Offensive BO Banned by Tennessee Town

August 29, 2003 ( - Proving that one person really CAN make a difference, city leaders in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, have passed a law that bans "body odor" or excessive use of cologne and aftershave lotions from the workplace.

The Murfreesboro City Council has adopted a good hygiene policy that workers may not have “an odor generally offensive to others.” “No employee shall have an odor generally offensive to others when reporting to work. An offensive body odor may result from a lack of good hygiene, from an excessive application of a fragrant aftershave or cologne, or from other cause.”

City officials say that one smelly employee is responsible for the new policy.

City attorney Susan McGannon said the problem had never come up in the 11 years she has worked for the city, according to WMC-TV, in Memphis. However, the unnamed employee apparently has a problem with personal hygiene despite repeated counseling.

“They were stymied,” McGannon said. “This (amendment) further details the city’s authority.” The definition of body odor was left intentionally vague, according to the report.

However, City Councilman Toby Gilley said the standard applied would be a twist on the one famously cited by a US Supreme Court in defining pornography. “We’ll know it when we smell it,” Gilley said.

Murfreesboro is about 30 miles southeast of Nashville.