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A smelly situation at work...


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Not sure how to handle this one...

 

I had a situation at work today where I was wearing an expensive perfume (Chanel) and a secretary who had a migraine headache at the time sent me an email telling me that my perfume was unbearable.

 

I asked another coworker who sits by my desk and she told me she couldn't smell a thing. Then the office manager told me to "go wash" in the bathroom.

 

I felt so much negativity coming my way that I eventually went home. On my way out, the secretary with the migraine was offended that I decided to leave.

 

Gaaahhh...what gives. I'd love to hear back on this one...Thanks in advance.

 

-MM

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Scents, such as perfumes ( even very expensive and beautiful ones) can indeed be a trigger for migraines in some people. They can also cause allergic reactions in some people, like myself. I break out in hives, and it doesn't take much- just someone walking into the same room as me with a particular scent or chemical on their body can do it.

This is why some workplaces are scent free. So, just to clear it up that it can be a real medical issue for some people.

 

That said, it doesn't sound like your workplace handled it in the most tactful and professional way. I'm sorry about that.

 

Perhaps you could ask your office manager about what the policy is for wearing scent, or ask for clarification. It may be something skimmed over when you were hired or in your papers you signed when you were hired, so if you have papers like that or a policy manual you might check there first to be refreshed. Or it may be something that is on the fly at the judgement of the manager, in which case, I'd just ask for clarification so there isn't a misunderstanding again.

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This is a tough one. The secretary at my work gets migraines, too, and she's very allergic to a number of things. Knowing this, I don't go into her office wearing any significant perfume. One on hand, you do have a right to wear perfume, but on the other hand, it's important to be mindful that, especially in a more enclosed space or in close quarters (i.e. if you sit at a desk that is close to a lot of others), others MAY be able to smell your perfume, and they may have allergies or other sensitivities to it. An expensive perfume, too, might be more concentrated in terms of scent, and it may bother more people. I have colleagues who wear perfume that is so strong that I can taste it when they walk past. It's similar to cooking food in the workroom microwave. To some people, the food smells fine -- even good -- but to others, it smells awful. Different people have different sensitivities to smells.

 

While it probably could have been handled better -- i.e. the office manager could have called you over and talked to you in private, politely telling you that your perfume was a bit too strong and asking you to not wear it in close quarters -- I don't think they would be out of line to ask you not to wear it to work.

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I've heard that a few times before and even i can't stand the smell of chanel, it's strong even if people who are fine with it think it's not. I don't get migraines from it but my aunt does, she even send out warnings to family not to wear chanel on birthdays because she gets instant migraines and bad ones!

I think with the mail she was trying to be as sensitive as she could to you but also protecting herself.

Those kind of bad migraines are awful!

So i wouldn't wear it to work anymore, you couldn't have known but now you do.

My aunt has it so bad, also from chocolate, that she cannot eat anything that has been even near something with chocolate.

 

That said they didn't handle it very well at work! That's just terrible and i would have felt mortified.

You couldn't have known!

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yeah, i don't get why the secretary was offended that u decided to leave. shouldn't she have been grateful since the smell would no longer affect her?

 

as far as perfumes go, i think some are quite pungent than others. i personally think chanel is quite strong... especially Chanel No. 5. i would never wear it. there are less potent flowery perfumes out there. and it also matters on how much you put it on. some people spray all over drenching themselves like as if they showered in it. that is quite offensive in my opinion. so, tact is necessary if you want to wear perfume. just a small amount on your wrists can make YOU happy as you waft the smell every time you move your hands. and as long as YOU smell it, you're happy since you're the one who likes it. but other tactful etiquette is to wear it on occasions. you don't have to wear perfume necessarily unless you didn't shower for a week or something. perfumes should be worn for special occasions, like on a date, or a party.

 

i personally like the smell of lotion which is not too strong and some people can still smell it. i also like the smell of some shampoo. i think natural fresh fragrance is way sexier than trying to smell nice by putting on perfume.

 

as for the secretary with migraine from your perfume, it's unfortunate for her so be mindful of others. not wearing the perfume won't hurt u, but wearing it will hurt her. do the good thing. i know u have the right to do whatever u want with your body, but choose to do good.

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Better not to wear it at work. Manager didn't handle it very well.

 

I am very sensitive to scents, and anything strong, sweet or overly applied makes me nauseous.

 

I think that your leaving work was a bit over-the top!

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Not sure how to handle this one...

 

I had a situation at work today where I was wearing an expensive perfume (Chanel) and a secretary who had a migraine headache at the time sent me an email telling me that my perfume was unbearable.

 

I asked another coworker who sits by my desk and she told me she couldn't smell a thing. Then the office manager told me to "go wash" in the bathroom.

 

I felt so much negativity coming my way that I eventually went home. On my way out, the secretary with the migraine was offended that I decided to leave.

 

Gaaahhh...what gives. I'd love to hear back on this one...Thanks in advance.

 

-MM

 

Albeit that sounds like an embarrassing ordeal, what everyone else here said is correct. Some people, including myself, have allergies/asthma and are very sensitive to certain odors and smells. I personally never had someones perfume bother me before, and I wear cologne myself once in a while. Is this person that was bothered someone you have issues with in the office? They could be doing it intentionally if so. But if this is someone you don't have "bad blood" with, well they could have been telling the truth.

 

My advice to you; save the perfume for weekends and nights out with a guy or friends. You don't need that for the workplace. The workplace definitely could have handled it better; they should have politely asked you to not wear that next time to work, asking you to "wash it off", that's stupid. If you don't like this secretary or workplace, I would advice you to go work somewhere else.

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Your work place have treated you appallingly and I salute you for leaving early.

 

If wearing perfume causes this little rose petal a headache then it's perhaps best if you tone it down two bars on that front and wear something which doesn't cause this little mite a headache and cause your manager to ask you to wash. Honestly, what a total overreaction to be a spot of perfume.

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Your work place have treated you appallingly and I salute you for leaving early.

 

If wearing perfume causes this little rose petal a headache then it's perhaps best if you tone it down two bars on that front and wear something which doesn't cause this little mite a headache and cause your manager to ask you to wash. Honestly, what a total overreaction to be a spot of perfume.

 

Have you experienced a migraine? They are debilitating!

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Your work place have treated you appallingly and I salute you for leaving early.

 

If wearing perfume causes this little rose petal a headache then it's perhaps best if you tone it down two bars on that front and wear something which doesn't cause this little mite a headache and cause your manager to ask you to wash. Honestly, what a total overreaction to be a spot of perfume.

 

You obviously don't have a reaction to strong scents, you are very lucky. Some smells affect me so badly I vomit.

Don't trivialise subjects you have no knowledge of.

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You obviously don't have a reaction to strong scents, you are very lucky. Some smells affect me so badly I vomit.

Don't trivialise subjects you have no knowledge of.

 

I can understand that, but what you think you have the right to tell someone what they can and cannot wear on their bodies?

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I can understand that, but what you think you have the right to tell someone what they can and cannot wear on their bodies?

 

If it makes others ill, you can. I wouldn't want to be exposed to it either. It is not like the coworker can leave the room to get away from it.

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If it makes others ill, you can. I wouldn't want to be exposed to it either. It is not like the coworker can leave the room to get away from it.

 

Yes the person suffering from a migraine can, they can move their workstation somewhere else. Women give me a headache, what gives me the right to suggest that women leave the vicinity I am in because they give me a headache? I have no right and must co-exist with women peacefully inside and outside the work place and I must respect them and not cause them to feel isolated or embarrassed which is what happened to the OP.

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I know of a few people who have had very sensitive reactions to perfume. It can trigger and migraines, nausea. From what I've heard these reactions can be very bad for the people who are odour sensitive. If all it takes is holding off the perfume until work is over, I think it's fair. They might have been a bit more sensitive in asking or telling you about this. But if it could make people feel ill, then best to not wear it while going to work.

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Yes the person suffering from a migraine can, they can move their workstation somewhere else. Women give me a headache, what gives me the right to suggest that women leave the vicinity I am in because they give me a headache? I have no right and must co-exist with women peacefully inside and outside the work place and I must respect them and not cause them to feel isolated or embarrassed which is what happened to the OP.

 

Ridiculous!

 

No. She simply stops wearing fragrance to work, which makes others ill. I think she will survive.

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Ridiculous!

 

No. She simply stops wearing fragrance to work, which makes others ill. I think she will survive.

 

Why should she? She can wear what she likes unless it states otherwise in her workplace policies. If I was the OP I wouldn't bow to pressure or rudeness from colleagues, I would carry on wearing the perfume.

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Do you not take in the consideration of others Itchy? If you felt that something you were doing was causing someone to be ill, do you not have any sympathy or empathy for them and spare them the suffering by something as small as holding off on the perfume or cologne till work is done? It is a small thing and seems very small a thing to ask.

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Why should she? She can wear what she likes unless it states otherwise in her workplace policies. If I was the OP I wouldn't bow to pressure or rudeness from colleagues, I would carry on wearing the perfume.

 

I'm certain you are popular at work. You sound very considerate.

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Do you not take in the consideration of others Itchy? If you felt that something you were doing was causing someone to be ill, do you not have any sympathy or empathy for them and spare them the suffering by something as small as holding off on the perfume or cologne till work is done? It is a small thing and seems very small a thing to ask.

 

He does not. He will get his way, no matter the outcome.

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Do you not take in the consideration of others Itchy? If you felt that something you were doing was causing someone to be ill, do you not have any sympathy or empathy for them and spare them the suffering by something as small as holding off on the perfume or cologne till work is done? It is a small thing and seems very small a thing to ask.

 

Is there any proof this woman has an allergic reaction to perfume? How does anyone know that she had a migraine from the perfume? She may have had a migraine prior to coming into work.

 

I'm certain you are popular at work. You sound very considerate.

 

I'm not at work to be popular. Popularity contests aren't a concern of mine.

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I've read many of your posts Itchy. You are a good man with much wisdom. I think you're a better person than this. Scents are not a huge deal unless you're on dates, and no doubt you wouldn't want to cause any one harm if there was something you could to do not cause it.

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