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Must we accommodate a ‘breathing machine’?

by on
in Employment Law,Human Resources

Q. We provide janitorial services to local companies. We just learned that one of our employees is asthmatic. She missed several days because of her asthma. Now she wants to return, but she needs to keep a breathing machine with her. What can we do? We aren’t sure our customers will accommodate that need. — C.J., Oregon

A. If you will lose a customer because of the breathing machine, you may have an argument that accommodating this disability poses an “undue hardship.” However, before you reach that point, the ADA requires you to engage in an interactive discussion with the asthmatic employee to determine what reasonable accommodations are available.

My guess is that with a little brainstorming, you and your employee will be able to come to a solution that will keep her employed and keep you out of court.

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