HR kicks up a stink over smelly staff

A survey of US HR professionals has shown that three-quarters have had the onerous task of telling staff that they smell bad.

Apparently, smelly staff are stinking out US offices with their bad hygiene, and HR is being given the job of telling them to clean up their act.

Guru thinks this is all rather unfair, and as we move into a more strategic era of HR, really not something we should be concerning ourselves with. In short, Guru smells a rat. So, intent on kicking up a stink, Yours Truly did some research to see what could be done to make employees freshen up.

First option: you could just give up and claim constructive dismissal. There’s nothing worse than being surrounded by smelly people and this could fall within ‘cruel and unusual treatment’ under the Human Rights Act. In the tribunal, just bring the person/people in and that should be evidence aplenty.

Second option: send them a ‘care package’, which has become all the rage Stateside. Just get on the web and order a selection of hygiene products, which will then be sent anonymously to the offending party. It’s like Secret Santa, but more brutal.

Third and final option: tell them they pong.

Voodoo is tool for union recruitment
While we’re loitering in the US, here is a cautionary tale that may be applicable to any union recognition votes that you might be having in your company.

A year or two ago, trade unions complained that US-style union busters were being brought into UK companies to stop them in their tracks. But watch out and lock up your chickens, because a scary development could be coming from across the pond.

A nursing home in Wakefield, Massachusetts, has accused one of its employees of threatening to cast voodoo spells on fellow staff if they did not vote to unionise.

Last month, staff at Harborside Healthcare voted 41-22 to join the Service Employees International Union. The company then filed an objection with the National Labor Relations Board.

Bosses have accused nursing assistant Marie Chery, who was the union’s observer during the voting, of telling employees that she would know how they voted because of her ‘voodoo powers’.

Harborside complained: “More than 30 employees are Haitian immigrants, and numerous employees believed Ms Chery’s actions to constitute a very powerful, serious, valid and credible threat against them.”

Guru thought this was an outrageous abuse on behalf of the union, but then realised there was a silver lining.

If the movies are to be believed (and Guru knows a ‘true story’ when he sees it), voodoo plays a large part in the creation of zombies. After a three-week course bought on the internet from a firm in Scunthorpe, Guru is now officially a Voodoo High Priest. He has already started working on the spells that will turn all his employees into mindless deadites, who will work 24-hours a day without complaint.

The best thing is no-one can do anything about it, or Guru will bring a claim for discrimination on grounds of religious belief.

Guru unmoved by cupboard critics
There are two things Guru never does: one is get to work before 10am (he reckons it gives him an air of mystery), and the other is admit that he is wrong.

So he didn’t know what some disciples were thinking when they asked whether an encounter with a stationary (not stationery) cupboard had the intended meaning. Take this e-mail from disciple Kim:

“Dear Guru,
Immediately after your article about the offer of a ‘company cat’, you wrote about being in the ‘stationary cupboard’ with your boss! I’m so pleased it remained static – it could have given you a nasty dizzy spell otherwise.

I always remember my father telling me ‘e’ for envelopes (Thanks Dad).”

It just so happens that particular cupboard was indeed ‘stationary’, as Guru had had nothing to drink at lunchtime due to a new company code of conduct. This might also explain why he resisted the boss’s advances on this particular occasion.

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