cooking fish at work, unusually long layoffs, and more

It’s four answers to four questions. Here we go… 1. Coworker cooks fish at work — and the smell makes me vomit I work in a multi-floored corporate building with break rooms on each floor. Some are walled in with doors and others open into the floor. I work on an open floor and I’m…

cooking fish at work, unusually long layoffs, and more

It’s four answers to four questions. Here we go…
1. Coworker cooks fish at work — and the smell makes me vomit
I work in a multi-floored corporate building with break rooms on each floor. Some are walled in with doors and others open into the floor. I work on an open floor and I’m far enough from the room for most smells to not bother me, except fish! I’m so sensitive to the smell of fish cooking that it makes me vomit.
We (a collective of fish haters and I) have asked our fish-cooking offender to cook on another floor with the enclosed break rooms to save our sanity and smell receptors, but he doesn’t care and thinks he should eat whatever he wants wherever he wants. Today, he cooked fish in there again and I, admittedly, kind of went off. I tried to play it off in a joking manner but told him he needs to go to another floor (with another person agreeing) but he seemed to take great offense that we “told him what to do.” He also caught me complaining about him to someone else (whoops.)
Knowing him, I feel like an HR issue might occur because while I was trying to be nice and offer options, I know I did not come across in the best light (he was actually fighting, saying some people enjoy the smell … ?!?) No one knows about my vomiting issue, because people in my office who have “issues” (requesting special chairs/desks, complaining about smells) tend to get ostracized socially and professionally. I love my job and my team, but the building as a whole tends to have a “sissies will be shot on site” attitude.
HR will not take a stance on fish, but if I get caught up in some drama because I was calling him out for it, I don’t know how to proceed. If HR hauls me in for my comments, I’ll be perfectly honest. I told him the smell bothered me and did not tell him not to cook it, just told him to go to a different floor where the smell will not permeate. I will also tell them about the vomit if I have to pull the pity card. I don’t want to be ostracized and get moved because otherwise I’m looked upon favorably among my peers and this will hurt me professionally … but I’m sick of puking every time I smell fish!
There’s a bigger issue here than the fish, which is that your company ostracizes people who need minor health accommodations. That’s frankly horrible. Any chance you and some of your coworkers would be willing to raise that as a serious culture problem a potential legal liability? I know that doesn’t answer your question, but seriously, it’s reprehensible and you could do some real good by pushing back on it, ideally with a group of others.
Anyway, since you’ve asked your coworker directly and he’s made it clear he doesn’t intend to do anything differently, the only real option to get this to change is to talk with either your manager or HR, explain the smell makes you vomit, and ask that he be directed to use a kitchen with a door. (If you think that will solve it! I’m not convinced a door will be sufficient — smells travel.)
If you don’t want to do that, then your options are limited to actions you can take yourself to limit the smell’s impact on you — like opening windows, working from another location when he’s cooking fish, breathing in something strong-smelling (peppermint, Vick’s, etc.) to counter the fish smell, etc.
But definitely don’t get into anther spat with him about it — that’s going to weaken your case and reflect badly on you if either of you ever escalate it (and to anyone who overhears).
2. I don’t want a company-wide birth anno
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