OFF-TOPIC question about an office thing

Subject: OFF-TOPIC question about an office thing
From: "Jason A. Czekalski" <topsidefarm -at- mva -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Thu, 15 Jun 2006 07:58:20 -0400

>>James Jones wrote
Subject: OFF-TOPIC question about an office thing

The reason for my posting this to this forum is that most listmembers
in offices. I don't; I work from a home office.
Perhaps someone here has some relevant experience with this kind of
and would be willing to share. Right now, I view this issue as being
rare and nearly unheard of. Yet, I may well be wrong.
My long-term girlfriend works as a manager in an office of a
and a co-worker of lower rank has been complaining that her (my
girlfriend's) perfume makes her sick or nauseated. My girlfriend does
wear heavy perfume. You can hardly tell that she's wearing any
perfume at
all. Her perfume does not cause complaints from anyone else.
Is this kind of thing an issue in offices? Thanks for your wisdom.

I first became aware of this issue almost 20 years ago, when we
lost my one son to repeated asthma attacks. There are a number of
issues going on here.

The first has to do with whether or not the scent is from a natural
source or is a synthetic. When we started taking my son to an
allergist (a woman with over 30 years experience at that time), the
thing we got lectured about the most was synthetic frangrances. This
doctor had a 90-5-5 theory regarding allergies to personal care
products (soaps, perfumes, etc.). For 90 percent of the allergic
population, their allergy is to the synthetic fragrance. Another five
percent are allergic to a synthetic coloring, preservative, or other
synthetic additive. Only five percent are actually allergic to a
natural component of the product, and most of them are allergic to

Someone in this thread mentioned that his wife was allergic to Lady
Stetson. Well guess what, Stetson and Lady Stetson were on this
doctor's list of worst offenders because they use entirely synthetic
frangrances. She also stated that this is why perfumes like Chanel
after shaves like British Sterling don't invoke the number of
reactions: they use natural essential oils for their scents. This is
also a big issue for things like candles and potpouris. Most of the
big-name commercial products are synthetically scented. My son cannot
go into any store that carries the big-name candles produced here in
New England ("the world's strongest scented candles"). He gets nose
bleeds and asthma attacks.

This is what got me started into soap making. I got to control what
was in the soap we used. I use natural essential oils and herbal teas
for fragrance, and my son has absolutely no problems. In fact, he
works with me at times, and has no problems. He can even handle
natural lavender, considering that synthetic lavender products are
of his worst problems.

The next issue is the quantity, and it does have a huge impact. I
Chanel on my wife, and I have used British Sterling since my early
teens. However, I have been around people using these products that
have made me gag because of how much of it they were wearing. A
goes a long way, folks. More is not better.

Finally there was the poster who mentioned ADA and "reasonable
accomodation". Be very careful here, as making the workplace "perfume
free" falls well outside the bounds of "reasonable accomodation". I'm
not playing lawyer here, just relaying what I saw a fellow co-worker
go through in her attempt to deal with sensitivities (I was her union
steward, so I was right in the middle of this fight). She went as far
as suing our employer before MCAD (Massachusetts Commission Against
Discrimination) and lost. Everything I am about to state comes from
MCAD's ruling against this young lady.

For starters, most of ADA only applies to physical disabilities. If
the sensitivities are psychological or psychosomatic, they are not
covered. They must be the result of a physical ailment. Apparently,
the allergist she went to (and whom she chose) could find no physical
basis for her problem. Additionally, when the employer voluntarily
offered to turn this in under Workman's Comp, and allow her to seek
medical care for her allergies at company expense, he had already met
or exceeded the "reasonable accomodation" standard. Finally, when she
refused to take the allergy medication that was prescribed by HER
doctor, she lost all right to any claim. This last point was based on
the fact that she had no reasonable cause to refuse to take the
medication. She admitted to not having any side effects from it, and
that it actually controlled the problem while she was at work. She
just didn't want to take it. Efforts had been made to deal with the
problem, and she refused to hold up her end of the deal.

So I offer the following three bits of advise. For those who use
personal scent products: keep it natural and keep it light. The scent
is suppose to add to your character, not define it. For those who
sensitivities, see an allergist. From what I have heard and seen,
sensitivities are treatable, or at least controlable. When a person
has a medical problem, they have both a legal and moral obligation to
seek help to control it before they start demanding that everyone
jump through hoops for them (and I say that as someone with multiple
allergies and disabilities). Finally, we need to COMMUNICATE and
some good old fashion common courtesy, on both side of the issue.

WebWorks ePublisher Pro for Word features support for every major Help
format plus PDF, HTML and more. Flexible, precise, and efficient content
delivery. Try it today!.

Doc-To-Help includes a one-click RoboHelp project converter. It's that easy. Watch the demo at

You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- infoinfocus -dot- com -dot-

To unsubscribe send a blank email to
techwr-l-unsubscribe -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
or visit

To subscribe, send a blank email to techwr-l-join -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com

Send administrative questions to lisa -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Previous by Author: Re: Poll: How do you differentiate commands, etc. in text?
Next by Author: RE: OFF-TOPIC question about an office thing?
Previous by Thread: OFF-TOPIC question about an office thing
Next by Thread: RE: OFF-TOPIC question about an office thing

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads