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Gotta fart? I'm sorry, but I'll have to reprimand you for that.....
by cjsbmom
January 11, 2013 at 7:49 PM

 Oh. My. Bob. I laughed so hard I nearly peed myself when I read this story. I had a coworker a few years back who had serious gas issues. Sadly, we had to suffer through it.




Flatulent federal worker's reprimand is rescinded

A redacted copy of the SSA flatulence reprimand letter was posted to The Smoking Gun website.


By Ben Popken, TODAY contributor

It sounds like a "Dilbert" cartoon come to life, but the Social Security Administration has taken back a reprimand it gave to an employee who was written up for "passing gas and releasing an unpleasant odor" that created a "hostile work environment."


The official charge was "Conduct unbecoming a Federal employee." More specifically, "On September 7, 2012, and continuing, you disrupted the work floor by passing gas and releasing an unpleasant odor."


A copy of the letter, along with a picture of the employee at an amusement park standing next to an actor in a Pepe Le Pew costume, was published on


The letter included a timestamped log accurate to the minute, documenting 60 separate-gas passing incidents from the employee in his office in three months, or about 9 per day.


The average person passes gas 14 times per day.


Medical conditions such as Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and lactose intolerance, can cause sufferers to have chronic gas problems. The employee told management he was lactose intolerant.


"You have submitted medical evidence that you have some medical conditions," the letter read, "however, nothing that you have submitted has indicated that you would have uncontrollable flatulence. It is my belief that you can control this condition."


Several of the employee's coworkers in the "module," or work area, had complained to management about the smell. A supervisor, Deputy Division Director and a Module Manager all spoke with the employee on separate occasions about his need to control his flatulence.


"You said that you would try to pass gas and that you would turn your fan on when it happens," the Module Manager wrote of a discussion that took place on May 18, 2012. "I explained to you that turning on the fan would cause the smell to spread and worsen the air quality in the module."


On August 14th the employee promised to purchase "Gas X" in order to limit his gas output.


Another incident, dated August 15th, noted "you have continued to release the odor and it has become intolerable to work in the module creating a hostile work environment for all your coworkers."


The letter quoted guidelines from the "Annual Personnel Reminder" and "2012 SSA/AFGE National Agreement" which the Module Manager claimed the employee had violated, including "courtesy and consideration while dealing with coworkers" and "refrain from coercive, intimidating, loud or abusive behavior."


If the "misconduct" was continued after the reprimand letter, it could lead to "more severe disciplinary action...including, removal from federal service."


Reached for comment, SSA spokesperson Mark Hinkle told TODAY, "A reprimand was issued to the employee; however, when senior management became aware of the reprimand it was rescinded on December 17, 2012. The agency cannot comment further due to privacy concerns. "




  • Ms.KitKat
    January 11, 2013 at 7:53 PM

     My boss does this all the time. She's tooting her own horn several times a day.

    Fortunately they are not the silent ones though- those are the real killers.

  • lga1965
    by lga1965
    January 11, 2013 at 7:54 PM

     Oh how embarassing....but unavoidable. I'm glad they took that back but since it was already out there, I feel sorry for that poor employee who couldn't help it.

  • norahsmommy
    January 11, 2013 at 7:58 PM
    Wow, how ridiculous. I'm sure the man was not trying to offend. My dad farts about every 10 minutes, always has. They are *very* loud but not one of his coworkers has ever said a thing ( they have cracked a smile when he mad clients jump in surprise with a surprise fart, though). Dad has digestive problems.

    People can't help farting. Healthy people with perfect bowels fart several times through the day. What a waste of everyone's time and they should be ashamed humiliating that poor man.
  • LindaClement
    January 11, 2013 at 7:59 PM

    Yeah, 'cause people pre-select the odour of their farts before releasing them...

    Of course they do.

  • 12hellokitty
    January 11, 2013 at 8:35 PM

    Quoting LindaClement:

    Yeah, 'cause people pre-select the odour of their farts before releasing them...

    Of course they do.


  • stacymomof2
    January 11, 2013 at 8:36 PM

    LOL this just made me laugh.

    I pre-select a lively crushed fruit ordor usually.  Occasionally I will select lilac or primrose.


    Quoting LindaClement:

    Yeah, 'cause people pre-select the odour of their farts before releasing them...

    Of course they do.

  • wickedfiress
    January 11, 2013 at 8:39 PM

    This post (including replies thus far) is hilarious! 

  • UpSheRises
    January 11, 2013 at 8:42 PM
    My dad handles all the grivences for his union...he just finished a negotiation where someone made a harassment claim because the guy next to him was burping really loud all day everyday.

    Turns out this was th 4th time in 20 years that this complaint was made against. He agreed to leave the work area to burp in the future.

    They are engineers so its not like they are on a noisy shop floor or something.
  • TruthSeeker.
    January 11, 2013 at 8:45 PM

     I would seriously vomit if I had to sit next to him at work. While I do feel for the guy, I feel for his co workers also.

  • cjsbmom
    by cjsbmom
    January 11, 2013 at 9:10 PM

     One of my editors at the newspaper I worked at about a decade ago had extreme gas issues. He had some kind of intestinal disorder, so it wasn't really his fault. But seriously, for most of the afternoon after he'd had lunch, the entire newsroom needed gas masks.....and you wouldn't dare light a match in there......

    Quoting TruthSeeker.:

     I would seriously vomit if I had to sit next to him at work. While I do feel for the guy, I feel for his co workers also.


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