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Accommodating Employees With Allergies and Odor Sensitivities

OnDemand Webinar (92 minutes)

Do you know how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to employees with allergies and odor sensitivities? Learn what's required to properly accommodate employees affected.With allergies and odor sensitivities on the rise and affecting millions of Americans, employers are increasingly confronted with the challenge of accommodating such conditions in the workplace. As a result of the ADA Amendments Act, many more employees are filing disability related claims for failure to accommodate, discrimination, and retaliation, causing employers to question how to properly accommodate such conditions. For example, a Michigan court determined that an employee for the city of Detroit with an allergy to certain air fresheners and perfumes could proceed with her ADA claim, because, according to the court, her disability substantially limited the major life activity of breathing. The employee was awarded $100,000 and attorneys' fees. This topic will provide you with the necessary information to determine if an employee or applicant claiming an allergy or odor sensitivity is covered by the ADA, as well as how to implement appropriate policies addressing allergies and odor sensitivities in the workplace, properly accommodate employees affected by these conditions, and otherwise comply with the requirements of the ADA, as modified by the ADAAA.


Nancy Gunzenhauser Popper, Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. Frank C. Morris Jr., Epstein Becker & Green, P.C.


What Allergies and Odor Sensitivities Are Protected Under the ADA?

• Are Allergies and Odor Sensitivities Considered Disabilities for the Purposes of the ADA?

• What Is the Technical Difference Between Allergies and Odor Sensitivities?

• How Does Asthma or Chronic Respiratory Infection Affect ADA Obligations?

Determining Whether an Employee With an Allergy or Odor Sensitivity Is a Qualified Individual With a Disability

• Permissible Inquiries

• Medical Exams - When May They Be Used?

What Types of Accommodations Are Employers Required to Provide?

• How the New ADA Regulations Affect the Accommodation of Employees With Allergies and Odor Sensitivities

• Determining What Might Constitute a Reasonable Accommodation, and/or If Such an Accommodation Would Cause Undue Hardship to Your Organization

Best Practices for Employers

• Creating a Proper Process to Determine Whether an Individual With Allergies or Odor Sensitivity Is a Qualified Individual With a Disability Under the ADA

• Implementing a Policy Concerning Allergies and Odor Sensitivities

• Preventing Conflicts When an Employee's Allergy or Sensitivity Requires an Accommodation Affecting Co-Workers Use of Perfume or Toiletries

• Lessons Learned From Recent Cases Regarding Allergies and Odors in the Workplace