Federal Employee Disciplined After Gas Log Details Excessive Workplace Flatulence

250px-Gas_mask_MUA_IMGP0157In one of the more novel federal disciplinary actions that I have encountered, a federal employee in Baltimore was given a formal reprimand for excessive workplace flatulence — a reprimand that involved a remarkably wide range of reviews and supervisory interventions. The 38-year-old Maryland employee, who insists that he is lactose intolerant, was the subject of an actual log recording his “release[] [of] the awful and unpleasant odor.”

The December 10th letter detailed the flatulence basis for the change of “conduct unbecoming a federal officer” by the Social Security Administration employee and how his “uncontrollable flatulence” had created an “intolerable” and “hostile” environment for coworkers. The letter states that, despite his claims of a medical reason for the gas, there is no evidence of a medical condition by the employee to establish “uncontrollable flatulence.” The employee is represented by the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), which has supplied the gaseous worker with a lawyer (and presumably a breathing apparatus). One site has shown the employee posing with a Disney character. You guessed it, it is Pepe Le Pew.

The letter details a series of meetings with supervisors over the course of months. Interventions sought to stop the employee from turning on his fan during eruptions which tended “to spread and worsen the air quality in the module.” In another meeting a third supervisor was called in and this SSA “Deputy Division Director” warned the worker about his “continuous releasing of your bodily gas and the terrible smell that comes with the gas.” The worker told the manager that he was thinking of buying Gas-X after

He was finally presented with a log showing “the time of your flatulence” — listing 17 separate dates (and 60 specific times). Notably, on September 11th, the worker was accused for releasing gas on three separate occasions.

Now here is my question. How does the SSA quantify or measure the level of flatulence as the basis for a formal disciplinary measure? I am not sure of the baseline if some flatulence is considered normal and permissible. We have seen actual flatulence-based criminal charges which have the same interpretive problem. Moreover, if the employee is lactose intolerant, does this make the gas a medically protected condition or disability? I assume that lactose intolerance is considered a controllable condition and does not constitute a disability — except to those around you.

If this is considered controllable, would the continued release constitute a form of battery or negligence or nuisance or even an intentional infliction of emotional distress?

What do you think?

Source: ABC

46 thoughts on “Federal Employee Disciplined After Gas Log Details Excessive Workplace Flatulence”

  1. The flatulence can not be controled by us. The poor thing didn;t choose to be a lactose intolerant. Isn’t it mean to give him a reprimand to him officially?

  2. Well, this was, I believe, previously posted due to it showed child abuse due to their flatulence.

    Here are the “mug” shots of parents who deserve whatever they get. The problem is how to help the kids then. Some incredible faces, and some on pretty women, not always the smartest either. There are 32 shots with crime descriptions. Don’t know which is most appalling, faces or abuses.


    Well, Scientific American had an article which partially restored the reputation of H. Pylori as being necessary for both stomach and colon function.
    It regulates production of gherin (sp) which appeases appetite. It also regulates acid production in the stomach. In the colon, it seems to be tied to moderating what would otherwise be an overproduction of aggressive immune cells which attack the colon. My recalled knowledge is therewith fully exhausted.

    Very few children have H. pylori anymore (8%?) due to frequent antibiotic cures for otit. (inner ear inflammation), a recurring childhood problem.
    It is said that DO’s can do it without meds. Read Dr. Weil, he mentioned it in one of his books. Not saying that I recommend Weil however.

  3. TMI here but before they came up with lactase chews I thought maybe my problem with milk, etc was the reason the guy in the next apartment moved. (:
    The guy, or person, who developed the lactase meds, in my opinion, deserves a nobel prize. Now I can eat ice cream, cheese, etc, yay! but I am also mad at that person cause now I can eat ice cream, cheese, etc and gained about 30 pounds.

  4. One of the first things that comes to mind right off the top of my head is pathologically high levels of acid and/or helicobacter pylori. Also, there are some parasitic infections that can cause malodorous gas. Conditions that can be precursors to a perforated ulcer. Peritonitis is an ugly way to die.

  5. OS,

    Are you encouraging us to keep tight a55holes. If we exude bad gas we have a possibly terrible disease. At least tell us hypochrondriacs what we have to fear.

    If cancer does smell, then dogs could be trained to detect it—–which has been done cancer of one type. It involved patient urine and dogs who could mark them quickly even if other tests were negative.

  6. Missouri Mule,

    We do that in Stockholm. “We” are not directly connected to the collection.
    But our feces is used to produce gas which drives some of the busses here.
    Our garbage warms our apartments, and the rest heat warms our water for baths.

    Try it. Proven over 20 years.

  7. Is it the volume or the odor or both which offend?

    If odor, then the guy is definitely afflicted with the wrong kind of colon bacteria. Can often occur after too much antibiotics or cures of them.
    Can be easily remedied with a docs help.

    Junk food? Maybe. Never lived off it.

  8. rafflaw does bring up a good point. There are ionizers that cannabis growers use to neutralize the very pungent aroma of growing plants. They don’t work if you have 100 plants, but if you have a few it is quite effective. Should be able to handle Franky Fart

  9. While this story has a humorous taint, some of these flatulent stories are anything but funny. If you think firing someone for gas is extreme, I’m sure you’ll be perfectly appalled by Austin Davis beating his kids for farting in the car.

    You read that right.

    Follow the link.

  10. Could not the federal government devise a way to capture human gas, store it, and burn it as heating fuel in the cold months? The federal government was able to put a man on the moon without going to Boeing or outside contractors. And, if we put a man on the moon why cant the federal government drill for oil and gas on federal lands and not give it away to gas and oil companies like Exxon so that they can gouge us. We need a new political party to promote these policies. Fartocratic Party. It could be comprise of old farts and young farts alike. The Party Motto: One small fart for man, one giant fart for mankind.

  11. Probably not the biggest error, but Pepe le Pew is a Warner Brothers character, not Disney.

  12. This is an amazing story. The flatulence issue could be solved by moving him into his own cubicle or his own office. There are also air cleaners that could be used to reduce the negative impact of his gas issues. That being said, I just can’t imagine having to keep a record of how many times an employee passed gas. How do they know it is all coming from this guy if they have close quarters?? 🙂

  13. One thing that can be said for certain, having a management team that allocates resources to count employee farts and a coworker unleashing the daily methane apocalypse, it must be a dreadful place to work.

  14. The fact is, I was better at doing their job than most of the “veteran” employees. I think that was part of the problem.~ Matt Johnson
    that is very often a very threatening thing…and in these times it may be the new (or not….) dysfunctional norm…

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