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#51 Mollycoddle

Posted 11 July 2019 - 11:50 PM

View PostWTFancie shmancie, on 11 July 2019 - 09:54 PM, said:



Because the OP has already had the difficult conversation and asked that the person stop and explained why.   The sniffer has disregarded the OP's request and continued the behaviour.


So she goes to her manager. It's not HR's role at this point.

#52 BornToLove

Posted 12 July 2019 - 12:38 AM

View PostDr Dolly, on 11 July 2019 - 09:28 PM, said:



Born to love - I am keen to understand more about why it’s HR’s role to have this conversation.  When did having difficult/ adult conversations default to HR or management? I am not having ago, so to speak, I am genuinely curious.

In my experience, it’s often a lack of respect or inability to take what I say seriously, more so if we have an informal working relationship or they view my role beneath theirs.

HR brings a level of authority and seriousness to the conversation. More or less, for a lot of people it’s not enough for *me* to say stop, they need someone higher up the chain to say knock it off.

#53 FeralZombieMum

Posted 12 July 2019 - 07:31 AM

My DD (on the autism spectrum) does this - it's a sensory thing, and she is more likely to do it when she is anxious. She isn't aware she is doing it, and it's difficult for her to control. It's not just the smelling, but the touching of items. It was made worse by certain food chemicals. No matter how many times we remind DD not to do this, she continues to do it.

I would have a chat to your co-worker when she isn't doing this, and let her know she makes you feel uncomfortable as she's invading your personal space. I would say that your personal space is arms length - so stretch your arms out and slowly swing them around. and ask that she doesn't come closer. It would be easier for her to remember this, than to stop the sniffing of items.

You could also look at putting sensory items in your workplace, so she is able to get her fix that way. Eg a nice smelling candle in a textured container. Have it on the edge of your desk, so she is more likely to pick that up and play with and get her required 'hit'.

#54 Holidayromp

Posted 12 July 2019 - 02:57 PM

View PostFeralZombieMum, on 12 July 2019 - 07:31 AM, said:

My DD (on the autism spectrum) does this - it's a sensory thing, and she is more likely to do it when she is anxious. She isn't aware she is doing it, and it's difficult for her to control. It's not just the smelling, but the touching of items. It was made worse by certain food chemicals. No matter how many times we remind DD not to do this, she continues to do it.

I would have a chat to your co-worker when she isn't doing this, and let her know she makes you feel uncomfortable as she's invading your personal space. I would say that your personal space is arms length - so stretch your arms out and slowly swing them around. and ask that she doesn't come closer. It would be easier for her to remember this, than to stop the sniffing of items.

You could also look at putting sensory items in your workplace, so she is able to get her fix that way. Eg a nice smelling candle in a textured container. Have it on the edge of your desk, so she is more likely to pick that up and play with and get her required 'hit'.

Why should it be up to the op to manage her co workers issues? That’s up to Management.

The manager who this co worker reports to is the first port of call and if nothing done then approach someone else further up the chain and perhaps cc HR in.

I had my Manager approach me because one of my workers had an odour problem that had been reported but because I was his direct Manager it was my issue to sort out. Not HR or my Manager’s role.

#55 gettin my fance on

Posted 12 July 2019 - 03:16 PM

View PostFeralZombieMum, on 12 July 2019 - 07:31 AM, said:


You She could also look at putting sensory items in your her workplace, so she is able to get her fix that way. Eg a nice smelling candle in a textured container. Have it on the edge of your her desk, so she is more likely to pick that up and play with and get her required 'hit'.

OP might suggest these strategies but the co-worker needs to take responsibility for herself in these matters.  If that is what the co-worker needs, then co-worker finds it, buys it and keeps it within her own workspace.  There should be no need for co-worker to enter OP's workspace to get her 'hit' whatsoever.

Co-worker needs to manage her inappropriate desires in the workplace (and smelling someone's hair is very inappropriate) or she might find she is out of a job altogether.

#56 Expelliarmus

Posted 12 July 2019 - 03:24 PM

Heaven forbid OP helps her co worker out. Have we really come to this? Everything being officially ‘managed’ instead of building meaningful, positive relationships that provide community?

Honestly if I had this problem at work it is something I would be expected to address - with support from my line manager if necessary. And yes, I think it would be appropriate for me to provide support to my co worker as well, should it be required.

#57 gettin my fance on

Posted 12 July 2019 - 03:50 PM

The OP could buy lots of items that she thinks would be of assistance to the co-worker and be wrong on every one.  For the co-worker, a scented candle in a textured casing may not do the trick whatsoever.  OP does not know what the co-worker needs to manage her needs.

I also don't think having the object, that would assist the co-worker, on OP's desk is a good idea at all.  It only serves to bring the co-worker to the OP every time it is required  and offers opportunities for possible transgressions of personal space.

#58 crankybee

Posted 12 July 2019 - 04:10 PM

I am a teacher and have this problem with a student in one of my classes. I have had to be really upfront: please don't sniff me or any of my belongings, it makes me really uncomfortable.

#59 crankybee

Posted 12 July 2019 - 04:11 PM

View PostExpelliarmus, on 12 July 2019 - 03:24 PM, said:

Heaven forbid OP helps her co worker out. Have we really come to this? Everything being officially ‘managed’ instead of building meaningful, positive relationships that provide community?

Honestly if I had this problem at work it is something I would be expected to address - with support from my line manager if necessary. And yes, I think it would be appropriate for me to provide support to my co worker as well, should it be required.

Heaven forbid you could expect to go to work AND NOT BE SNIFFED. People just want to go to work and WORK.

Edited by crankybee, 12 July 2019 - 04:27 PM.


#60 Expelliarmus

Posted 12 July 2019 - 09:15 PM

View Postcrankybee, on 12 July 2019 - 04:11 PM, said:

Heaven forbid you could expect to go to work AND NOT BE SNIFFED. People just want to go to work and WORK.
Think about that student for a moment.

At school that student is supported by a community that puts in place a lot of stuff to help them manage this sort of thing. People are aware of the ‘thing they do’ and support the student with items and reminders and visuals and so on.

Of course the goal is to help the student grow, mature and manage things.

But this is not something that is going to go away. This student will always have it. And one day they may be the co worker and for whatever reason, even having been supported. And ‘learned’ not to do it - it might still happen - especially since all the support that a school community brings has been removed.

Yes. Ideally they won’t do it as an adult. But it isn’t going to go away. And it sucks that leaving school means they don’t even have a community that helps them manage it.

Of course you should be able to go to work and not be sniffed but what is wrong with a bit of support for someone to help them manage something they are struggling with? It’s not harassment or harmful. It’s a difficulty we could help with - if we wanted to.

#61 JAPNII

Posted 12 July 2019 - 09:21 PM

I'm sorry the OP doesn't actually know what is wrong with her co-worker and unless co-worker discloses then how could the OPs know.

It's a workplace and colleague needs to have appropriate support worked out and speak to their own line manager in this case to see what can be put into place to help them.

Many workplaces are highly pressured and OP may not have the time or knowledge to assist co-worker. First and foremost this needs to come from the co-worker and their manager.

Op has a right to feel free of this sort of stuff in the workplace and should go first to management to deal

It only becomes an HR issue if the issue doesn't stop (not suggesting the underlying root cause is resolved but there is a management plan whatever that looks like in place and the issue ceases).

Edited by JAPNII, 12 July 2019 - 09:24 PM.


#62 Expelliarmus

Posted 12 July 2019 - 09:27 PM

Have a conversation. “You do this, I’ve asked you to stop before because it’s making me uncomfortable. You’re still doing it. How can I help you further to not do this?”

A plan is made.

“Okay, but if this doesn’t work I’m going to get *manager* to help us.”

:shrug:

OP, hope you can get some support from the most appropriate place to help you deal with this difficulty.

#63 JAPNII

Posted 12 July 2019 - 09:33 PM

'us' assumes this is OP's problem and its not.

Yes I agree OP can ask again but unless co-worker acknowledges there is an issue this is fraught with the 'us' will find a solution or 'I can help you not to do this'.

And unless they have same manager then the appropriate way is for OP to speak to her manager who speaks to co-workers manager. Otherwise and if there are health concerns it can become a sensitive issue of privacy.

Many of these issues can become very fraught if the appropriate channels are not utilised.

#64 CallMeFeral

Posted 13 July 2019 - 01:44 AM

View PostJAPNII, on 12 July 2019 - 09:33 PM, said:

'us' assumes this is OP's problem and its not.

Well it is actually.
The sniffer is certainly the one who is engaging in inappropriate behaviour, but the OP is the one who is suffering due to it, so currently it is the OP that has a problem that needs solving.

#65 PsySquirrel

Posted 13 July 2019 - 03:10 AM

It doesnt help to speculate on the cause of this behaviour. OP is experiencing it and needs to know how to deal with it.

As there doesnt appear to be anything illegal happening with this behaviour, nor do you say that it is affecting your work overmuch, I would say that it is premature to go to HR at this point.

In your place I'd:
Speak to this person again the very next time they sniff the thing, 'oh hey, your sniffing my stuff again, please stop'
As a rule of thumb, if you've tried fixing something like this yourself 3 times then go to HR/your manager.

#66 *Spikey*

Posted 13 July 2019 - 10:26 AM

I suspect it's time you grabbed your union rep, or your manager, and had the "quiet word" discussion about that behaviour. It protects your privacy, and theirs, and they get the opportunity to correct their behaviour without public consequences. This is what I hope is your first port of call, and I hope that they are able to sort it out for you.

It is incredibly inappropriate to be sniffing someone's person - in a workplace, unless physical contact is required, they shouldn't be touching you - and they should be keeping it professional.

Touching your food and drink is absolutely a no-no. Germs are too easily transferred by people breathing on them. You don't want colds, flu or whatever other lurgies that person has.

Also, nose touching stuff? Eeeeew. All I can imagine is snot on everything. I'd not be eating a snotty lunch either.

Alternatively, you can do the boss version yourself.

When they do the sniffing thing, you say, "Colleague, can I have a private word with you in the office, thanks". Then you say, "I've asked you not to do that. Can you please explain what just happened?" Deadpan, serious, serious voice.

And then you wait with a "disappointed, disapproving parent look on your face".

Then after they respond (and not being able to respond, give then at least 60 seconds of uncomfortable empty space -time it), regardless of what they say, you then tell them, "I'm going to remind you this one last time that you are not to touch, or sniff, me or my belongings. If you cannot control your impulses, you will need to consult the manager about putting steps in place to assist you in stopping harassing me and your colleagues. I will be taking this further if it reoccurs, as I am entitled to a harassment free workplace".

Then leave. Record the conversation, send it to them and the manager.

So, knowing that workplaces, and people, are variable I have a back up plan, which isn't so private.  

If that doesn't work, it is time to play hardball. You get faux angry and chuck a 'wobbly' at them when they do the gross stuff. Say "Get OFF me!", What do your think you are DOING!", You just SNOTTED on my FOOD - and now I can't EAT it!!!!!" Demand they replace the meal.

Several hours later, you 'apologise' for getting angry - and tell them you cannot cope with people invading your space or spreading germs. Then rinse and repeat. The public anger is important - it isn't nice, for them, or for you, but it that's all that's left, it's what seemed to be effective. Try to keep your boss aware that you apologised for speaking loudly - and why ("I was angry and upset that my lunch got snot on it, and I couldn't eat it, and I had no lunch, but I'm calmer now and I am so sorry I didn't have that word in private").

Or you could leave and get a job elsewhere.

Most HR departments are useless, I wouldn't waste my time there unless they have a team dedicated to resolving IR issues.

#67 casime

Posted 13 July 2019 - 10:41 AM

Quote

Of course you should be able to go to work and not be sniffed but what is wrong with a bit of support for someone to help them manage something they are struggling with? It’s not harassment or harmful. It’s a difficulty we could help with - if we wanted to.

I think the OP's level of responsibility stops with the point they have told the co-worker that they do not want this behaviour occurring to themselves or their belongings.  They don't need to put out candles or provide alternate sniff targets.  The co-worker has been told that their behaviour is unwanted, and now the co-worker needs to take that on board and make sure that their behaviour does not impact upon a person who has not invited such contact.  

Even in a classroom situation, there would be nothing done that allowed the student to continue to sniff teachers or peers, they would be taught that the behaviour is not acceptable towards other people and would discuss with the child and parent how to change the behaviour, not to allow that child to just continue impacting their peers.  We do a lot of things to support children as teachers that another adult in a workplace should not be expected to have to do for a co-worker in a workplace situation.

#68 JAPNII

Posted 13 July 2019 - 10:48 AM

View PostCallMeFeral, on 13 July 2019 - 01:44 AM, said:

Well it is actually.
The sniffer is certainly the one who is engaging in inappropriate behaviour, but the OP is the one who is suffering due to it, so currently it is the OP that has a problem that needs solving.
True. What I meant was it's not OPs responsibility to try and find a solution or solve the sniffer's problem.

It is first and foremost up to management to stop the behaviours not the OP. OP has already done the reasonable thing in gently telling sniffer and trying to remove the issue.

#69 eilca

Posted 13 July 2019 - 11:38 AM

View PostExpelliarmus, on 12 July 2019 - 09:27 PM, said:

Have a conversation. “You do this, I’ve asked you to stop before because it’s making me uncomfortable. You’re still doing it. How can I help you further to not do this?”

A plan is made.

“Okay, but if this doesn’t work I’m going to get *manager* to help us.”

:shrug:

OP, hope you can get some support from the most appropriate place to help you deal with this difficulty.

100% agree.

Difficult conversations are tough, but needed.  Using the grievance procedure is a brave thing but the right thing instead of involving  people that do not need to be involved.

#70 VigilantePaladin

Posted 13 July 2019 - 02:36 PM

What further help is needed beyond "Please stop sniffing me/my hair/my food/anything to do with me. It makes me uncomfortable and I don't appreciate it" ? Why is it up to the OP to manage  their behaviour beyond that? By all means go to their direct manager bur that should be it as far ad the OP goes.

#71 JomoMum

Posted 13 July 2019 - 03:06 PM

View PostExpelliarmus, on 12 July 2019 - 03:24 PM, said:

Heaven forbid OP helps her co worker out. Have we really come to this? Everything being officially ‘managed’ instead of building meaningful, positive relationships that provide community?

But why does the co worker’s problem of being inappropriate trump the OP’s problem (for lack of a better word) of feeling unequipped to manage it herself?

#72 crankybee

Posted 13 July 2019 - 05:10 PM

View PostExpelliarmus, on 12 July 2019 - 09:15 PM, said:

Think about that student for a moment.

At school that student is supported by a community that puts in place a lot of stuff to help them manage this sort of thing. People are aware of the ‘thing they do’ and support the student with items and reminders and visuals and so on.

Of course the goal is to help the student grow, mature and manage things.

But this is not something that is going to go away. This student will always have it. And one day they may be the co worker and for whatever reason, even having been supported. And ‘learned’ not to do it - it might still happen - especially since all the support that a school community brings has been removed.

Yes. Ideally they won’t do it as an adult. But it isn’t going to go away. And it sucks that leaving school means they don’t even have a community that helps them manage it.

Of course you should be able to go to work and not be sniffed but what is wrong with a bit of support for someone to help them manage something they are struggling with? It’s not harassment or harmful. It’s a difficulty we could help with - if we wanted to.

Once you leave school your OTHER community - your family - should have worked hard to get you to a point where you manage your own sniffing/*insert random habit here*

If this person is working in a regular office and there is no indication of any special needs that have been discussed with staff then you should be able to go to work and not have to deal with this sh*t. I have zero sympathy for the sniffer.

View PostJomoMum, on 13 July 2019 - 03:06 PM, said:

But why does the co worker’s problem of being inappropriate trump the OP’s problem (for lack of a better word) of feeling unequipped to manage it herself?

YES!

#73 José

Posted 13 July 2019 - 05:33 PM

View PostExpelliarmus, on 12 July 2019 - 09:15 PM, said:


Think about that student for a moment.

At school that student is supported by a community that puts in place a lot of stuff to help them manage this sort of thing. People are aware of the ‘thing they do’ and support the student with items and reminders and visuals and so on.

Of course the goal is to help the student grow, mature and manage things.

But this is not something that is going to go away. This student will always have it. And one day they may be the co worker and for whatever reason, even having been supported. And ‘learned’ not to do it - it might still happen - especially since all the support that a school community brings has been removed.

Yes. Ideally they won’t do it as an adult. But it isn’t going to go away. And it sucks that leaving school means they don’t even have a community that helps them manage it.

Of course you should be able to go to work and not be sniffed but what is wrong with a bit of support for someone to help them manage something they are struggling with? It’s not harassment or harmful. It’s a difficulty we could help with - if we wanted to.

so, if a person has this difficulty what do you suggest?
all staffed are briefed as to the nature and reason for this difficulty, the function it serves and what they should do about it?
the person will be known to all as 'that person' and perhaps the problem will never even occur in the setting.
i assume with your example above someones permission was sought, either the student or their parent. perhaps the sniffer in this scenario doesnt wish to discuss their difficulties openly and would prefer some confidentiality.

if the OP kindly asked the person doing the sniffing to stop then the sniffer had the opportunity to disclose information about any condition they may have.
if they have chosen not to-which i feel is their right- then i think the most respectful thing to do is for the OP to talk with HR.
what do you tell the students if their strategies arent working? suck it up? seek an adult for additional support? its not about 'managing' or getting someone in trouble. its about the most helpful way to resolve this. HR may have additional information about the coworker that may be of use here.
i think the OP attempting to continue to manage this is potentially risky to the working relationship and work comfort of both herself and her coworker.

efs

Edited by José, 13 July 2019 - 05:38 PM.


#74 Expelliarmus

Posted 13 July 2019 - 05:34 PM

You’ll note in my further responses I’m only suggesting one conversation before bringing a manager in. I’m not suggesting OP handle it herself. I’m suggesting she support her co worker because that’s the kind thing to do but if such support is not enough - use the process.

#75 kimasa

Posted 13 July 2019 - 05:42 PM

But they've already had the conversation, it didn't work, so the starting point for this thread was following a conversation with an unsuccessful outcome.




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