Two surveys conducted on random participants reveal that more than 30 percent of the general population reports irritation from scents on other people, according to authors of “Prevalence of Fragrance Sensitivity in the American Population.” To ensure that your workplace remains healthy and comfortable for everyone, you may need to tell employees not to wear excessive perfume.

Lead by Example

After detecting a problem in your workplace with perfume use, begin a campaign to encourage moderation or elimination of scents. Discontinue your own use of scented products to set an example of consideration for other people. Scented personal products include soap, shampoos, lotions, hair spray, perfume and cologne. Other scented products include candles, room sprays and air fresheners. Some people have sensitivities to additional products, including laundry detergents, fabric softeners and chemical cleaners. Eliminate sources of potential irritation on your person, your clothes and your work area to ensure that you do not contribute to others’ discomfort.

Hold a Meeting

Hold a meeting involving all members of your team to discuss the use of scented products in the workplace. Without putting any employees on the spot, make a clear announcement that you want to eliminate the use of excessive scents in your workplace. Explain how scent sensitivities can affect the health of some people, creating symptoms such as allergies, asthma, headaches, vomiting, diarrhea and dermatitis.

Distribute a Memorandum

Follow up on your meeting by distributing a memorandum. Request compliance with your plan to reduce the use of excess perfume in the workplace. If you wish to institute a company policy, state this in the memorandum, explaining your desire to create an environment that is comfortable and healthy for everyone.

Speak Directly With Employees

If you have employees who have a pattern of using too much perfume or cologne, approach these workers individually and privately. Communicate in a respectful, yet straightforward, manner, explaining that you’ve detected an overabundance of perfume on occasion and you would prefer that the employee not wear excessive scented products. If you are instituting a policy because of specific employees’ sensitivities, mention this situation. If you are making a request – not instituting a policy – state it as a request, but tell the employee that you would appreciate compliance.