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I Was Fired Because One Person Said I Smelled Bad!

by L.

Hello, I live in Maryland and was working for an Internal Medicine Dr. I was hired May 2017 and fired Nov 2017. The administrator of the office walked up to me one day out of the blue and asked me not to use perfume. I replied I do not wear perfume, I am not sure what you are smelling but I definitely do not wear perfume. She said huh that's weird and walked away. About 2-3 weeks later she came to me again and said I need to quit wearing perfume I, again told her I do not wear perfume. This went on for about a month and a half and one day I come into work and the Dr I directly work with, pulled me into his office and told me that I have to stop wearing perfume. I let him know like I did the administrator, that I do not wear perfume and he said oh well maybe its your car fresheners. He said the administrator has said something to him about it and that she wanted him to talk to me about it. I told him I do have car fresheners however, they were so old that I didn't think they even omitted a smell any more. I removed the air fresheners and brought them in to him and he said yep that's what it is! I thought thank GOD, now we can move on! He said the administrator described the smell as something flowery and oily. I said maybe she could be smelling the bathroom fresher

He said no she said its definitely you. Time went on I would walk by her door and she would make sly comments like oh you can tell your here! She would walk by my desk and say omg it smells right here and turn her nose up or walk by holding her nose. The administrator was ready to leave one afternoon and she walked up to my desk and screamed at me telling me I needed to do something about the way I smell. That she should not have to be subjected to my smell everyday! She said," you stink and I have to work with you but I will not work near you the way you smell!" Mind you, she did this in front of my co workers and patients and completely embarrassed me. Of course I left work crying, Humiliated, embarrassed and I was feeling like there was something wrong with me. I wondered if I should just get another job and said to her I was sorry but I've done everything I can think of to change it but I was unsure of what was causing the problem! My co workers saw that I was very upset and they told me that if she has something she doesn't like about someone, she will run them out of the office and or make it so they get let go! They begged me to come back in and talk to the Drs. and let them know how I am feeling about her harassing me. That Monday when I returned to work one of the other Drs I worked for pulled me into his office before I could ask to speak with him about how I felt. He said the administrator has complained to him about the way I smell. He said no one else smells this smell but her, so he was not sure of what the smell was but she apparently smells something. He said it would be very silly for me to quit my job or they let me go because of the way I smell, I agreed. I told the Dr. I will do anything to see if I can fix it. I told him I had no clue what she was smelling and I also didn't know what to do about it.I told him I removed my car fresheners and I was told by the other Dr.,that was the cause but now she is coming up with the whole I smell thing again! I told him I feel like she is harassing me for some reason and I would like for him to talk to her about it. He said no shes not she just wants to figure it out. I said by her making comments and yelling at me about it I feel like that is harassment and he said no shes not doing that. He changed the subject and asked me to bring everything I use on a daily basis into the office so they could try determine what the smell was. I agreed to do that as I wanted to know what she was smelling also. The next day I brought everything in I use personally and in my home as far as candles and cleaning products along with fabric cleaners, lotions, soaps, shampoos everything. When she saw what I had brought in, she laughed out loud and made a joke saying oh this is how your choosing to take care of the ridiculous problem? Haha, haha this is freeken hilarious! The Dr told her this was the only way to figure it out that he would like for her to go through the stuff and she refused to do it. She said its not my job to figure out what is causing her to smell its her own job to figure it out! She literally refused to even try to figure it out. I felt humiliated to even have to bring the stuff in much less to have her
stand there making fun of the situation. I again, told the Dr. I felt like I was being harassed he replied no she is just bothered with the way you smell and its frustrating to her she says its bothering her that's why shes making such a big deal about it.He said don't take anything shes saying personally shes just trying to figure it all out. I told him its very hard for me not to take it personally when she makes comments nearly every day about me smelling. He brushed it off as if It was no big deal and told me we will figure it out don't worry. After bringing everything in and she refused to try to figure out what it was she continued making smelly jokes and comments to me. I went to the Dr I directly worked with and told him she was harassing me and he said no shes not she smells something on you and its bothering her. He then said actually shes not the only one that smells it I do too. He said that I needed to try to figure it out, that it smelled like oil and it was very bothersome. The administrator texted me that evening and said she can still smell me and that she needed me to figure out what the smell is coming from. She said "It smells like gasoline" and then questioned me about how I could ever smell like that! I told her my husband was a diesel mechanic maybe that was what she was smelling she said she didn't know but whatever it was it was bothering her because she cant figure it out.I went to work the next few days she walked by me like usual holding her nose and making smearky comments like OMG there it is again and this is ridiculous. Came into work that Friday after she texted me, at the end of the day the Dr I worked for called me into his office and told me he was letting me go. He said, "The perfume you wear was smelly and they couldn't take my smell anymore! I told him I never wear perfume haven't worn any perfume and that for whatever reason I feel as if she had something against me. I also said I feel that since I complained about her harassing me they were getting rid of me because I told them that's what I felt was happening. He said no she wasn't harassing you she just couldn't stand the smell and she was trying to figure it out and since she cant they needed to let me go. Of course I cried and still feel like a looser. I've been on quite a few interviews and no one has called me back. I want to use them as a reference because I do not have many and the one gal that works there told me to let my potential new employer why I was let go. She said she wouldn't give a reference if I didn't tell the reason. So, I'm not sure if that is affecting my potential job offers. The Dr. That let me go told me I was going to receive a few weeks pay to help me out until I could find a different job so I didn't file for unemployment thinking he would pay me. He did not follow through with paying me so I waited an extra 2 weeks to see if he would and did not file earlier.

Can I get back pay? I filed after waiting to see if they would be true to their word? I've NEVER received any type of write up before they fired me. I also would like to know if unemployment can help me as I feel as if I was wrongfully fired for complaining that the administrator was harassing me. I think they felt like they better get rid of me because I was talking about her harassing me and they didn't want to deal with the issue, so they would just push it off like they did it because I smell. Please help me understand what rights I may have. Thank you in advance.

Your Right, is to File Your Unemployment Claim Now

All employees have a right to file an unemployment claim .. and other types of claims such as EEOC.

However, UI backpay not likely, because that was your choice to delay.

Very sad story. I too would say don't take it personally, or to heart. Question is .. why say now you feel like the loser .. if this office administrator was in fact, what you made her sound like .. a full blown bully .. with a hyper-sensitive sniffer.

If your story is accurate .. not embellished for my sake, I think you should collect benefits.

But then again, I explain to people who ask after they become unemployed, why documenting to prove significant facts occurring while employed, is the best way to make the story credible and easier to tell.

I can well imagine, from my past experience, someone like the office administrator .. lying at a hearing. Or the doctor saying anything to not sound complicit to cave to the bully. Truly annoying is when an employer covers their own ass, but fails to see that is what creates a workplace culture where bullies thrive while they continue to harass co-workers, or subordinates .. at will.

File for unemployment, but don't expect any backpay for the weeks you delayed opening your claim.


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