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Talking to Dispensary Workers About Body Odor

A colleague needs a shower. A co-worker should wear socks. A dispensary manager is asking if someone on your HR team might have a word with a particular smelly Budtender. As summer nears, how to address the issue of body odor is a real concern in the dispensary workplace. Here are some do’s and don’ts for addressing this problem.

Do have a dress code that also addresses hygiene. A dress code typically requests that dispensary employees exercise good judgment regarding their appearance and hygiene. Additional language may express the employer’s expectation that employees will use deodorant or antiperspirant to minimize odor.

But these policies also should ask dispensary employees to refrain from wearing fragrances that might offend or affect those with allergies. Expectations and standards take the guesswork out of many situations. If you are discussing body odor with a dispensary worker, it is very helpful to a policy.

Other opportunities to set workplace expectations are during orientation and onboarding. Ideally, these expectations should be communicated in person, not electronically, because the former tend to be more effective. Don’t jump to conclusions, but don’t avoid the situation.

Urban and Browne agree that whoever handles the problem should first investigate the circumstances to ensure that those complaining have a legitimate reason for doing so. Sometimes people are mean or petty so don’t overreact and fly into this.

But when body odor is strong, it can be very distracting. People may not want to work directly or even communicate with a person if they feel odor is a problem. If the dispensary employee is not aware that the body odor is the reason people cringe when they enter a room, the employee could incorrectly blame their co-workers’ or manager’s reactions to them on something else completely.

This is one reason this should be addressed as soon as possible. If issues are allowed to linger, that only increases the risk that the employee with the body odor problem may be subject to ridicule by their colleagues. Do approach the person.

Legitimate Dispensary Worker Odor Issues

If the complaint is legitimate, it’s important to address it quickly. A Dispensary Budtender with bad hygiene can reflect poorly on a company, particularly if the worker interacts in person with clients, customers or the public. HR or a dispensary manager should handle the issue because peer-to-peer conversations about the matter can be less effective and can lack the gravity of a supervisor-to-subordinate conversation.

The most important thing to remember when approaching a worker is to treat him or her with dignity. This could be very embarrassing, and you need to be empathetic. Such conversations should always take place in private. Having a conversation about body odor is a tough topic, and nobody likes to talk about it.

It is something you should think out before blurting out. Think about how you would want to hear it, then discreetly take the person aside and address it. At the same time, you are also trying to get the message across that the person needs to do something about this or disciplinary action could result.

One approach is to say something along the lines of ‘I want to let you know that your deodorant isn’t working. You may want to try another brand.‘ “This way, the speaker comes across as presuming the person already takes steps to deal with body odor but lets them know they need to try something else.

Do be sensitive to cultural norms and medical conditions. A dispensary workplace policy should recognize that an employee’s religious, ethical or moral beliefs or an employee’s medical condition or disability may prevent them from complying with the policy as written.

If there is an underlying medical condition causing the odor, ask the employee to obtain a doctor’s note regarding the condition and the doctor’s recommendation for handling it. In such circumstances, there should be reasonable accommodations for disabilities and religious beliefs.

Can the person work from home? Work in a different dispensary or workspace? Does the dispensary workplace need better ventilation?

Let us know what you think.