Need some advice about a co-worker

Ok, this is absolutely driving me nuts! My co-worker has horrible breath. I can’t stand to even work close to her. There is a part in our daily routine where we have to open the mail. We usually sit/stand by each other and have small talk while opening the mail. When she turns her head to talk to me I just kind of back away. I have tried to offer her mints but she doesn’t like anything minty. I don’t want to be rude and just come right and say it. Any suggestions?

Whew!! What a tough one!! I believe that honesty is the best policy. You need to just be upfront with her. Bad breath can be a sign of a serious health problem, dental problems or just poor hygeine. As embarressed as I would be if someone told me I had bad breath I would be MORE embarressed to find out later that EVERYONE noticed it but me. I would be kind but honest.

Reminds me of something someone said to me once… if someone offers you a breath mint NEVER refuse, they might be trying to tell you something!!!

I admit I’m a chicken and would rather do something anonymously. :twisted:

If that doesn’t work, leave an anonymous note on her desk when she steps away. Let her know that it’s a common problem but everyone notices and you just want to help.

I’ve never had a problem like this but I’ve heard that HR is supposed to deal with problems like this. You may want to talk to someone in your HR department and see if they can deal with the situation since hygeine is very important when working so close together.

Good point. I completely forgot about HR. :teehee:

Oh noesss, Silver. Why, why, [B]WHY[/B] did you post this type of temptation for a eeevil mortal weakling such as myself??
[SIZE=1][I](evil cackling)[/I][/SIZE]

I would (and have) just come right out and say it. I try to be as nice and all as I can but I won’t hesitate to tell them.

I would want someone to tell me.

Well I do know that she doesn’t go to the dentist, at least since I have been here (4 years). And she also doesn’t go to the doctor unless it’s a life threatening emergency.

I have discussed it with the office manager and she didn’t seem to notice.

I would think me jumping back everytime she talked to me, she would get the hint. :shrug:

Maybe offer the mint again and say in a low voice something about needing it, maybe mutter “lunch” or “garlic”…

Years ago I worked at a place where there were children and teens - there was one particular teen that never brushed her teeth and had dreadful breath - I walked in on a group of teens, all of whom admired this girl, and they were offering each other breath mints and were talking about toothpaste, sorta like it was something people just talked about. I think it went over her head, though, and eventually we had to have an adult talk to her. She’s an adult now - I hope she brushes her teeth now!

I don’t envy you this mission.

Well I suppose if you want to be anonymously obvious, you could leave her a trial bottle of mouthwash on her desk. Though I would just be upfront and honest with them about it. They might not like the honesty, but rather you than somebody who is TRYING to be malicious.

Because I am an evil enabler.

If the office manager refuses to do anything, your only recourse is HR. I don’t recommend the passive-aggressive thing like leaving gum/mouthwash on her desk, etc. That was done to one of my husband’s co-workers and he absolutely flipped out. Not good.

Personnel depts were created to handle this sort of thing. Go to them, that’s what they get paid for.

Good luck! :slight_smile:

Unfortunately, we don’t have a HR department. It’s a small office. We get along pretty good. She will take a mint from me once in a while, like after lunch. But usually it’s before lunch is when her breath is :ick:.

That is a terrible situation. Well, if you really can’t stand it, you have two option: come right out and tell her, or do the anonymous thing. The third option is, do nothing.
I have never had anything like this personally in my department, but a couple of years ago there was this woman on our floor in a different department, who wore the same clothes every single day. A gray calf-length spandex type skirt and a white T-shirt. With no bra. She was very well endowed so it was quite obvious. (I’m still curious how she dressed for the interview!) Anyhow, after a few weeks of working there, there were finally enough complaints that HR had to step in and talk to her about it. She got some new clothes and a bra, but didn’t work in our office much longer. Just last year, there was another girl that had to have a talking to. She came to work totally smelling like cat urine. :ick: It was pretty bad. One day it was really really awful. The girl who sat behind me went into the VP’s office (gagging) to complain. The girl was sent home to bathe. I kind of felt bad for her, it must have been humiliating to be told you smell bad. But geez, how can you walk into your house and not notice an odor like that? She has several cats – I myself have 4 cats, and cleaning the litter is an every day chore. She obviously wasn’t doing that.