Q: I started a new job about 8 months ago, and since I started, the woman I work with makes disgusting snorting, hocking and throat clearing noises. It’s almost constant – about every 2 to 5 minutes there is some kind of disgusting noise emanating out of the cubicle. She does it on the phone with clients, around upper management, just all the time. The people we work with complain about it, and we all commiserate about it – frankly it turns the stomach. I really think she’s oblivious to the fact that she makes these noises. I have offered various over-the-counter medications as well as cough drops, but she has not taken the hint.
A: It sounds as if this issue extends well beyond your own discomfort, and is affecting the work environment. It could be time to speak with a supervisor or HR representative about possible resolutions to the problem. Whatever you do, we hope you’ll keep kindness, respect, courtesy and honesty in mind, so there’s no embarrassment on the part of your co-worker, and so your working relationship does not become awkward.