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How to address employee hygiene issues

Few things make an employer as uncomfortable as dealing with employee hygiene issues. Nonetheless, improper hygiene can have a detrimental impact on customers and coworkers. As a result, you should be ready to behave correctly when confronted with these situations. Here are nine recommendations for dealing with hygiene difficulties.

Develop a policy

Setting clear expectations can aid in the prevention of hygiene and grooming difficulties. Consider creating a distinct workplace hygiene and grooming policy and/or adding personal hygiene expectations into your dress code or personal appearance policies. Provide instances of the company’s expectations and be as clear as feasible.

Keep in mind that certain personnel are sensitive to synthetic perfumes and may have difficulty breathing and working when they are in close proximity to them. To combat this, several firms have implemented fragrance policies that require employees to refrain from wearing highly scented goods in the office.

Never assume you know what’s causing something

Medical concerns, cultural disparities, mental health issues, personal troubles, and poor grooming practices can all contribute to hygiene problems. When addressing a hygiene issue, never presume that one of these elements is the source, and be alert not to violate nondiscrimination laws.

Confirm the existence of an issue

If you become aware of a potential problem as a result of a complaint, conduct an investigation to ascertain whether an actual problem exists before taking action. This might be as simple as personally interacting with the employee.

Confirm the presence of a problem

Before taking action, if you become aware of a potential problem as a consequence of a complaint, conduct an investigation to see whether an actual problem exists. This might be as basic as interacting with the employee in person.

Allow the employee to speak up

Allow the staff plenty of time to answer. If they suggest that the source of a personal hygiene problem is a disability or a conflict between their religious beliefs and your grooming policy, see if there is an accommodation that could decrease or eliminate the problem.

Reasonable accommodations may include, for example, giving the employee time off to seek treatment, making an exception to a hygiene requirement, or enabling an employee to work from home.

Establish and maintain reasonable expectations

Communicate your expectations and future steps to the employee explicitly at the end of the meeting. Document the conversation you had and the actions that the employee and/or company will take.

Conduct a follow-up

Set up a check-in with the employee to see how they’re doing. If accommodation was offered, ensure that it was effective.


When there is a problem with hygiene, have a straight dialogue with the employee and work together to find a fair solution.