A federal employee was formally reprimanded this month for excessive workplace flatulence, a sanction that was delivered to him in a five-page letter that actually included a log of representative dates and times when he was recorded “releasing the awful and unpleasant odor” in his Baltimore office.
In a December 10 letter accusing him of “conduct unbecoming a federal officer,” the Social Security Administration employee was informed that his “uncontrollable flatulence” had created an “intolerable” and “hostile” environment for coworkers, several of whom have lodged complaints with supervisors.
My immediate reaction to this report was that the man might have a cause of action under the Americans With Disabilities Act. Was the manager qualified to determine whether it was a controllable behavior? I’ve had employees who were frequently flatulent and have been known to pass gas occasionally myself. I strongly suspect that most of us have. The idea of reprimanding them for it never occurred to me. I just gave them a wide berth.
Come to think of it, someone always brings broccoli to the office potlucks. Hmmm…