming with fruit flies. It is so bad that when they are not there, their chair actually stinks because it has absorbed the scent of their body odor. We have talked to our manager and human resources and nothing has been done other than an interoffice memo being sent out about hygiene standards. Our job pays well so it’s not an issue of not being able to afford soap, water or a tooth brush. I am convinced it is just laziness. What do we do?

Grossed out

Dear Grossed out,

I think this is a case of “there’s one in every crowd” I think every office has a horrible story of a gross coworker but it sounds like this guy has taken it to a new extreme! Since going to upper management hasn’t helped, I might suggest the passive aggressive approach of leaving deodorant, air fresheners or Clorox wipes on their desk. Maybe they will get the hint? If that doesn’t work, honesty is the best policy. You can’t be expected to work in that kind of unsanitary environment. Maybe you should try to talk to them directly. It might hurt their feelings, but maybe it will be a wake up call. At this point, an angry coworker would be better than having to deal with their grotesque habits daily. Good Luck!


By Melissa Hughes

For Weekender

Have a question or need some advice from Melissa? Email here at [email protected] - Melissa has a weekly TV segment on PA Live, WBRE, discussing activities in Weekender and a Girl Talk radio segment every Wednesday on 98.5 KRZ.