Career Advice

My Boss Has Bad Breath - What to do?

Hired People February 8, 2022

Telling anyone that they have bad breath is awkward and embarrassing. But when that person is your boss, the situation is even worse. Whether or not you are afraid of repercussions, it’s not a natural conversation to have with your work superior. Yet, when the situation is nearly intolerable as far as bearing the horrible odor, something does need to be done.

It May Not be Hygiene-Related

Not all bad breath is caused by poor oral hygiene. There are many medications and diets that have bad breath as side effects. One such diet is the popular Keto diet. See if you can discern whether your boss is currently dieting or taking certain medications. If so, the problem might be temporary and will resolve itself without you having to say a word about it.

They Don’t Know It

Keep in mind that it’s hard for individuals to know they have bad breath. They can’t smell it. When they do find out, they will likely go to great lengths to fix it. They’ll also be glad it’s not going to be an issue anymore, as will you. But because of the potential for embarrassment, this is something your boss needs to learn in private.

Write an Anonymous Note

Your boss doesn’t need to know who thinks they have bad breath; they only need to know that they have bad breath. Thus, an anonymous note is the nicest way to let them know without putting them on the spot. In the note, just say that you are being anonymous because you have the utmost respect for him/her. Explain that you have noticed a chronic problem with halitosis. Write that you know that it’s impossible for a person to detect their own halitosis, so that’s why you’re writing to let them know. Sign off with a Respectfully, without your name. Leave the note on their desk inside a sealed envelope marked “private.”

This is the most honest and compassionate way to let your boss know they have bad breath. Just be hopeful that someday if you’re the one with halitosis, someone else will show the same level of kindness.