What do workplaces owe their workers?: Banning Perfume?


Blogger vinnie said...

How this would differ from smoking bans ?

7/09/2007 3:34 PM  
Blogger John Lott said...

It doesn't. I think that they work exactly the same way. Some workers may intensely dislike perfume for many reasons, while others may like it. It is not clear why those who dislike perfume have any more of a "right" to their preferences than anyone else does. By letting workers choose the places that they want to work, it would create the greatest wealth.

7/09/2007 4:52 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

This is an interesting situation. On one hand, can anyone really suggest that there is such a thing as a right to wear perfume? In the same way, there is surely no right to smoke. On the other hand, one should leave such personal decisions, to the greatest degree possible, to the individual.

That said, there are some legitimate issues. I am a professional, classically trained singer. When I sing with a symphony chorus of 200-300 people, a primary rule is that no one wears perfume or cologne. Why? Because a significant percentage of the population will be adversely affected by such scents, at least in part because they are designed to be strong and pervasive. Even if one is not painfully reactive to perfume, it does affect the throat and sinuses of everyone with whom it comes into contact to some degree. Again, it's designed to do just that.

Interestingly, women are far more sensitive to such things, generally speaking, than men. And when women age, among the furst senses to dull is the sense of smell, thus we have the absolutely true stereotype of older women wearing enough perfume to down low flying birds.

Perfume is bad enough when I must stand near someone wearing it for a two hour concert. Its effects would surely be worse in a workplace. This may be one that is OK to impose reasonable restrictions. In other words, your priviledge to wear perfume doesn't take precedence over my need to breath.

7/09/2007 7:31 PM  
Anonymous straightarrow said...

Your need to breathe doesn't mean you need to breathe next to me.

7/10/2007 7:37 PM  

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