OK, try and keep a straight face as you get “wind” of this one. The Smoking Gun posted a letter where the Social Security Administration reprimanded one of its employees for “Conduct Unbecoming A Federal Employee.” What, pray tell, was so unbecoming? According to the letter, the employee was continuously “passing gas and releasing an unpleasant odor” that created a “hostile work environment.”
The worker, a 38-year-old Maryland resident, reportedly provided evidence that he suffered from “some medical conditions” that, at times, caused him to be unable to work full days. But a SSA manager noted in the reprimand letter that, “nothing that you have submitted has indicated that you would have uncontrollable flatulence. It is my belief that you can control this condition.”
A redacted copy of the letter was recently circulated among officers of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the union that represents the SSA worker. Contacted today at his office, the employee said, “I can’t talk to you about this, I’m sorry.” The employee is being represented in connection with the reprimand by a lawyer for his union, AFGE Local 1923. Cynthia Ennis, president of the Baltimore-based local, did not respond to e-mail and phone messages about the matter.
The letter indicates several times where he was reprimanded throughout 2012. In addition, it seems that they kept a daily record of dates and times of his flatulence.
The letter concludes by stating, “I consider the seriousness of your misconduct as it relates to the clarity of your understanding of the rules of conduct on and off Federal property.”
According to the 5 page letter, the man did say in July that he would turn on a fan after releasing a flatulent. Of course that wasn’t acceptable as according to the manager it would only “cause the smell to spread and worsen the air quality in the module.” In August he told the manager he would purchase Gas X to help and still continued to release gas regularly over the next several month.
Does the SSA have a “rules of conduct” manual where flatulence are addressed? Perhaps that is why they have not fired the man yet. Seriously, I get that it is unprofessional and I don’t think I could have addressed the man with a straight face, but to have dealt with this for over a year, documenting times everyday of occurrences seems a bit silly to me. However, this is a federal agency and the man in question would have probably been fired had he been at another job.
One commenter, at the Smoking Gun, gave a hilarious comment which obviously paints with a broad brush, writing, “Federal employees are expected to fart around all day. I don’t know what the big deal is.”