Saturday, January 12, 2013

Social Security office cancels reprimand of worker for "passing gas"; but consultants do have to watch personal habits


The Social Security office in Baltimore has taken back a reprimand given to a 38 year old male office worker for passing gas, which was said to “create a hostile work environment”.  Maybe it adds to greenhouse gasses, too.

The link for the Jan. 11 story by John Hicks is here. 

Where something like this could really matter is if a consulting firm sent a professional to a client site and the professional had this kind of hygiene problem.

Back in 1987, when we were working extreme overtime for an implementation at Chilton Corporation in Dallas, I got a SYSM (mainframe email) from a coworker titled “A Request.”  It read “Please take a shower before you come to work in the morning.”  I deleted the message out of reflex.   I had been in the habit of showering in my Pleasant Grove condo the night before.

Back in 1980, when I worked for the CABCO consortium in Dallas, a female consultant complained to me that I should excuse myself if I burped. The same female thought that I, as a male, should be able to change a tire for her.
  
I don’t know if this is a “roach” problem:  If you see one or two in a few years, you have a lot of them that you don’t see.

It would sound as though complaints from clients can be a big deal.  "BO" isn't just a problem for movies of Jack Nicholson reviewed by Roger Ebert.  These days, it’s extremely rare for that to happen because of sexual orientation.  Nevertheless, a consultant (from Britain and South Africa) told me in 2004 that he had been fired after a complaint of this sort from a client in Wyoming, from someone who had ridden next to him on a business plane trip. 

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