A gas of a tale about a government worker and his alleged flatulence problem seems to have finally passed.
The Social Security Administration has reportedly rescinded a formal complaint against a Baltimore employee who colleagues complained suffered from an unyielding case of flatulence. Citing an agency representative, the Washington Post reported that a reprimand brought against the employee who created a "hostile work environment" with his bodily functions was withdrawn when senior officials learned of the ordeal.
The bureaucratic yarn first appeared last month when the Smoking Gun website circulated an official letter of complaint against the employee, whose name was redacted. The letter from SAA's Office of Disability Operations says the worker was initially approached about the issue in May after colleagues complained to a supervisor about the "unpleasant odor."
A referral to an "Employee Assistance Program" to determine whether a health issue was at fault concluded that such was not the case.
"Nothing that you have submitted has indicated you would have uncontrollable flatulence," the supervisor writes. "It is my belief that you can control this condition."
It goes on to cite 60 documented instances in 12 weeks of his continued breaking of wind.
The worker apparently had a number of other meetings with his supervisor between May and December. He offered to install a fan at his work space and take medication to treat what he said was lactose intolerance. The manager declined, stating a fan would "cause the smell to spread and worsen the air quality in the module."
Smoking Gun described the employee as a 38-year-old male in the SAA's Baltimore offices. The website displayed a photo that it claims depicts the worker and his wife standing next to an amusement park's "Pepe le Pew" mascot.
The reprimand was essentially a formal slap on the wrist and carried no tangible long-term punishment, although the employee was apparently represented by a lawyer from the American Federation of Government Employees.
UPDATE 2:07 PM
A representative from the SSA confirmed to ABC News that the reprimand was rescinded after senior management learned of the issue. While the spokesman could not give further detail, citing privacy concerns, he did state the decision to withdraw the complaint came Dec. 17, three days before the Smoking Gun article was published.
ABC News' Elizabeth Hartfield contributed to this story.
- Politics & Government
- Social Security Administration