Severe allergies may be considered disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), particularly since the definition of disability has been significantly expanded under the ADA Amendments Act. Employers have a legal duty to reasonably accommodate affected employees who request accommodation.
The city of Detroit found this out the hard way when a city employee with multiple chemical sensitivity sued the city under the ADA for refusing to accommodate her disability.
A co-worker who wore heavy perfume and used a plug-in room deodorizer had transferred into the department in close proximity to the employee, causing the employee to become ill. The employee asked the co-worker to refrain from using these fragrances; the co-worker stopped using the room deodorizer but continued wearing the perfume. The employee complained to her supervisor, and although the possibility of relocating either the emplo...(register to read more)