That was some smell: Civil servant queried for ‘uncontrollable’ farting
A Social Security Administration worker has been cited by his superiors for ‘conduct unbecoming a federal officer,’ relating to his ‘uncontrollable flatulence’ in the workplace.
The Maryland man, 38, was reportedly hit with a five-page reprimand Dec. 10 that included a meticulously-crafted log of specific dates and times when coworkers observed – or overheard – him ‘releasing the awful and unpleasant odor’ in his Baltimore office.
The letter’s log reportedly cited 17 dates – and 60 times – in which he passed so much gas the resulting miasma created an’ intolerable’ and ‘hostile’ workplace environment for those around him. For example, the man’s Sept. 19 output included nine bouts of flatulence, starting at 9:45 a.m. and ending at 4:30 p.m. A trio of incidents preceded on Sept. 11.
The letter does not reveal who memorialized the flatulence, according to The Smoking Gun.
But in the missive, an SSA manager reportedly notes, ‘nothing that you have submitted has indicated that you would have uncontrollable flatulence. It is my belief that you can control this condition.’ The employee had apparently submitted evidence to his superiors showing he suffered from “some medical conditions” that, at times, caused him to leave work early.
Contacted at his office, the employee told The Smoking Gun, ‘I can’t talk to you about this, I’m sorry.’
An American Federation of Government Employees Local 1923 lawyer is providing the man representation. Cynthia Ennis, president of the Baltimore-based local, did not respond to inquiries.
The letter was likely not a surprise, as the worker was chided on three occasions prior to its receipt for behavior in the workplace his colleagues found “discourteous, disrespectful, and entirely inappropriate.”
During a May 18 ‘performance discussion,’ the unfortunate man’s supervisor informed him fellow employees had complained, and that it was ‘the reason none of them were willing to assist you with your work.’
The supervisor referred the employee to an 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 warned the man ‘in regards of your releasing of bodily gas in the module during work hours.’
At that time, the manager asked him if he could ‘make it to the restroom before releasing the awful and unpleasant odor,’ and also recounted advising him on a prior occasion that, “turning on (his) fan would cause the smell to spread and worsen the air quality in the module.”
From there, the matter apparently made it way up SSA’s chain-of-command, as on Aug. 14, a third SSA pub-ah – this one a ‘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.’
The formal reprimand followed which the worker’s manager noted, “is the least severe penalty available to impress upon you the seriousness of your actions and is necessary to deter future misconduct.” A redacted copy of the letter was recently circulated among officers of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the union that represents the SSA worker.