A federal employee on December 10 received a letter for engaging in conduct that was “unbecoming of a federal employee” and created a “hostile” and “intolerable” work environment for colleagues, according to The Smoking Gun. This offensive action was none other than too much in-office flatulence.
The Smoking Gun, which obtained a copy of the reprimanding letter, reported the employee worked for the Social Security Administration and had been approached about “releasing bodily gas” several times prior to issuance of the letter.
Here’s more from The Smoking Gun on what the letter stated:
The worker, a 38-year-old Maryland resident, reportedly provided evidence that he suffered from “some medical conditions” that, at times, caused him to be unable to work full days. But a SSA manager noted in the reprimand letter that, “nothing that you have submitted has indicated that you would have uncontrollable flatulence. It is my belief that you can control this condition.”
According to the letter of reprimand–which is the least severe administrative sanction that can be levied against a federal worker–the man was first spoken to about his flatulence during a May 18 “performance discussion” with his supervisor. He was informed that fellow employees had complained about his flatulence, and that it was “the reason none of them were willing to assist you with your work.” The supervisor referred the employee to a SSA unit for “assistance with what could have been a medical problem that was affecting everyone in the module.”
Two months later, on July 17, a second SSA manager spoke with the man “in regards of your releasing of bodily gas in the module during work hours.” The manager asked the employee if he could “make it to the restroom before releasing the awful and unpleasant odor.” She also recounted what appeared to be a prior conversation during which the worker suggested that he would “turn your fan on when it happens.” The manager recalled advising him that, “turning on the fan would cause the smell to spread and worsen the air quality in the module.”
On August 14, a third administrator–a SSA “Deputy Division Director”–spoke with the worker about his “continuous releasing of your bodily gas and the terrible smell that comes with the gas.” The manager noted that the worker had said he was lactose intolerant and planned to purchase Gas-X, an over-the-counter remedy. The manager informed the employee that he “could not pass gas indefinitely and continue to disrupt the work place.”
In addition to listing the dates when the employee was spoken to about passing gas, the letter gives more than a dozen specific dates of when such infractions occurred.
The Smoking Gun reported that the letter was deemed “the least severe penalty” to give the offender in an effort to “deter future misconduct.”
The Smoking Gun contacted the unnamed employee, who told them he couldn’t speak with them about the issue. The website stated that the story of his letter had been circulating at the American Federation of Government Employees, a union of which the employee is a member. The union too was contacted by The Smoking Gun but did not respond to requests.
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