An employee at the Social Security Administration’s Baltimore office has been formally reprimanded for “conduct unbecoming of a federal employee,” specifically for disrupting co-workers “by passing gas and releasing an unpleasant odor.”
According to the letter, issued in December and obtained by the Smoking Gun website, the employee, who has been identified as a 38 year old male but was not identified by name, had been informed by his supervisor during a “performance discussion” in May 2012 that his co-workers had complained about the gas issue in the past. The individual was referred to an “Employee Assistance Program” to look into whether the frequent and unpleasant incidents could be symptomatic of a medical issue.
It seems the problem continued for some time after that though. The letter, which has been redacted so as not to include names, runs five pages long and details numerous similar exchanges.
“On July 17, 2012, I spoke with you in regards to your releasing of bodily gas in the module during work hours,” the letter reads. “I asked if you could make it to the rest room before releasing the awful and unpleasant odor…You said that you would try not to pass gas and that you would turn your fan on when it happens.”
The letter lists 60 specific incidences of gas passing from this employee over the roughly seven month period between mid-May when the issue was brought up, and early December when the reprimand was issued.
A reprimand is essentially formal slap on the wrist and doesn’t carry any tangible long-term punishment. However, the federal worker is being represented by a lawyer from the American Federation of Government Employees in conjunction with the letter.
The AFGE did not respond to email inquiries from ABC News about the case.