Q: I work in a ‘cube’ office environment, so any strong scents are easily detectable due to the close proximity of co-workers. I have one co-worker in particular who always wears very strong perfume/cologne that irritates my allergies and occasionally gives me a migraine. This interferes with my work, but after repeated emails to this person’s supervisor, nothing has changed even though the supervisor has sent general emails about strong scents to the department as a whole. Is there a tactful way I can do something about this without creating an enemy?
A: If you have already spoken to your colleague’s supervisor, then your best course of action is to go directly to the source. If the supervisor’s general emails have gone unheeded, perhaps it is because this person is unaware that they are wearing such a strong scent. Talk openly and politely to the offending colleague, and try to make them aware of the severity of your medical condition. Be straightforward but tactful, and ask that they refrain from wearing the perfume/ cologne at work so that you will not be affected.