DEAR ABBY: My workplace, like many others, is "scent-free" because of the possibility that some employees might be chemically sensitive. We don't know of anyone with sensitivities, but it's company policy. I changed to using unscented laundry soap and stopped wearing perfume when the policy started.
The other day, a lady in my office came in and announced loudly that there was a "terrible perfume smell" in the corridor. After what I think was intrusive sniffing, she decided it was coming from me. I had showered that morning and the only things it could have been were my shampoo, hair spray or body soap. All are normal, everyday brands, not unusually perfumy ones.
There was a lot of complaining and a "reminder" of the policy. It's unlikely that HR would take this up, but am I obligated to change these products? I don't want to because this feels like it's going too far to dictate what soap I can use. I should be able to choose the basic products I put on my body.
I'm also unhappy with the "sniff police." What should I do if she does that again? -- PERFUME SMELL IN ST. PAUL
DEAR P.S.: If it happens again, go to HR and have them explain the policy. I suspect that what it refers to is perfume, which some people are allergic to. However, if it's for more than that, then I agree the policy is heavy-handed and needs to be clarified so that everyone can clearly understand it.