How do you feel about perfume and after-shave at work?

LogoDear Ms. Corporate Manners, 
I am amazed by the people in my office who consistently wear strong fragrances. I am very sensitive to fragrances. They cause my eyes to water and give me headaches. I have to use paper towels to open doors so that I won’t get cologne on my hands. Many times I am not able to concentrate on my work. Are there any corporate policies against wearing strong fragrances? There have been times when I have to find another work station or request to work the rest of the day at home due to a co-worker’s insensitivity. I have brought the issue directly to my co-worker, and it caused a strain with our relationship. I told my manager and our human resource representative with no resolution. Please help!
Waiting to Exhale

Dear Waiting,
In a business setting, it’s appropriate to wear little or no fragrance. A woman who wears perfume or a man who wears aftershave should choose a light, fresh scent and apply it in moderation. If you haven’t had success talking to your co-worker directly, you could try going back to your human resource representative to let him or her know that this is a health issue that is affecting your work, or you could just show the strong-smelling co-worker this column.
Ms. Corporate Manners

© Penny Aviotti and Ms.Corporate Manners 2003 – 2013.

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