Magazine article HRMagazine

Fragrance Sensitivity Raises Bouquet of Legal Issues

Magazine article HRMagazine

Fragrance Sensitivity Raises Bouquet of Legal Issues

Article excerpt

It's a frequent subject of workplace jokes-the aftershave that could wake the dead or the scented soap that makes staying dirty seem like a better alternative than washing up. But laughter aside, when someone asks for a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), HR should take the request seriously.

Fragrance sensitivity can run the gamut from mild (akin to seasonal allergies) to severe (setting off acute migraines or asthma attacks).

Small workplace adjustments may be all that is needed. But if someone is allergic to many different smells, providing an odor-free workplace may be the only way to address the issue-although some may view that as outside the realm of "reasonable."

Still, as a best practice, seek to accommodate a fragrance-sensitive employee, even if the condition does not rise to the level of a disability under the ADA. …

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