An estimated 45 million Americans are affected by some form of chemical sensitivity that may be triggered by something as simple as flowers, perfume or hand soap. Because a chemical sensitivity may be considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), an employer often has a duty to provide a reasonable accommodation when the employee’s sensitivity is aggravated by exposure to a substance in the workplace. However, there are limitations to an employer’s obligations in this regard because the law recognizes that there is only so much avoidance that can be done before an employer would essentially be providing a bubble for an employee to work in. To ensure compliance with the ADA, employers should consider the following guidelines to make sense of their obligations regarding scents in the workplace.
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