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Perfume & Cologne in the workplace/school

post #1 of 42
Thread Starter 
There's a lady here at work that wears some heavy perfume every once in a while. (Thankfully not daily!) She's wearing it today and it's so strong that I'm getting headaches whenever I talk to her, and my supervisor is having problems breathing because it's SO strong.

So that reminded me of a news story I saw about a school that is proposing a policy that no teachers, students or staff can wear any kind of perfume or cologne in school, because of the allergic reactions that people can have to it.

I know that I choose not to wear any fragrance to work since I work the front desk. You just don't know who is going to walk through the door, and I really don't want to have to call 911 because they have a serious adverse reaction to my perfume.

What would you think about a school or business (besides allergy doctors' offices) having a policy like that?
post #2 of 42
I hate when people take baths in their perfume! I get headaches really easy when it comes to strong scents. i work with people who work in military dining halls and there is a woman that must wear 1/2 a bottle. You can still smell it when she leaves. I think they shouldn't ban it completely but should be able to single you out for over doing it!
post #3 of 42
It's funny you bring this up. I was the Emergency room last week having an asthma attack and one of the nurses had taken a bath in her perfume. I ran into the same thing at the doctor's office on Wednesday. In those cases I find it to be completely unacceptable to be heavily perfumed.

However, I do think imposing that kind of rule on other businesses is a bit out of hand. Employees should be allowed to wear a light fragrance if it does not offend others. If an employee does consistently come to work with a very heavy fragrance on and it is offending others, then that person needs to told by their employer to "lighten up" on the fragrance. I realize drawing the lines on an acceptable amount is probably impossible, but it should be treated just as a dress code would.
post #4 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbbysMom
Employees should be allowed to wear a light fragrance if it does not offend others.
I think you have captured the "essence" of this problem.

I had one boss who was allergic to perfume nicely ask me to refrain from wearing it to work. I wear a lightly scented perfume and I myself have difficulty around people who wear very heavy scents.

If there is one person in the workplace that has an allergy to perfume, then no employees should wear perfume (light or heavy) IMHO. If we are to work as a team then that should be part of the team spirit.
post #5 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by valanhb
There's a lady here at work that wears some heavy perfume every once in a while. (Thankfully not daily!) She's wearing it today and it's so strong that I'm getting headaches whenever I talk to her, and my supervisor is having problems breathing because it's SO strong.

So that reminded me of a news story I saw about a school that is proposing a policy that no teachers, students or staff can wear any kind of perfume or cologne in school, because of the allergic reactions that people can have to it.

I know that I choose not to wear any fragrance to work since I work the front desk. You just don't know who is going to walk through the door, and I really don't want to have to call 911 because they have a serious adverse reaction to my perfume.

What would you think about a school or business (besides allergy doctors' offices) having a policy like that?
well, i wouldn't have a problem with it because certain perfumes give me migraines. i don't mind if perfume is heavy/overpowering unless it's one of those. but i rarely wear perfume anymore...sometimes a light body spray.
post #6 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosemite
If there is one person in the workplace that has an allergy to perfume, then no employees should wear perfume (light or heavy) IMHO. If we are to work as a team then that should be part of the team spirit.
I agree. I think in a lot of cases, co-workers or a supervisor having a word with the "offending party" should be enough.
Last September, several teachers and students were having sneezing fits. At first we thought it was the new building, but gradually people realized that it was mainly happening in the teachers' lounge and the Spanish classrooms, and we all sat down to discuss it. One of the Spanish teachers had gotten a bottle of cologne from his wife for his birthday, and as soon as he stopped using it, the sneezing stopped. He wasn't wearing too much, and it actually smelled quite good, but for some reason it set a lot of people off.
post #7 of 42
Being a perfume senative girl myself I wear rosewater... I have yet to find anyone offended by it
post #8 of 42
We can't wear perfume at the hospital. We have to be careful of our bath products even, that they can't be smelled when we arrive. For some reason perfume rarely bothers my asthma. It has to be very strong or just sprayed. I have a couple different kinds of perfumes that I wear frequently, but you have to hug me to smell them! I think that if you just spray the perfume in front of you and just walk into it quickly you won't have nearly the problem as people who spray themselves several times. I used to sell perfumes at a department store and it amazed me how many times women and men would spritz themselves.
post #9 of 42
I agree with what seems to be the consensus here, that it shouldn't be necessary for there to be a complete ban on fragrance in the workplace -- common sense, and common decency, and communication when someone's fragrance is causing a problem, should be all that's required.

Given the way some people seem to have marinated in their fragrance, though, it doesn't surprise me that a complete ban would be contemplated in some situations, and I'd rather see a complete ban than people getting sick. Not that it would have much effect on me, because I so seldom wear any fragrance anyway, that to forego it entirely would be no big deal.
post #10 of 42
my work place has it in the dress code, that no over powering, perfumes and such can be worn.

So far no one even wears any.

the pheremones (sp?) in some perfumes can set some dogs off. and being a kennel we wanna be as safe as possible.
post #11 of 42
I hate it when people wear overpowering perfume like that. I only wear light fragrances from Bath & Body Works - I wear their Sweet Pea, and its really light. Sometimes I will only wear body lotion, which has a very light sent.

Since I work the front desk I don't want to be overpowering and send people away!
post #12 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by rapunzel47
I agree with what seems to be the consensus here, that it shouldn't be necessary for there to be a complete ban on fragrance in the workplace -- common sense, and common decency, and communication when someone's fragrance is causing a problem, should be all that's required.
Ah, but there's the rub. If you ask some people not to wear it they'll start screaming discrimination because you allow other people to wear perfume (even though it's a different fragrance). I'm sure we are all familiar with those types of folks, i.e., if I can't wear perfume, how come she can mentality.
post #13 of 42
I do not think perfume/cologne should be allowed in any kind of medical setting. I cannot tolerate amost any kind of fragrance, and certainly do not want to be made worse at a doctor's office or hospital by someone that is reeking of perfume. I am particularly sensitive to musk. Not only does it make me violently ill, (I have gone into anaphalactic shock from it) it smells like a$$. I would rather smell nasty BO.
I wish I could wear some perfumes, though. I love almost anything Estee Lauder or Clinique.
post #14 of 42
Where I work at you can wear perfume, BUT there is a strict policy about putting it on at work. I work in a cubicle city. WE have several hundred people there. Some girls think nothing of spraying their perfume at their desk. It was so strong sometimes that I could smell it several cubicles away. I am sensitive to some scents and would get a migraine. They sent out a memo that spraying cologne or perfume was prohibited and grounds for disiplenary actions. For the most part, people are complying. I put mine on before I leave and that should be enough to last all day.
post #15 of 42
A good perfume should work with your personality, not over power it.

I dont mind strong perfume on other people, the exception being 'Angel' by thierry Mulger (spell?!). Whilst i think in small doeses it smells lovely, people seem to always go ott with it.
post #16 of 42
When i went to sicily, i took a bottle with me.. because it was so cold i couldnt smell anything i did about 10 sprays under my coat. My parents couldnt smell it but as soon as i walked into my cousins house where it was nice and warm and took my coat off all of my perfume set off around the house!
They thought it was lovely but yet i still couldnt smell it!
As soon as i came back to germany, and the bottle was warm in the house one spray is enough or else i get sick from it.

Its actually a light fragrance and noone has complained yet!
post #17 of 42
My nose is sensitive to odors and the smell of someone doused in cheap perfume makes my eyes water. There is nothing worse than sitting next to someone who REEKS of Eau de KMart or Woolworth's #5.

For over 20 years, I've worn Giorgio but, not to work. There's noone there, whom I want to impress or attract.

Some scents DO trigger a positive reaction in me: the scent of Old Spice is comforting (childhood memory) and I've been known to follow a man down the street, who's wearing Stetson (must be pheromones)
post #18 of 42
Quote:
and I've been known to follow a man down the street, who's wearing Stetson (must be pheromones)
LOL
It would be a shame for people not to be allowed to wear scent. People having been doing it for thousands of years and well, it's nice! But I completely agree with most posts here about a light spritz being enough. Sometimes a woman can walk past and you can smell the perfume in her wake. It always amazes me that someone can wear that much and not get a headache! I just wear body sprays mostly, because I get a headache from heavy perfume.
If your perfume is giving someone an allergic reaction, you'd hope they'd be reasonable about it. I doubt it though, that's why you need company policy I guess.
post #19 of 42
I'm allergic to perfume - get a massive headache from a small wiff of it. I'm taking a hard stand on this one. If people can't smoke in public due to the health problems incurred with it, people shouldn't wear purfume in public. Second hand smoke may cause problems over time. Perfume can cause instant ER visits. I don't think banning it in medical centers is enough - it needs to be banned in public.

I was on an 8 hour flight to Hawaii once and the woman in front of me showered in perfume before the flight. I asked the stewardess for the "non-perfume section" of the plane and she moved me to smoking (it was better than the perfume). She asked me to contact the airlines and make a request to have non-perfume sections in the plane (I did). She told me that she has so many people complain about others wearing perfume that it was a problem for her.

I have friends with asthma that have had emergency trips to the hospital over perfume. I have suffered thru massive headaches just by riding a bus, going to a restaurant, or going to a show. I just wish that people would understand the issue and be more sensitive to it. No way that it will ever be banned.
post #20 of 42
I have mixed emotions about perfume. I do 100% agree with everyone on the light mist. I think that most people forget that just because you can't smell it, doesn't mean there is no smell...it just means your senses have become accustomed to the scent.
I also agree with not having perfume in the medical areas. Like another post said, if you're coming in with an allergic reaction or an asthma situation, the LAST thing you need to be doing is breathing Chanel no 5!

For most business though, this type of thing would fall under the Hygene catagory of the code of Ethics. Yes, they bathed, but still if its an offensive odor to you, you can talk to you manager about it.

This brings me to 2 stories:

1 - I wish girls could be brought up with what's a good scent for your age. Last company I worked for, a girl was about 24 y.o. and wore the most horrid scents...more along the lines of what your rich old aunt wears. It was a really strong scent, and almost brought water to your eyes. I wished her mom or someone close to her would've sat her down and told her that just because its an expensive perfume doesn't mean its good for everyone.

2 - Coming in for a landing at the airport when the airplane hit turbulance. It was a rough landing and the lady across the aisle began to...well, bow to the paper baggie. The woman sitting next to her took out her perfume and began spraying to cover up the smell of the vomit. The mix of her perfume and the vomit began to make the rest of us all toss our peanuts.
post #21 of 42
I don't like excessive perfume or cologne as it does give me a headache if I'm exposed too long to it. What I really can't stand is when a smoker tries to cover the smell of smoking with a ton of perfume. That causes immediate nausea.
post #22 of 42
One thing girls need to know is that the same perfume that smells heavenly on your friend, might just smell like you sprayed yourself with Eau de Skunk. It doesn't mix well with your own chemistry. If you sample some perfumes or colognes in a department store, give it time to mix with your chemistry for awhile before buying.
post #23 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by valanhb
There's a lady here at work that wears some heavy perfume every once in a while. (Thankfully not daily!) She's wearing it today and it's so strong that I'm getting headaches whenever I talk to her, and my supervisor is having problems breathing because it's SO strong.
..................
What would you think about a school or business (besides allergy doctors' offices) having a policy like that?
Perfume does not affect my health BUT ladies' perfume on too heavily and MEN"S aftershave on too heavily is too much.

I don't think there could be a law against it but I DO wish people would stop bathing in it. I was walking my Ben, and we went across the street and some men were working on their cars and they smelled like they used the whole aftershave or colone. We walked back to the house and I found it had drifted onto ME! I had to change clothes to get rid of the smell!
post #24 of 42
Jen and I were in Old Navy today, which is a fairly large, open store. We were driven out of the plus-size area, by a woman wearing the entire year's production of musk.

Not only did my eyelashes curl, my nose run and my eyes water, my shoelaces untied themselves!
post #25 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by katl8e
Jen and I were in Old Navy today, which is a fairly large, open store. We were driven out of the plus-size area, by a woman wearing the entire year's production of musk.

Not only did my eyelashes curl, my nose run and my eyes water, my shoelaces untied themselves!
It is seriously not funny when that happens, but I'm sitting here giggling, Cindy -- you do have a way with words.
post #26 of 42
It gives me terrible headaches. I don't know why people are so obsessed with the way they smell, really. Take a shower and you'll smell FINE!!!! The most I do is use a little bit of scented body powder sometimes, and within a couple hours I don't think you can even smell it anymore. What gets me is that I run into more people who smell bad in the process of trying to smell good, than people who just smell bad because they are dirty.

Amber
post #27 of 42
I have a good friend who is allergic to perfume and strong scents ,flowers also make her ill. It wasn't until I had been her friend for a while that I truly understood how bad it can get for people who are allergic.

I try not to use heavy perfumes and usually only wear non-scented deodorant. You should be able to speak to the person and ask them not to wear such strong scent. Even some magazines cant be opened because they have perfume strips inside them.
post #28 of 42
I personally can't wear scents of any kind, even body spray. Non-perfumey scented lotions like those from Bath and Body Works are okay for me most of the time, but I've learned that if my respiratory tract is already irritated (like if I have a cold or the pollen count is out of control), I can't even tolerate that.

I think for me it comes down to common courtesy and a general dress code. A clause about overpowering or offensive scents should be included. A little body spray on one's wrists shouldn't be a problem but marinating in cheap cologne is just plain wrong, IMO!

And of course, if there is an employee who has a particular sensitivity to scents, like if it triggers an asthma attack or a migraine, then I have no problem with a stricter clause. IMO an employer's job is to provide a safe and healthful place for employees to work and forbidding scented products certainly falls within the realm of "reasonable accommodations" for someone with a health challenge. Someone's right to breathe and work in comfort certainly supercedes someone else's right to stink on the job. They can wear whatever scents they please outside of work.
post #29 of 42
When I worked in casino soft count, the supervisor had a perfume allergy. Since that room is small and there were usually 5 or 6 of us in there, we were politely requested to NOT wear the stuff. It wouldn't do to send one's supe into anaphylactic shock (her allergies were THAT bad).
post #30 of 42
Oh goodness! I hate it when people go heavy on the perfume. My mother is one of them and she has about 10 million bottles of it. Most of it smells horrible and I wonder how her workmates can stand it!
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