What to do about an unsanitary co-worker?

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What to do about an unsanitary co-worker?

A co-worker in my department rarely bathes or washes his clothing, so naturally he stinks. He also hoards newspapers, empty food containers (many still have food particles), plastic cups, and all sorts of trash (he hoards trash in other parts of the building as well). My other co-workers and I have complained to our boss, who spoke to him about it. When nothing changed, she took the issue to her boss. Still nothing has changed. What law can we reference and what should our next step be? 

Asked on May 17, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

There may be nothing you can do in this case, unfortunately, if your company refuses to take action. The only things which *might* give you leverage are these:

1) IF this gentleman has created conditions that actually violate municipal health codes (you can get those or find refence to those either online or by going to town hall or the equivalent), then it might be possible to call the health department. This, of course, will hardly endear you to your company, and while companies are not legally supposed to retaliate against employees for reporting legal violations, there is often a large gap between what companies should do and what they actually do.

2) You can inform your company that if you get sick owing to the unhygienic conditions created by your co-worker, you will have no choice but to sue and/or bring a worker's compensation claim, as appropriate.

Apart from the above, the law does not require people to be sanitary.


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