Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Reader Shocked That Friend Is Glib About Medicine

DEAR HARRIETTE: I work in a place where people are not allowed to wear fragrance. That is OK, I guess. What isn’t good is that many people don’t wear deodorant. So instead of smelling something floral or even musky at work, I smell B.O. It is awful. And it’s not fair, in my book. If we can’t wear fragrance, at least we should be required to be clean, no? How do I get this point across? -- Bad Odor

DEAR BAD ODOR: Since not wearing fragrance is one of your company’s rules, bring up your concerns to your human resources leader. Be specific. Say that you do not appreciate the rule about not wearing fragrance, as that is part of your daily routine. Explain that you followed the rule anyway, but discovered that fragrance was replaced by body odor. Be vivid in your description, and ask for there to be a rule about cleanliness or, at least, wearing deodorant. If they won’t agree, ask them to allow you to wear a fragrance.

If they don’t give at all, you will have to decide if you can work in that environment. Indeed, you may want to wear your fragrance anyway. If they give you a citation or even take you to court for breach of contract, you can point out what you consider to be the hardship you are facing and sue them.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)