My employee stinks!

Lynn - posted on 10/27/2011 ( 128 moms have responded )

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Okay, I have a weird issue here. I have a home preschool, and I have an asst come in every day for an hour, so I can drive my kids' carpool to school. (The carpool picks them up in the afternoons). My employee has two boys - 3 and almost 2, and she brings them with her to my house. The job is very easy - she just has to keep an eye on my preschoolers, do circle time, sings songs and do art projects with them while I'm gone.

The problem is, she really smells bad. The other day, after she walked in, I almost said "what's that awful smell?" because I thought it was the trash can or something. Nope, it was HER! She's American, so it's not a cultural issue. They don't have much money, so I don't know if she can't afford the water bills, doesn't take the time, or just doesn't realize how bad it is!

She's a "leftover flower child" - always wearing peace signs, and tie dyed clothes. (She does wear different clothes every day). We don't agree on certain things, like she won't send her kids to public school. She wants to "unschool" them, teaching them only what they want to learn, which I think, is a sure-fire way to make sure your kids never have a good job in life.

Anyway, she's worked for me for a couple of months now, and it's gotten worse. Should I not say anything, since I'm not here with her that much, or should I say something? I don't want her to quit because it took me several weeks to find someone who will work for 1 hour a day. How can I possibly tell her to take a shower in a non-offesive way? I've had multiple employees for 20 years now, and this is the first time I've ever been so uncomfortable about talking to someone about an issue! What should I say to her?

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Liz - posted on 10/27/2011

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Would you be embarassed or horrified if a parent came and saw/smelled her? What do you think the kids are all learning from her example that hygiene doesn't matter?

You can address this issue without firing her, to at least give her a chance to resolve it and keep the job (and avoid the hassle for you in finding someone else to cover that hour).

Sit her down somewhere private and explain that you're very sorry to have to bring up something personal, but that it is extremely important for anyone working with children, no matter how briefly each day, to set a good example of professionalism and hygiene. Say that you understand that she is likely to be embarassed by you telling her this, but that all you wish is for her to be able to continue working with you, once she's resolved the problem. Then tell her that she should take steps to control her body odour.

I had to do this for a member of staff once. As long as you can present the issue to them with an eye to their privacy and dignity, plus try not to sound blaming or accusatory, there is a reasonable chance that it will go well.

Otherwise I think you're stuck with firing her, because it's inappropriate for someone to do any childcare like that.

Good luck.

Elizabeth - posted on 10/28/2011

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Lynn, Possibly the kind, direct approach would work. Tell her that you mean no disrespect in bringing this up, but you have noticed that her body odor has become stronger over the last couple of weeks and you were wondering if everything is alright with her and if there is anything you can do to help. Ask her if her health is good or if she is having problems with her water. Tell her that she is a wonderful employee, that you really appreciate her, and that you are just concerned for her. Hopefully that helps.

Christine - posted on 10/28/2011

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You have to address the issue. She is representing you and your business. .

Sonya - posted on 10/29/2011

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Hi,
I just wanted to say, please, if you confront her, do it respectfully and with as much tact as possible. I recently saw a show about diseases where a woman had BO really bad and it turned out that it was due to her bodies inability to digest protiens. She did not discover this until she was in her 30's and spent the 1st 30 years of her life being ridiculed, passed over, and depressed. She wore tons of deodorant, showered several times a day, and even had surgery to remove her sweat glands to get rid of the smell and it did not help one bit. It started when she was a teen and she had no other symptoms. It was such a sad story. It turned out that dietary modifications helped treat the problem. Just remember this may not be a choice she is making, it may be a health problem that she might not even know she has.

Liz - posted on 10/28/2011

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Your sister is lucky then, Marina, to have found groups of people to work with who are able to look beyond society's perceived normal standards. I only hope that when she seeks a job, not just law school, that this good fortune will continue. I'd like to think that it would, but past experience has taught me to be cynical about such things.



You say you are pissed that people are cruel. Well, they don't know any better and need enlightening, but when there are so many of them, it's way harder to change their attitude than it is to fit in. I doubt most people intend to be cruel; they just perpetuate what they've been taught by the majority.



This is why I referred to it as society's 'perceived norm'; I don't necessarily agree with it myself, at least not when it affects people who have no choice because of medical circumstances, but then again there are certain things I wouldn't try to do if I had an unalterable body odour for medical reasons.



That probably makes me a smaller person than your sister, in which case all kudos to her.



All of those things said, I would still find it reasonable and justifiable to speak to an employee with a body odour issue. I would be tactful, kind and concerned. I would see if I could do anything to help. I would absolutely respect that employee's privacy and dignity. I can assure you that I would address it in as diplomatic a way as possible, so that IF they turned out to have a medical condition, they would not be offended.



There are however a lot of people who do actually need to be gently educated in regards to personal hygiene. It doesn't mean that we don't have to be tactful, but in such situations it does need to be addressed.



Incidentally, I have facial scarring under my nose that makes it look as if I have permanently snotted over my upper lip. MANY people have taken me aside to comment on this, including bosses, regular colleagues and complete strangers on public transport, several of whom actually thought I had nasal discharge smeared on my face. Because it comes up so often, I am no longer horrified, embarassed or in fact the slightest bit bothered when someone mentions it. I just tell them how it is, smile, reassure them that they don't need to be embarassed for mentioning it (because they invariably are at this point) and get on with my life. It's not the same as having a body odour, no, but I do kinda understand the stigma involved with certain areas of presentation...and I also think that anyone dealing with an issue like that for a meaningful length of time is probably resigned to the need to explain it to others on occasion.

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Katherine - posted on 10/31/2011

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***Admin Warning***

There are to be no more personal attacks, if I see one more I am locking this thread. In fact I am locking it.

Katherine
WtCoM
Administrator

Evelyn - posted on 10/31/2011

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If it is as bad as all that, the children would have told her that she smells. If you have been in child care for long than you know preschoolers have no filter when it comes to these things. I would think the embarassment of being told you stink by a child would make her aware.

[deleted account]

I didn't know that Marina. I thought I tried it before.... That would be why I rated your post as helpful and then unrated it. Now I'm going to rate it again. ;) Thanks!

~♥Little Miss - posted on 10/31/2011

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If you hit a rating button and dont mean to, just hit it again, and it will un rate it for you Denise.

Denise - posted on 10/31/2011

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oops I didn't mean to hit the funny button. I don;t find this funny at all. So sorry. I was curious to see who found this situation funny and what they had to say.

Vanessa - posted on 10/31/2011

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I agree with Marina. Just b/c society says it's normal to wear deodorant doesn't mean people have to conform to society.

I use to work for a Plumbing co. & the 2 owners (father & son ) did not wear deodorant. In the hot summer days it was obvious.

Does she do a good job with the kids? It took u along time for you to find someone to help you out? I would say deal with it or be prepared to lose her as an employee. You could say that she has to wear a smock as you made a uniform policy & make it smell really good by drying it with lots of dryer sheets or spray it with a body spray after she's done her hour, have her leave it at the daycare & you wash it daily or have a few on hand (don't allow her to take it home) but I would say u need to wear one also as a good example. She may say I can't wear that I am allergic or I don't believe in unnatural smells, or I have a medical condition.. just as Marina's sister does. Just for the record I wear deodorant & am actually a spaz about wearing it, If I misplaced it I would be at the store within 30 min's to buy another one.(Dove Clinical) I actually carry it with me at all times but that's my personal preference.

Liz - posted on 10/31/2011

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Martha, you called me a moron and said that my daughter would be a moron because I am raising her. You said a lot of other nasty, personal things. All I did for you to decide that I merited both this and your subsequent post was to offer advice to Lynn on how she could handle her concern in a tactful and respectful way.



Now you think I am 'resentful and hurtful to other people's feelings'? You don't know me. You have absolutely nothing on which to base such an uninformed and, frankly, malicious statement, especially coming, as it does, after your incredibly personal and hurtful tirade that specifically mentioned my facial scarring.



Until now, I wasn't defending myself against anyone, because your accusations weren't worthy of defense. I'm certainly not defending myself against lots of people, as you suggest. A reasonable number of people think that I made a helpful contribution to this topic.



Marina and I didn't agree on some things, but I wasn't 'on and on' with her and have no antipathy towards her whatsoever. I've rated several of her responses as helpful, because her viewpoint and suggestions were in many ways invaluable. I declined to take further part in our section of the debate because I did not wish to over power this thread...and I said as much.



Please stop making these groundless personal attacks. I don't care if you disagree with me, because I'm robust enough to cope with debate without consensus. I DO care that this kind of thing might get this thread shut down before Lynn feels that she has heard sufficient advice.

Martha - posted on 10/31/2011

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Elizabeth, i see you are defending your self from a lot of people, maybe the one who needs to be reported is you. Lynn only asked for suggestions and you be on and on with the other lady who is explaining you a view of the problem from her personal experience with her sister. We are all human being and you sound so resentful and hurtfull to others people feeligs.

Martha - posted on 10/31/2011

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Donna that is brutal and not a good teaching to the kids!!! what type of mother are you, the one who raises a bully

Jackie - posted on 10/31/2011

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I am so sorry you are going through this. If you lived in Austin Texas I would love to watch the kids for you. I know it is really hard to tell someone they don't smell so good. A suggestion I have is to maybe make a small gift basket for her with small size lotion, body spray, body wash, perfumed bar of soap. It could be a present for all she has done for you. Now, I am a 57 yr old woman who is a definate "hippie-flower child" However the people I was around well we loved to smell good. Maybe even some skinny dipping. Now to the problem of her wanting to teach her children only what she feel is important is really sad. Her children will be missing out on some of their best years of their lives. That is so sad. She is only stiffeling their growth in this ever changing world of ours. My daughter is 37 yrs old I raised her in Yosemite National Park from when she was 8 until she completed 8 yrs of college and got her Masters Degree. She and my Son-in-law have blessed me with 2 wonderful granddaughters, Gabriella-3yrs old and Madeline-1 yr old. I know it is hard to find someone for only an hrs worth of work. Contact some of the churches in your community and see if they can help you. Feel free to email me sweetie if you just need someone to talk to. Jackie--jlslocum1954@yahoo.com

Peggy - posted on 10/31/2011

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I think you have to bring it up to her, tell her she is a great employee...........but. It has to also affect other aspects of her life to. Do it privately.

Denise - posted on 10/31/2011

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well you could bring it to her attention in a very nice way. You could give her a girly gift when its birthday time or christmas. nice bath gel and lotion would be a good start.
You could let her know that the children have said something and you wanted her to know. Maybe she isn't aware of it because she is soooo used to it. I say go for it.!

Liz - posted on 10/31/2011

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Martha Garcia, your personal attack is way out of line and I am reporting it. Please, if you post in future, omit such attacks.



Note I am not defending myself against your insults, because they are so ridiculous that I feel no need to.



[Edit: wow, it disappeared fast!]

Nelly - posted on 10/31/2011

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before letting her go, I bleeive she would appreciate ythe chance to know what is wrong. you are the employer and you have reasonable standards. It may be hard for you, but yo uneed to tell her. You have these kids under your wing and their parents will appreciate you taking the lead on what's going on in the homeschool. Ask her to talk in private, not in fornt of the kids or anyone else, to avoid a more embarrasing moment for both. A recommended wording: "(name) I need to be upfront with you because we need to address a very important point for the school. We have noticed that when you come in the mornings your higiene needs to improve... I need you to wear a clean set of clothing after your morning shower and to apply more deodorant. This is very important to keep your position at the school. Do you have any questions?" Just keep it professional, short and sweet. If she complains or justify her position (not willing to change) give her the 2-weeks (or one week) notice and find someone else. It is a requirement for the job. Hope this helps.

Martha - posted on 10/31/2011

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you can also require her to work in a nurse type uniform. my daughter day care, all the girls wear this white with fun print nurse style uniform and are required to wear the hair in certain ways and not allowed to wear certain herbs perfume for allergies issues and not jewerly , maybe if you buy her one and apply rules it will help

Martha - posted on 10/31/2011

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Dear Lynn, does she really stink or is it that you have issues with people, you know certain type of psycological problems. i tell you, i have a friend she is a neurotic, and have problems of the head, for her if the person is not wearing fragrances imported from france or dress in highly overpriced cloth, they are bad people. my friend is drawning in debts because she cant afford the way she leaves, she owns a construction company & for her, everyone stink because they use "supermarket deodorant" and walmart cloth,I remember once, i picked her up for we were going to have lunch together and she was using her secretary Victoria Secrets perfum to spray the bathroom!!!
the lady told me it was a perfum that cost her more than $40. my friend didnt care, i new that moment the woman was an arrogant, narcicist, abusive person.
OH and taking care of someone elses kids is not easy, not even for an hour, i when i hired sitters, i demand so much because my girl is my treasure.
If the lady have some "smelly" issues according to YOU, them approach it this way, buy her a nice fragrace, soft and soothing, and said " i have noticed, when i wear the scent around the kids produce a calming effect. I want you to please if is not trouble, you can put a little after showering everyday so when you be with the kids they feel it and produce the same feeling. Or be straight & said " i dont know if is me (you) but i feel like this smell you wear, maybe you can please chang the perfume you wear when you shower, to come to the office. etc. and analyze your self maybe she wear victoria secret and you want her to wear watever you want. maybe you dont like her at all but need her because is convenient for you? if you are in miami, i know a lot of FIU law school students who are willing to work for an hour.

Evi - posted on 10/31/2011

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What I would do is just to set her aside (away from the kids) and just tell her in the nicest way possible. She might be so used to the smell that she does not realise hou bad it is.

Kristi - posted on 10/31/2011

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Yikes! Glad you asked that question huh? I think you are being a caring person or you wouldn't have asked for advice. My college room mate had the same issue and my dorm room smelled so bad my boyfriend didn't want to come in and it started smelling up my clothes. The RA finally talked to my roomie. Guess what, she didn't realize it and was THANKFUL that someone cared enough to tell her tactfully and privately. She was grateful and didn't get all defensive and nasty about it. I don't think Lynn is going to be an ass and walk up and say hey you stink. I'm surprised the kids haven't said anything. Preschoolers can be brutally honest.

Lora - posted on 10/31/2011

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Ah dead head, the best thing you can do for her then is get her some pachouli its a oil all hippies love it, i love it but it covers up every smell! I promise you if you get her some pachouli you wont smell her anymore if she uses it . My husband is a mechanic and he uses it (also a left over hippie) but it dont take much to cover any scent up and it will last a long time. Just tell you you saw a hippie chic at the store and she smelled great you asked what she was wearing and she said that and you thought she would like it. It is a very distinct smell and not as strong on as when you smell the bottle...But its nickname is hippie bath.

Pretty cheap too, we get ours from india so it costs more but you can get it at almost place that sells oil and a 5.00 bottle should last 6 months.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 10/31/2011

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Brandi, GROSS! See, THAT is a health issue. He is working with the public, making and serving food that he is handling. Is there someone higher up than him that you can address this matter with? That is truly a health hazard. Smelly pitts are not, but dirty from head to toe when working with food is. That is nasty. The health department could be called on this matter of yours.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 10/31/2011

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Pansy, all you have done is make me want to comment more. :)

Heather - posted on 10/31/2011

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Maybe doing a 'project' with the children on personal hygiene, what they should do and why it is important may be a good way. You could get her to do a talk at circle time or get a childs book on hygience for her to read. That way you are teaching the children but she may also learn something or pick up on the hint. Failing that once the children know and understand all about personal hygiene, they may well tell her directly if they think she smells. Kids are very honest and at least it would take the onus of you doing it. Good luck in whatever you try - I hope it works.

Natalie - posted on 10/31/2011

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Tell her you are doing a clear out at home and have too many body products, i.e. shower gel, bubble bath, etc and ask her if she would like some.

Bernadette - posted on 10/31/2011

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I dont really know what you can say, because I am pretty bad at bringing up personal things like that too, since it's very hard to say without offending her and embarassing both of you. Someone mentioned that it is only for an hour a day so maybe you should just ignore it, but I don't really you should - it's only an hour a day for you, but what else does she do all day? Chances are, you are not the only one who has noticed and perhaps they all don't know how to bring it up with her either. And in that case, it could be pretty bad for her socially. I think I'd want someone I know and trust to tell me something like that if I hadn't noticed it myself, since people everywhere else I went would know too and it would just be embarassing! It might make people start to back away from her and she may not know why people don't want to be around her.

A few people have also suggested giving her bath soaps, etc, as a "thank you" gift, which is a good idea but if she smells every day, chances are it is not her, but her clothes that smell. You said that she does wear clean clothes every day, but "clean" doesn't necessarily get smells out, especially bad body odour. A lot of people simply throw all their clothes into the wash with a bit of washing powder and that's it. That's great if the clothes aren't particularly dirty or been sweated in. I find though, that it really doesn't remove body odour - clothes with bad body odour either need to be soaked first in stain soaker, or sprayed thoroughly under the arms and around collars with a laundry spray, like an oxy spray or something like that. They are excellent for getting out smells (and stains) if you don't have time/can't be bothered with separating and soaking all of your clothes. Maybe you can subtly suggest she use something like this by bringing it into a conversation in regards to something of yours, just making it sound like an every day conversation - "oh, I have been trying so hard to get certain clothes clean, but the laundry powder I was using just didn't seem to be getting out the stains and sometimes I'd even go to put something on and it would still smell like it hadn't been washed! And then I discovered ..... and it works so well! Now I don't even have to soak things, I just spray this stuff under the arms of all my shirts and they come out smelling great." Something like that, so that you've made it about you, not her, but also thrown in a subtle suggestion. Chances are, she does realise that her clothes still smell after being washed, but doesn't know how to get rid of it.

Tracy - posted on 10/30/2011

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@ Brandi if you are in a group you could mention that you smell something bad but you can't place the smell then say somebody must have left leftovers in the trash or something and dismiss it as nothing and maybe he would get the hint if done properly. Within a group it could be anybody or it could be trash. Don't linger just make the comment in passing when within the proximity. An offhanded comment not directed at anybody might get him the hint with some luck.

Brandi - posted on 10/30/2011

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I wish I had an answer for you. I too work with someone who smells terribly. The sad thing in my situation is that he is a chef where I work, it is way beyond body odor now. It smells like he doesn't clean his butt, like he's wearing dirty underwear. I think you need to day something as hard as it may be but not only for you but for the sale of the children. I don't care how poor you are there is never am excuse for poor hygiene. Especially since you stated she changes her clothes, soap is not that expensive. I wish you the best if luck and if you have any suggestions for me please throw it my way.

Veerle - posted on 10/30/2011

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Don't mention it! it's only an hour a day and it's extremely embarrassing. these is no sensitive way to tell her

Pansy - posted on 10/30/2011

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Marina, you're beating a dead horse. Clearly you want the last word. Kudos, Elizabeth. Lynn, there wasn't a thing wrong with your question. Like someone else said, if you didn't care, you would just fire her instead of asking for advice. I can tell that you certainly intend to be respectful and tactful, you're just searching for opinions on how to do that. I think Elizabeth and others have given great advice and encouragement. Not sure why Marina felt it necessary to stay on this thread for so long.

Jennifer - posted on 10/30/2011

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If the kids don't complain and she doesn't look unclean I would let it along or buy her an all natural set of lotions and oils for her as gift. A lot of earthy peole are clean but they choose not to use deoderant and they feel washing their hair too often strips the essential oils away. ( that is actually true!) We are not a very tolerant society as a whole so what might smell offensive to you many not actually be dangerous in the way of her being unclean. Maybe a good old fashioned honest conversation about your differences and how to bridge them?

SHERRY - posted on 10/30/2011

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why not give her a bag with body wash lotion and body spray and a candle along with a card that say thank you you are a big help and this is a little thank you gift maybe that will help. there is no reason for anyone not to wash even the bums go to a bathroom and wash. you can get the stuff with pretty smells at the dollar store. good luck

[deleted account]

You are running a business and you need to protect yourself here. You face the very real possibility of losing customers. People will assume she is dirty, regardless of the source of her body odor. It doesn't matter if it is poor hygiene or a medical condition. Your customers, don't care. They will not want their children around someone who stinks. As someone with 10 years of Human Resources experience, I encourage you to speak to her, in private. Tell her it has come to your attention that she presents a very strong body odor, that it is none of your business why, but that she needs to take care of it in order to remain employed. Do NOT get into any other issues with her and document your conversation to put in her employment file. If you want to be extra kind, you can ask if there is anything you can do to assist her in taking care of the matter, but do not ask if it is due to a medical condidtion or set of personal beliefs. Doing so will open your business up to a lawsuit. If she volunteers the information, tell her you are unable to discuss the specifics, only that you are willing to make reasonable accomodations on her behalf to take care of the odor. She may be a nice person and you may be friends, but right now, this is an employment issue and that's the way it needs to be handled. You might also want to visit with your local state employment agency. They offer many resources for employers, not just those seeking employment. Good luck! I know this is not easy and I've had to councel employees on this. It can be embarrassing, but if you handle it professionaly and with sensitivity, you can resolve the issue with minimum embarrassement on her part. She may not be aware that she smells bad.

Patsy - posted on 10/30/2011

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Multitude of issues here mom. Smell is primary for sure but think abiut her views and how they could impact your kids. In this instance, I am positive I would begin looking for someone else or consider some other means because this one is not going to last. Sorry....

Laura - posted on 10/30/2011

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Do u feel she is doing a good Job? Do u trust her w the the kids? If so, u just need to figure out ur priorities. Carpool vs. Assistant

Rita - posted on 10/30/2011

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I take it that she didn't smell on the day you hired her? Maybe you could offer to give her two hours of work each day if she will be sure to shower before coming over. That is what I would do. You would be doing her a big favor, because you are not the only person noticing her body odor. Peace signs and tye-dye don't make you smell, but not being able to afford deoderant can contribute. Does it look like she bathes her pre-schoolers?

Shirley - posted on 10/30/2011

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Well. My friend did this, very shortly and politely to our HRD manager! She is the executive secretary who worked for the big boss, but I gues it is her personality that makes the HRD manager took her advice. She quietly came to his desk and said that there are products in the market that are available to help with bad odour. It was not a lengthy conversation but we are all relieved with the outcome.



So my point is: talk to her after all children and parents leave the premise. Address this issue unlike this is a life and dead situation. Keep it brief, direct, polite, do not use stern face but do not joke either.



I guess she needs the money. After all, you are her boss.

Nikki - posted on 10/30/2011

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I went to school with a girl who had terrible BO it was medical, I dont know what they use these days but in the old days it was called Mitchum which u could only get on prescription, i have seen it on supermarket shelves these days:)

~♥Little Miss - posted on 10/30/2011

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Saskia, I honestly don't know. She has tried many deodorants/antiperspirants. I know she has tried a gamete of natural remedies. It would not hurt to tell her about that one. She does not have BO constantly, it is when she is nervous, or has severe perspiration. It is not daily, but often. Thanks for the insight. I will look into a natural based Tea Tree for her. Since it is a natural anti bacterial, it really may do the trick.

Judy - posted on 10/30/2011

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Why don't you give her a gift basket with scented soap and body spray? Tell her its a thank you gift for all her hard work. See if she gets the hint.

Saskia - posted on 10/30/2011

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@Elizebeth, yes be tactful an gentle and understanding of her reasons if she has them. and if her reason is as u suggestd that she is poor and may not be able to afford water bill, maybe offer her to come to work a little earlyer and use your shower? @Marina has your sister tried tea tree deoderent? my mother had breast cancer and had the same issue as your sister and that is what her doctor suggested and it seem to work well for her

Nikki - posted on 10/30/2011

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I think you need to be honest with her although i can fully understand how awkward it could be, its unhygenic for your business and i am surprised the children dont comment as kids are always so honest. Thing is she will either fix the problem if she really wants the job or she will leave and u will have to get someone else. You will be doing her and her kids a huge favour in the long run. What kid wants their mum known to be as the stinky one. :)

Helen - posted on 10/30/2011

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My thoughts ... its one hour a day, get over it. She may not want to wash, she may not like dedorant, she may naturally sweat alot. Theres worse things in the world.

It took you ages to find her, and regardless of how tactful you think you are being, she will probably feel somewhat embarrassed or hurt.

There are worse things than BO.

Oh and the whole Shes American, so its not cultural - that common alone makes me think you have very little understanding of both tact and acceptance of others.

Lighten up.

Donna - posted on 10/30/2011

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I would take her aside and tell her that she has an odour coming from her and ask if she is having any health problems. If she says no ask her if she is having trouble affording hygeine products and offer to get her some. Tell her you are doing this not to offend but to help her. You have every night to not put up with the smell in your own house.

Elizabeth - posted on 10/30/2011

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Just one thing to note: a lot of the 'alternative' hygiene things like baking soda actually are effective, and the original poster's notes imply this woman actually does change clothing, etc, daily. If this is the case, she may have a medical issue that needs looking into. For example, extremely bad breath and body odor can be because of an imbalance in internal flora & fauna, so just eating yoghurt once a day might solve her problems. No amount of showering, spending huge amounts of money on more "western" commercial products will necessarily fix the problem if it is a problem like that.

And to reiterate what others have said - please be kind. It doesn't sound like this woman deserves to be emotionally scarred, though I agree if it's impacting you, you should raise the issue.

Misty - posted on 10/30/2011

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You absolutely have the right to say something about personal hygiene. Think of it this way, better you say something privately or God forbid a parent come by and decide to take their child put of your Pre-school because of her.

Linda - posted on 10/30/2011

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she's not "there" yet, we hope it doesn't affect her career, time will tell. Best wishes to you and your lovely sister.

Tracey - posted on 10/30/2011

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There is a whole movement that believes in soapless hair care, natural soap body care, and alternative deodorants like crystals, vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice and/or coconut oil. And there's a "natural hair" movement that doesn't believe in shaving body hair. There is a woman like this in my food co-op, and her body odor is so strong I nearly have to throw up. She can be smelled from 10 feet away in cool weather, never mind when it gets hot out!



I would definitely mention the odor thing to her. She may have a problem, as others have mentioned, like the inability to digest proteins properly, or whatever it is a college friend of my husband has that makes him reek strongly of whatever he eats, whether that's onions or peaches (he eats lots of mint to counteract it!).



The unschooling thing: your description of it indicates you don't understand. It's not "teaching the child whatever he wants". That still envisions the child has a helpless pitcher to be filled.



It's also called "child-led learning", which means the parent acts as a facilitator, providing the child with materials to pursue his interests further, strewing his path with various constructive things to get interested in. That might even mean textbooks and workbooks, but then again it might not: who learns more: the kid who reads a textbook with generalizations about what vets do, or the kid who works at a veterinary clinic? Real-life, un-dumbed-down experiences are often a big part of unschooling, particularly for teens.



My own unschooled son, 14, is currently taking a chemistry class with a research scientist *because he wants to*, and takes Latin and German and Logic because he wants to, and recently set up a shell server because he wanted to do some computer programming. For most 14-year-olds, those things would be either punishment or too difficult. He, on the other hand, given the opportunity to go to a good school, considered it punishment. Oh, and he also started playing American football for the first time, knowing nothing about it, and ended the season as a starter on both offense and defense because he had chosen to play. The kids whose parents were forcing them to play spent most of the season on the bench. It's a great analogy for why unschooling, properly done, can work quite well.



My own son has decided to try for full-ride scholarships at highly selective universities, entering at age 16, as is statistically the usual age with unschoolers. I'm standing back, getting out of his way, and finding the materials he asks for.

Jessica - posted on 10/30/2011

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You need to discuss it with her, I understand your hesitation but this could affect you and your business, if my child went to a preschool where someone smelled that offensive I would likely ask you about it but would also probably look for a better place as this says something about her hygeine and in a preschool there is no room for adults with hygeine issues. I love what Marina said! Keep in mind people often cannot tell what they smell like and may have no idea she smells so offensively and it could very well be a medical condition that requires attention. I think not saying anything to her would be doing her a disservice not to mention you as well as the children. Remember preschool kids often say what is on their minds and one day may say "why do you smell so bad" or "you stink" or they will tell their parents who will question you or her about it. Either way it would be easier coming from a mature, sensitive adult like you.

Lisa - posted on 10/30/2011

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Hi,

The smelling issue can be difficult, but is one hour a day. The other things you bring up may appear unusual to you, but I have spent 12 years in education (two at a parochial school). Currently, I home school because of personal necessities. Your comments, appear to be not very open minded. I did not know a lot about unschooling, but I do now and research clearly says otherwise now. Homeschoolers are scoring 35% higher than public schools on standardized testing. I don't thing your issues is with whether she smells, but major difference in educational pedagogy and cultural differences. Modeling for the kids, that others have differences in culture (including education). This is a cultural difference because this mom doesn't feel that bathing and vanity is of importance. Also, you are right what if it is lack of money issue. Demonstrating, to us that you are not being considerate of her differences in choices is not being accepting of cultural differences (just making you aware:). Culture is not only a name or color. My suggestion is to get to know her better, and find out more about unschooling and why she makes her choices by making friends with her in a professional manner. If you really offends you, have the courage to sit her down privately and explain that in your school environment you need to have an assistant that will be hygienically friendly to the parents in which you serve. Ask her if she can support that? If she can't then it is time for her to move on.

Jeannie - posted on 10/30/2011

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I have worked with men and women much like your assistant. Being in an office situation which required meeting the public every day, I had to tell some of the employees they need to shower and wash their hair. It's not easy, but in your case, you shouldn't hesitate. Strong body odors linger in the air and some of your preschoolers may be taking the odor home on their clothing. You may have parents wondering what in the world goes on in your preschool. It could put you in an indefensible situation if you tried to brush off a complaint with, "I didn't want to hurt her feelings." I know I would not accept that as an answer.

Nadine Sadowski - posted on 10/30/2011

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You can tell her about a shower,,, yet that isn't ur place,,,
she needs to be her no matter how she smells,left over flower child aside,,,U are blessed in 20 yrs only to have one,,,,,if u aren't clear from the start of hire, what the person should smell like u could be open for siutes or some realbad mouthing among others,, either way, u get to say to her,,,,May I offer u time to ur self and perhaps u could do a bubble bath and relax.

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