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What Do You Do About Co-Workers' Strong Perfume?

What Do You Do About Co-Workers' Strong Perfume?

Have you ever had to work with someone who practically bathes in perfume? Me too, but I never thought about calling a lawyer about it. Not so for Susan McBride, a worker for the city of Detroit. She filed a lawsuit because her co-worker's perfume made it difficult for her to breathe. Her lawyer settled the case out of court, and yes, there's money involved.

While I probably wouldn't get all Matlock about something like this, I've had to work with people who wear strong perfume, and it isn't fun. Most of the time, I suck it up until I can't breathe, and then I feel like a jerk when I gently explain that I have a very sensitive nose (true!), yada yada. When this happens to you, what do you do?

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princessangry princessangry 7 years
I don't mind people wearing perfume - as long as they're not SATURATED in it! I have a co-worker who CANNOT apply perfume like a normal person - she has been seen to start at the top of her arm and spray the whole way down, until the perfume is literally dripping from her forearm. She insisted on this routine in our (tiny) break room until we all told her we couldn't breathe! She laughed, because we said it with a smile, but she is much better now! :)
Glittersniffer Glittersniffer 7 years
The snark in me says to leave a note on their keyboard saying "Nice perfume...must you MARINATE in it?" but I know that won't solve anything. Still tempting though.I have issues with musk fragrances, and an old cube-mate (yes, we had to share at a temp job I worked for 6 months) LIVED in it. THAT was fun. I eventually just asked to be moved, since I had to be near a certain piece of equipment anyhow, which had an open cube nearer to it. RELIEF!
Glittersniffer Glittersniffer 7 years
The snark in me says to leave a note on their keyboard saying "Nice perfume...must you MARINATE in it?" but I know that won't solve anything. Still tempting though. I have issues with musk fragrances, and an old cube-mate (yes, we had to share at a temp job I worked for 6 months) LIVED in it. THAT was fun. I eventually just asked to be moved, since I had to be near a certain piece of equipment anyhow, which had an open cube nearer to it. RELIEF!
mek123 mek123 7 years
I've asked people to tone down the perfume both as a co-worker and as a manager, most people (men are just as guilty) will co-operate.
Autumns_Elegy Autumns_Elegy 7 years
I'm allergic to a lot of perfumes (not all which is odd) and have broken out in rashes because of a coworkers perfume.I just gently explained that I was allergic to her perfume, and if she could not spray it about when I was working with her.Thankfully she swapped perfumes to something that smells much nicer and doesn't make me ill.
Autumns_Elegy Autumns_Elegy 7 years
I'm allergic to a lot of perfumes (not all which is odd) and have broken out in rashes because of a coworkers perfume. I just gently explained that I was allergic to her perfume, and if she could not spray it about when I was working with her. Thankfully she swapped perfumes to something that smells much nicer and doesn't make me ill.
EvieJ EvieJ 7 years
I have a very senstive nose and suffer migraines (although, fortunately, not many of the other problems other readers have, you poor things!) and have repeatedly asked my mother-in-law to not douse herself with perfume when she's staying here - or RIDING IN THE CAR!! - but for some reason, she "can't remember" to not do it and I'm constantly wheezing when she's with us. And I now despise Chanel N 5, which is very sad as I used to love it.I also had to ask a woman on a plane to not spray perfume one time.I've never had this problem at work, so it's interestinig to see how people have handled it.
EvieJ EvieJ 7 years
I have a very senstive nose and suffer migraines (although, fortunately, not many of the other problems other readers have, you poor things!) and have repeatedly asked my mother-in-law to not douse herself with perfume when she's staying here - or RIDING IN THE CAR!! - but for some reason, she "can't remember" to not do it and I'm constantly wheezing when she's with us. And I now despise Chanel N 5, which is very sad as I used to love it. I also had to ask a woman on a plane to not spray perfume one time. I've never had this problem at work, so it's interestinig to see how people have handled it.
Ladytron7000 Ladytron7000 7 years
Wearing perfume in public is the new smoking. Please don't do it indoors.
SalescoopSarah SalescoopSarah 7 years
I had a friend who used to literally gag everytime I was near her with even one spritz of perfume. It made me feel totally self-conscious and as if I reeked of BO rather than perfume. I wear Chloe by Chloe, which isn't the strongest of perfumes or foul. I can understand different people's preferences to perfumes but no need to be so rude or harsh about it!
Ellenora Ellenora 7 years
Having asthma, epilepsy, migraine headaches, hyper-sensitive skin and severe perfume allergies, I have no choice but to politely explain my ordeal and if they could please where no perfume. I have no problems in my classes as I can pick where I sit but I tell all my teachers about my conditions. The only class I have any problems with is choir as it has no windows. I was wheezing and coughing really hard during my Christmas concert because someone decided not to heed my teacher's warnings and wore perfumed hairspray! The teacher managed to get the person out but I had to take my migraine medicine, my inhaler AND my water bottle outside the room so I could breathe again! I also had to find my cortisone cream as I had broken out into hives too!
tatsauce tatsauce 7 years
I complain to quietly to myself.
Jessiebanana Jessiebanana 7 years
It may sound silly, but if someone you have to be around to work with is wearing perfume, or anything, so strong it makes it difficult for you to be there or work and refuses to change, it's a form of harassment IMO and should be taken seriously.
Beauty Beauty 7 years
Last night, Sabs of Onsugar and I went out to dinner. A woman sat down next to us right as we were finishing our meals, and her perfume was so strong that we had to get the bill and go. I could still smell it in my nose a block away.
Beauty Beauty 7 years
Last night, Sabs of Onsugar and I went out to dinner. A woman sat down next to us right as we were finishing our meals, and her perfume was so strong that we had to get the bill and go. I could still smell it in my nose a block away.
skyslang skyslang 7 years
I love scent, but I never wear anything strong, especially in the office. That's just inconsiderate! Who was it that said you should only smell someone's scent when you're close enough to kiss them? This is a rule we should all live by!
skyslang skyslang 7 years
I love scent, but I never wear anything strong, especially in the office. That's just inconsiderate! Who was it that said you should only smell someone's scent when you're close enough to kiss them? This is a rule we should all live by!
AmandaG AmandaG 7 years
Some very popular perfumes also give me migraines. But at work I have a worse problem, a co-worker who refuses to wear deodorant. We live in a very hot humid climate and she becomes very pungent by the end of the day. Maybe it is psychological but by the end of the day I get nauseous. Many of her co-worker's have asked to move their desks. I work around the corner and it still bothers me.
macgirl macgirl 7 years
HAHAHA love the Matlock reference! Certain smells give me migraines and in my previous desk jobs people knew it and were nice about it. I think maybe they didn't want to pick up the slack if they sent me home with a puking migraine ;-)
DestinyA DestinyA 7 years
I am severely allergic to perfume - I get rashes, I can't breathe, I get bad headaches and with all of those symptoms its really hard to concentrate. So I have an agreement with my boss. He makes sure no one wears strong fragrances (it helps that they bother him too) and if someone new to our area isn't complying, I let him know and he emails them. At previous jobs I tried to talk to people individually, but there was always so much drama over people being offended that now I just let managers deal with it. That's why he get the big bucks. :)
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