Severe allergy suffers often deal with a certain level of misconception by peers, co-workers, and society as a whole. There are typical allergies many Americans cope with; however, for some, allergies greatly diminish quality of life. For severe allergy suffers, one allergen can lead to serious asthma attacks, devastating symptoms, and severe difficulty carrying out daily tasks. Those who suffer from severe allergies often find it difficult to go out in public and even hold employment due to their allergen triggers and symptoms.
Luckily, those with severe allergies can still maintain employment by managing allergies in the workplace. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers are required to make certain accommodations for those who suffer from severe allergies in the workplace. Employees also have rights under the EEOC. In order to successfully manage your allergies in the workplace, it’s important to understand your rights as an employee.
Common Allergy Triggers
Every allergy suffer has known triggers, which can lead to severe allergy symptoms and even life-threatening asthma attacks. However, there are several allergens that rank among the most troublesome in the workplace. Among the top allergy irritations in the workplace include: dust, pollen, fumes, gases, perfumes, latex, pet allergens, cleaning supplies, beauty products, mice, and mold. Although it may be difficult for your employer to rid all of the allergens from the workplace, you’re still entitled to certain accommodations.
Understanding Your Rights
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, your employer may be able to make certain accommodations for you. However, in order to receive any accommodations you must have proper medical documentation for your allergies. Sometimes, you may have to provide your employer with the accommodations, such as air purifiers. Sometimes, your employer will make the accommodations, such as using different cleaning products.
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration requires a facility to meet certain requirements. If your place of employment doesn’t meet these requirements, your employer will need to resolve these issues. Under the EEOC, you also have rights in regards to your respiratory health. If your allergies cause severe respiratory distress, which limits your life activity on a high level, you may even qualify for disability.
Sometimes, allergies are simply too severe to be managed in the workplace. This can be quite stressful due to the fact you need to have a stable job in order to survive. If you’re unable to manage your allergies in a workplace but don’t qualify for disability, considered telecommuting. Telecommuting allows you to continue to work while in your own home or in an environment you can control your exposure to allergens more effectively.
Although it’s often an uphill battle to manage your allergies in the workplace, don’t give up. You do have rights you can exercise to make your workplace more suitable.