Can My Employer Tell Me Not To Wear Perfume? (Answered!)

Written By Nazia Haque

Perfumes can be a hindrance in the workplace regardless of how pleasant they smell.

As an employee, I know how difficult and sad it is to avoid my favorite because my employer said so.

Now, keep reading to save yourself from any inconvenience in your workplace or interview.

Can My Employer Tell Me Not To Wear Perfume? (Answered)

Can My Employer Tell Me Not To Wear Perfume?

Yes, your employer can tell you not to wear perfume if any colleague or customer reports to you. Also, it is not appropriate to wear strong fragrances in a work environment. Many people are allergic to scents, so they will be more exposed if you wear too much perfume in a closed area.

Here’s a complete guide on How To Make Your Own Perfume?

Can You Tell An Employee Not To Wear Perfume?

Yes, you can tell an employee not to wear perfume if you or any other employee are allergic or have perfume sensitivity. And if the employee continues to wear fragrances, they can also be fired. Also, the termination can be considered ‘workplace-related misconduct’ so it can deny unemployed benefits.

Your perfume can quickly become private to not so personal if you apply too much scent or if your fragrance contains allergens or irritants. You see, we can not literally have a killer aroma.

However, if your fragrance is heavy and strong, then it can cause severe irritation for some; that’s something you must avoid.

You don’t want to stand out among your colleagues because of your scent. It can make you an outcast, and no one would like to be near you. Most importantly, a strong aroma can make them sick from the stench.

Plus, you should know how many sprays are appropriate for work, so you don’t get caught up in a stinky situation.

Why Would You Tell Your Coworker Not To Wear Strong Fragrances?

You don’t want to go home with a headache every day because your colleague wears a strong fragrance. The suffocating scent can easily override the good qualities.

So, if your work environment is compromised, you must speak up and do not suffer in silence.

Moreover, strong fragrances can cause severe issues for you if you are allergic or sensitive to them. Perfume has lots of chemicals inside, which can be irritating to many.

So, just for the sake of being polite, do not jeopardize your health.

Also, companies take complaints like excessive perfume as a very serious issue, so they will not neglect your concerns.

How To Ask Someone Not To Wear Perfume?

If you are disturbed by the strong scent of your colleague, then you can share your concern; however, you gotta do it in the right way.

When trying to get an employee to tone down their fragrances, you must keep in mind that no one wants to be embarrassed. Plus, you got to be a team player because it’s the person you have to see almost every day.

Nonetheless, how you respond does depend on your comfort level and relationship with your coworker. But here are some pointers:

Be honest and polite

You don’t want to beat around the bush and not end up saying what you want to, so just get on with it on how you are suffering. But make sure that you are humble and use a requesting tone instead of a demanding one.

Keep it private

Don’t make a big scene or involve others in both of your conversations because that can hurt your colleague.

Ask for your supervisor’s help.

If you cannot bring up the topic, you can ask for your supervisor’s assistance. It is a company matter, so it’s their responsibility to resolve the issue as well.

Read the policy book.

Some offices even have a fragrance-free work environment policy due to employee allergies and sensitivities.

Moreover, not only are people affected by strong fragrances but by smoke as well. If your coworker is a smoker, they can easily carry the scent on their clothes and offend others with the strong odors.

So, in a work environment, such incidents are intolerable.

Is Fragrance Sensitivity A Disability?

The Americans with Disabilities Act has no list of medical conditions for disabilities. However, the ADA has a general definition for a disability that each person must meet. According to that, some people with fragrance sensitivity will have a disability, and some will not

A person has a disability if he or she has a physical or mental impairment that can limit one more major life activity.

And a perfume and fragrance allergy happens when you have an allergic reaction after being exposed to perfume that contains an allergen. Moreover, it is a very common allergy.

Now, you can consider fragrance sensitivity as a disability that may need a reasonable accommodation. According to the Job Accommodation Network (JAN), there are 3 options to be followed for employees with fragrance sensitivity

  • Remove the offending fragrances.
  • Remove the employee from the area where the fragrance is located.
  • Reduce employee’s exposure to the fragrance.

So, you and all your co-workers should educate yourself about maintaining an environment where all employees can work. Management should make sure that no harassment is conducted or tolerated at any level.

Plus, we all should have an open mind in accepting differences and compromising for a healthy work environment.

Symptoms For Fragrance Sensitivity

The symptoms you experience are directly related to whether you have a perfume allergy or sensitivity.

However, perfume sensitivity has its own set of symptoms. They are:

  • Sneezing
  • Itching, running, or stuffiness in your nose
  • Postnasal drip
  • Constant coughing
  • Headaches
  • Nausea

Is It Impolite To Wear Perfume or Cologne If You Work In An Office?

No, it is not impolite to wear perfume or cologne if you work in an office, but only when the spray is extremely subtle. So, you must wear light scents so that your co-workers can hardly smell your perfume and hence you will not risk hindering anyone’s work or the atmosphere.

We all want to look our best to work because the impression we make plays a vital role for us.

However, the workplace is a community where you have to consider the wellbeing and comfort of those around you. So, you have to make sure that your immediate colleagues are not allergic to perfumes when you apply scent for work.

Look, wearing an invasive perfume can offend people around you, and that’s a risky move that you’d want to avoid.

Also, some companies have no perfume policies; so if your office has a rule like that, you cannot wear any fragrance at work. Instead, you can wear some beauty products that are scented.

Nonetheless, you should be careful when you wear scents in a professional environment.

Follow our guide to know Is Perfume Bad For Dogs?

Perfume Etiquettes at Work

As you must have figured out by now, you cannot wear your favorite perfume to work. However, if you follow certain etiquettes, that can help you carry your fragrance without bothering anyone. Here are some tips:

#1: Wear Eau De Toilette

The EDT version of the perfume has the lowest concentration, and so the scent will not project that powerfully.

#2: Do not wear too much perfume

Even if your coworkers don’t oppose it, it is best not to wear too much perfume because that would always risk offending people around you.

#3: Ask your coworkers if they are okay with your scent

It is always polite to ask your coworkers if they are comfortable with your perfume.

#4: Spray your office room instead of your clothes

If you have an office, then you can spray perfume in the room rather than walk with the scent on you.

#5: Be careful before commenting on someone’s fragrance

You shouldn’t embarrass or offend your coworkers by wearing perfume; instead, you should carefully bring the subject or talk to management about it.

How To Know If You Are Wearing Too Much Fragrance?

Well, you can’t always have your friend around to give you a heads up if your fragrance is a bit too much. So, you can easily overdo it with sprays and carry a suffocating scent at work.

Did you know that your nose’s ability to get used to odors and aroma is incredible?

Because of that, you may not be able to tell the difference. However, you should just follow specific spray rules, and you are good to go.

Number of Sprays Appropriate for Office

In an office, use a 5 spray routine; 2 sprays behind each ear, 1 spray at the back of your neck, and two more sprays at the front.

It will not overwhelm your co-workers, and spraying on your clothes will give a long-lasting effect.

In a workplace, you should wear a confident scent like spicy, woody, and citrusy notes.

Should You Wear Perfume or Cologne For A Job Interview?

According to Dr. Heather Patisaul, a biologist at North Carolina State University, anything that gives the perfume an odor will likely be an allergen. So, wearing fragrances for a job interview can be dangerous if your interviewers have allergies, asthma, or other sensitivities.

You can wear perfume as long as you don’t overdo it by dousing yourself in it. But, it’s always best not to take the risk, especially when you are starting out in a job.

However, I know how important it is to hide body odors, and fragrances can do that the best.

Well, there are plenty of ways to smell good without using perfumes or colognes. Like you can use scented soaps or hair fragrances to have a pleasant aroma around you.

However, it is also true that those alternatives don’t have the same longevity.

Also, check out our separate post on Can You Use Essential Oils As Perfumes?

Strictly Sniffing

While perfume can help you stand out and let you leave an impression on people. However, when it comes to work, fragrances can do more harm than good.

One employee can find perfume delightful, but that can be downright offensive to someone else, causing allergic reactions, headaches, and nausea, making it difficult to get work done.

Now, everyone wants to feel comfortable in the workplace. However, confronting your co-worker for wearing too much perfume in the wrong way can stir trouble.

So, you should follow some do’s and don’ts when you come across sensitive situations.

Since fragrances are a very sensitive topic for a work environment, you should be careful with your scents.

Now, if you have any further queries, do share them in the comment section below.

About The Author
Nazia is passionate about perfumes. Her love for perfumes started with her father whom she lost in 2017. She’d often reminisce his memories with the help of his fragrances’. Writing about fragrances makes her happy as she can share its wonders with the world. She also loves reading sci-fi novels and traveling.

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