Moral question…


  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    I fired someone today, because he stunk, literally

    He smelled like a combination of garbage, piss, and rotten cream-cheese milkshake all the time… it smelled so bad, you could actually tell -how long- ago he was in a particular room etc… or his distance from you in the building (Imagine a 7 story Costco).

    Was it wrong?

    • I had politely told him once in private…
    • A week of -no change- and I said it out-loud to him in front of a group of people…
    • Another week of -no change- and I simply dropped the bomb, you F’n STINK, and it still didn’t seem to register…

    Today was the last straw.

    Everyone on the construction site thinks I’m a hero, and normally I’m just as self righteous… but I’m pondering if I really am, and decided I should at the very least -suffer- the wrath of AA.org’s moral compass.

    So provide your comments please… 😛

    In the meantime, I hope the smell has cleared my office from his visit by tomorrow…


  • 2018 2017 '16 '15 Customizer

    I always see between 1 and 3 warnings as plenty of fairness when in a position of power. They don’t shape up, they can get out.

    Good move. I would not even say it was rude, let alone amoral.


  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    Coming from you Hoffman.

    That means alot. 🙂 Thank you.


  • 2018 2017 '16 '15 Customizer

    Yes… I know.    😄


  • '10

    Hell yea you can shit can someone for stink.  Stink is a behavior just as any other.  Cussing, spitting on the floor, being rude to customers, annoying co-workers, all behaviors thousands get canned for everyday.  Why should stink be an exempt behavior?  If you want a job, stop stinking.  He’s on the wrong continent to go around stinking all the time.

    Don’t lose any sleep on this one, G.


  • 2017 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    You made a terrible decision if and only if he was doing a good job. If he was average, get rid of him regardless.

    I would have told him to clock out, go home and clean up every time he came to work like that.

    Reinforcing that behavior would have corrected the issue, since he would not get paid if he didn’t change.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 '13 Moderator

    I think warnings are right. Maybe two and the second should have been in writing. In Uk can sack anyone without reason in the first 28 days.
    About bad smells: I hate that. I have people who come to eat in the restaurant smelling badly(that damp clothes smell you associate with old people) and I have to tell everyone else who is working. I hate those people who do not wash their hair too.
    Or come in smelling of cigarettes.


  • Official Q&A 2007 AAR League

    @Imperious:

    I would have told him to clock out, go home and clean up every time he came to work like that.

    Tend to think this would have been the way to go. You should also have made written warnings/reprimand. The way you describe it you didn’t give a “get in line with your hygiene or you’re fired” ultimatum. Just telling someone their body odor is offensive and co-workers are complaining is not saying you are jeopardizing your job. If you did not make it perfectly clear you are morally in the wrong or at least guilty of poor leadership. If you were perfectly clear about the consequences you have nothing to reproach yourself over.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    If we were talking about a Marine who’d been in combat for two continuous weeks, or a U-boat crewman after a month on patrol, it would have been a different case.  For someone with access to civilized washroom facilities on a daily basis, there’s no excuse – especially since he wasn’t in a position to claim ignorance, because you’d made the situation clear to him.

    Anecdote: during the Korean War, when the battleship Missouri was operating in the area, there was an occasion when a group of US ground troops (I can’t recall if they were GIs or Marines) was given a brief break from a long stretch of combat duty.  They were sent to the ship, where they were treated to hot showers, a change of clothes and some good food.  The troops were very grateful for the opportunity to clean up, and the sailors – who could see how much their hospitaliy was being appreciated – jokingly called the whole thing “Operation Hilton.”



  • Personally I don’t approve of tellign him in front of other people. A very pointed comment, such as “Your hygiene is too poor for the workplace, and it will not be tolerated any longer” as a second and final warning is really all that’s needed.

    But overall, firing someone for smell I don’t think was wrong.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 '13 Moderator

    Marc: that U Boat reference is excellent. I am still giggling about it.



  • @Gargantua:

    • I had politely told him once in private…
    • A week of -no change- and I said it out-loud to him in front of a group of people…
    • Another week of -no change- and I simply dropped the bomb, you F’n STINK, and it still didn’t seem to register…

    I think you did the right thing.  If you want a job you have to take a shower everyday and wear clean clothes.  That’s true whether you’re a labourer doing construction or a physician or engineer or whatever.  Or even if you’re unemployed you still have to wash.  Really is that too much to ask?  So morally you’re OK but this is Canada and you might be in LEGAL trouble because:

    Discrimination.
    You could be in trouble if the reason for the stinkiness is some kind of disability that makes him stink and he really can’t help being a stinker.  Like some genetic defect that makes him smell.  Sometimes you see big fat people who stink because they can’t wash themselves properly but I don’t think that’s really a disability because they can go on a diet and get some exercise, but Canadian law might disagree.  Another possibility is if he belongs to some cultural group that is required by their culture to eat really stinky food and/or not wash.  So if he was fat, culturally special or otherwise genetically challenged we’ll see you in court.

    Harassment.
    Its actually better that you fired him rather than keep him on and everyone start teasing him about his odour because then that would be harassment.  The fact that you used warnings of escalating intensity is important.  However, you have to have documentation of the dates and times and nature of the warnings that preceded the public “you f’ing stink incident”, which could be construed as harassment.

    I am assuming that he will sue you just because people who stink often hang out with lawyers who also stink IMHO.  So good luck in court.  I hope you can afford a good lawyer  🙂


  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    Great comments from all of you.  Thank you. 🙂

    The worker in question’s level of competence was poor, but in -construction- that can often be construed as -acceptable-.

    I wasn’t the only person who spoke to him - he just didn’t seem to care!

    Written notice at that level just isn’t done in our line of work, because local labour laws leave a gaping loophole in our industry.  Anyone paid by the hour can be layed off at anytime, for “shortage of work”. IE If you’re incompetent, or I don’t believe I have anything for you to do, you can be released with 15 minutes notice; conversly labourers are paid considerably well.

    The concept of sending the individual home for this indescrition is great! I wish I had seen this issue with those glasses on.  It’s common to send people home if they don’t bring the right tools, or safety equipment like boots etc to the job, because they’re not prepared to work.

    The odour was just so intense… my mind and judgement were clouded! 😛  Similar to the concept of trying to make decisions, and carry on conversation whilst enduring extreme pain/naseua.

    Back to the written thing… can you imagine delivering someone a piece of paper on company letterhead that says they stink? LOL.  Frimmel if you’re prepared to do just that, want a job? 😉


  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    Harassment.
    Its actually better that you fired him rather than keep him on and everyone start teasing him about his odour because then that would be harassment.  The fact that you used warnings of escalating intensity is important.  However, you have to have documentation of the dates and times and nature of the warnings that preceded the public “you f’ing stink incident”, which could be construed as harassment.

    Yes he was harassed regularily… but it took time, like with me, to scale up.

    There are two other trades on-site that actually documented this condition in their tool box safety minutes, to which I was required to respond via email that the issue was being dealt with.  The second verbal warning is also noted in my daily safety inspection report.  In retrospect I probably could have just printed those and handed them to the worker in question.  But isn’t that a bit cruel? lol…  I believe I did make it clear his employment was on the line, but from my notes it’s a bit ambiguous.  “There have been several hygenic complaints about -Soandso-, he MUST improve his personal hygiene, and I spoke to him about it today.”

    Cruel or not, I suppose forwarded paperwork is the better part of valor for next time (I’m hoping there won’t be one).


  • '12

    When I’ve had to fire people it was a 3 step ‘official’ process.  Dropping hints initially is important as it does not have to be documented.  Once those steps fail then….

    Step one.  Verbal warning.  This is of course documented prior to it being given and a note on how that went, dated and signed by yours truly.  There should be the problem “You stink”, consequences as you can imagine them, and solution.  Bathe.

    Step two.  Written warning, pretty much the same thing but this time the employee signs off, if they refuse which has happened to me, you document this too.

    Step three.  Preparation of termination pay and an escort off premises.


  • Official Q&A 2007 AAR League

    Well written notice might have better sent the message that it was going to cost him his employment and this wasn’t a game. It is also department of CYA (cover your a**.) But if that sort of thing is not done well…

    I’d think written would be far more preferable than any sort of private conversation in an enclosed space.  🙂


  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    long sniff

    Ahhhh…. Fresh Air. 🙂



  • This topic has motivated me to keep discussing with my boys (age 9, 7 and 3) about cleaning themselves. My oldest is starting to smell and only wants to get wet in the shower.


  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    For those of you looking for an LOL this morning, I thought I’d resurrect  this thread! 😛


  • 2017 '16 '15

    Ha Ha! Hadn’t seen it

    The only thing I would have done differently is fire him the second time.  Never try and be nice to people when they’re just going to try and screw you over anyway.  They’ll take it as a weakness and see how much they can get.  Douchebags  like that are a dime a dozen in the construction world.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 '13

    @ABWorsham:

    This topic has motivated me to keep discussing with my boys (age 9, 7 and 3) about cleaning themselves. My oldest is starting to smell and only wants to get wet in the shower.

    tell him he will get exponentially more positive lady attention and really good CLEAN and dirty action if he washes frequently.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 '13

    But to answer your question GARG, it is always good to let someone go, for any valid reason, a lesson a mentor taught me long ago. Everyone stands straighter afterwards or perhaps they use soap the next time they shower!

    And it sounds like the general morale will improve once the “frenchie” is gone.


  • 2017 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    AS i said before… if they smell send them home and require them to be odor free to work.

    Then soon the problem fixes itself. Now since losing his job, he will never take a shower!

    You just made the problem last longer.



  • I recently got reviewed for my 2012 performance. 
    No raise 😞 .

    The performance review form allocated an area of team building that was worth 10% of my rating. 
    There was another 10% for considering how “savvy” I was in the comany culture and leveraging the brand.
    I get to work from home alot, but I did shower before the in office days.

    Some corporations are even more ruthless;  GE, during the Jack Welch heydey of the 90’s , would annually promte the 10% and also terminate the bottom 10% every year.  Folks would shower often for those jobs.


  • 2018 '16 '13 '12

    Wow, a thread twice resurrected… But because I didn’t get to comment the first time:

    As a guy who literally got the stink talk directly from the one and only “Gargantua” on that same work-site: I can say this guy had fair warning and would still have a job today if he knew his armpit from a hole in the ground. Gargantua cares too much about getting the gad-damn job done to let a competent worker go without good cause and ample warning. Though I did like the “Clock out, and don’t come back until you have a shower and buy a speed-stick” idea. 🙂


Log in to reply
 

Suggested Topics

  • 11
  • 15
  • 9
  • 17
  • 11
  • 1
  • 31
  • 14
I Will Never Grow Up Games
Axis & Allies Boardgaming Custom Painted Miniatures
Dean's Army Guys

53
Online

14.0k
Users

34.4k
Topics

1.4m
Posts