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Pungency in the Breakroom

PungencyWhat should you do if you have complaints in the office about nasty smelling leftovers? Can you tell employees not to heat up stinky foods in the office breakroom microwave?

While there are no legal guidelines you have to follow, it is recommended to be very sensitive when addressing this issue. You definitely do not want to make comments about certain types of food that may be interpreted as being directed at any ethnic groups in your workplace. Here are a few ideas you may consider:

  • Ask employees to refrain from microwaving pungent foods—in policies of this nature, we typically see mention of foods such as fish and microwave popcorn.
  • Place the microwave in a space away from the break room and working areas.
  • Create an alternative break area for those who are sensitive to smell.

Ultimately, employees should be understanding of the fact that they share a workspace with others who may have different food preferences. Not all food aromas can be eliminated, but some common courtesy from all parties can go a long way. It’s not unheard of for employers to remove the microwave from their workplace because of the issue described, but it is not recommended doing this step unless you have exhausted all other alternatives.

Should you have any additional questions regarding this or other employee topics, contact the professionals at CyQuest for help!