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\"Reasonable Accommodations\" in the Workplace

15 replies [Last post]
By bandbmom on Tue, 05-01-07, 21:46

Just curious if any of the PA adults on this board have disclosed their allergy to their potential employer upon accepting a job and if you asked for any accommodations. If so, did they consider your accommodation requests reasonable? What types of accommodations did you request? Any info you can provide on this subject (PA or any disabilities in the workplace) will be very helpful :-)


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By bandbmom on Wed, 05-02-07, 10:57

Hi Adrienne - Sorry to be so secretive, but don't want to give all the specifics just yet. Let's just say someone very close to me with multiple hidden disabilities is on his third interview for a job opportunity. This person knows not to disclose the disabilities until an offer is made. I just wanted to get an idea as to how others received accommodations for hidden disabilities and how the requests were perceived. I am concerned about this person's well-being if they do in fact get and take this job and I suggested that disclosing the disabilities and asking for accommodations will be the only way to go if and when an offer is extended.

It sounds like you have been pretty successful in getting the help you need to be safe at work. Thank you so much for sharing your information.

Tracy :-)

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By cathlina on Fri, 05-25-07, 01:06

It is illegal for an employer to discuss disabilities/accomodations during a job interview. This can give rise to discrimination. The time to discuss is after you receive and accept a written job offer.

I did not ask for any accomodations when I started with present employer. I did not realize how much people pigged out on snack foods all day long

Human resources caught wind that I was PA and decided on their own to make a peanut free floor for me to work on.

And there are 130 people in my department.

I feel pretty lucky that my employer is so progressive.

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By pateach on Sat, 05-26-07, 18:13

I'm a teacher. I decided to make my classroom peanut-free. After having a severe airborne reaction elsewhere in the school, the whole staff has agreed to make all common areas peanut-free. I am very grateful!

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By princesshinmighty on Fri, 06-01-07, 00:11

I never kept it a secret in my job interviews, nor in the pre-employment phonecalls (accepting the job, verifying references, etc.)

While I was in training, they were wonderful about it. They provided me with lysol wipes and made sure that the training dept knew about the allergy...When we were sitting with "buddies" (I work in a call center - they wanted us to sit with an experienced agent for a couple of weeks to practice/listen/etc with someone right there to watch over you and help you if you need it), they had me sit with just one the entire time, who knew all about the problem and we both kept the area clean. The people in my training class were all great about it, I asked my trainer if I could maybe talk to them about it before class one day - she agreed that would be best, especially since during training we would have 2 potlucks.

I then got out to the "floor", where they were supposed to have a few things in place - ie, signs up at my desk notifying anyone else who sat there when I wasn't there to not eat anything at that desk, especially nut-containing products. (There is supposed to be a no-food on the floor policy anyway) as well as notifying my supervisor and the others around me of the concern and potential problems.

The supervisor did not take what I said seriously and I ended up having problems, including an er trip in an ambulance. There were a few people on the team that did not believe me and "tested me" and she did not help -- also eating peanuts and peanut butter and then "hiding it" from me when I would come up to ask her a question or explain to her that I was having issues...

The signs were never approved to be put up specifically at my seat, as they would not give us any specific assigned seats - they kept moving us everytime we came in, so they "couldn't/wouldn't" put up signs at every desk in the call center.

When I had the reaction that resulted in HR calling an ambulance to take me to the ER, they finally consented to allowing 2 signs to be put up in the GENERAL area around where we were currently being seated - but they were not allowed to include any "exact" information - So they put up signs that said "Watch what you eat; severe food allergies in the area can cause airborne reactions to others" which got tattered, ripped down, and ignored. Surprisingly, I found one the other day...

I soon got transferred off of that supervisor's team and am now excelling without any real reactions at work. My current team mates all understand and help me out with the problems. They have also passed a strict no-eating policy, which actually gets people written up if they even think about smelling food.

I also got a promotion and when the old supervisor and her manager found out, they didn't congratulate me - they said things like "you still work here?" *rolls eyes*

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By Rach on Sat, 06-23-07, 18:31

This is something that is about to become a concern for me - about to enter the world of work and I'm still trying to figure out what the best way to handle this is. I haven't begun the job yet so I don't know the office set up, other than it's enormous, busy and open plan!

Take care

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By giester2 on Mon, 08-20-07, 22:25

I got fired from a job because of my pa allergy. I was working with kids in an afterschool program, and each afternoon they served snacks. I saw on the menu that they were going to be serving peanut butter on crackers (not premade pb on crackers) and I told my boss that I couldn't work that day. She said okay. The day came, I reminded her what I had said, and left before snack time. As I was leaving she came outside, chewed me out and said I was fired if I didn't get back in there. I told her "oh well." And this was a church!

My employer now goes to extremes to make sure that I am not exposed to any type of nut, such as reading labels, monitoring my color...breathing if I have a problem.

[This message has been edited by giester2 (edited August 20, 2007).]

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By LisaM on Tue, 08-21-07, 00:34

giester2, that is horrible! Did you ask her not to serve the pb? Or did you just ask to not work that day?

The one thing I would have done differently would be my response after her threat that you were fired. I'd remind her of her promise to you and also use words like "medical disability" "accomodation"--I would offer to provide medical documentation to attest to the PA.

I'd be tempted to pursue this just to make my voice heard and to feel better about it. Perhaps you could write a letter/visit your boss's boss and express your disappointment at the fact that they fired you due to a failure to make reasonable accomodation for your medical disability.

As for me---I'll be working part time soon on a short term contract, but most of my work is done independently and from home. I haven't disclosed my medical condition to my supervisor or most of my colleagues. I would if I were working full time and in one building most of the time, but when I go in to work, I'll be in different buildings and might not be in my shared office that much (depending on how much I work from home). I share an office with a friend who knows vaguely about my allergies. I've never seen her eating nuts so I'm not going to say anything unless I start having problems because I'm allergic to much more than nuts and I don't want her to have to worry about it.

If I started to have serious contact reactions, I'd speak up. If I was around the office more, I'd let people know, too in case I had a reaction while at work. But I'm afraid it might seem odd to announce my medical issues when I'll probably have little contact with my colleagues or my supervisor in the first place.

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By giester2 on Tue, 08-21-07, 16:16

Quote:Originally posted by LisaM:
[b]giester2, that is horrible! Did you ask her not to serve the pb? Or did you just ask to not work that day?

I told her that I was highly allergic to all nuts, and that the smell of peanut butter would cause labored breathing and hives. I told her that I could not work that day. It was a job that I had just to make gas money, no real future in it. I have a much better job now. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]

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By LisaM on Wed, 08-22-07, 03:13

Quote:I told her that I was highly allergic to all nuts, and that the smell of peanut butter would cause labored breathing and hives. I told her that I could not work that day.

!!! Unbelievable that they wouldn't have served something else that day. Even though that job doesn't really matter to you now, that little episode must rankle.

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By mobobbie on Tue, 01-15-08, 22:51

I see absolutely no reason to disclose PA during an interview. It does not diminish your skills at all.
I had worked for my self for the last few years and just recently re-entered the job market. It was not until after my first week of training in a small office when a co-worker saw me wiping down the phones & keyboards that I explained 1-flu season 2-food allergies
The whole office now knows where my Epi-pens are in my purse, which is never locked up. They are also all kind and considerate and eat no candy with nuts or peanut butter. Since this is a "front office" there is supposed to be no eating anyway.

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By Ra3chel on Mon, 01-21-08, 20:39

I generally don't disclose allergy information at interviews unless it's an immediate issue - if, say, the interviewer has open nuts in his or her office. I'd probably bring it up if I were interviewing for a childcare or food service job, though.

I've been at my current job for about a year and a half, and I've just now started working with the HR department to get ADA accomodations - it took me that long to get it through my head that I was prioritizing other people's convenience and not wanting to be a nuisance above my physical safety. They've been great about it so far, though...

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By phoenixrizing69 on Thu, 01-31-08, 01:46

As a college student, I work at a summer camp during the summer. I had already accepted a position as a counselor when I was diagnosed with PA and TNA. I contacted the camp director to let her know ASAP, so appropriate accomadations could be made. I had very few problems associated directly with the camp and peanuts and tree nuts. A few of the other staff members I had minor issues with, bringing the tub of PB that was to stay in the kitchen out into the dining room and set it down at the table I was at. Needless to say ALL of the staff members at the peanut and nut free staff table got after him. I would let my campers know the first night that no one is allowed to have PB with in the group and they were great. I even a one camper who was also PA.

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By Rach on Fri, 02-15-08, 12:47

I didn't mention my allergy at the interview, and I don't think allergies are classed as a disability in the UK (I may be wrong). Even if it was, it is perfectly acceptable for any disabilities to be discussed at interview - largely to see what accommodations would have to be made etc.

I share an office with one person, who I really do not get on with. Which is a shame, as I generally get on with anyone. My dislike of her has never been allergy-related...until this morning.

So, she waltzes in late, toast in hand, and sits at her desk munching away. Within a couple of minutes, my eyes had swollen up and I was covered in hives all over my chest and arms.

I asked her what she had on her toast, and she said peanut butter. I told her how uncomfortable I was, and that I was reacting to it. She carried on eating, muttered an insincere "sorry" and just said it wasn't her fault that they had run out of marmite. Charming.

Anyway, I went to get some fresh air, and let the smell die down a bit, and the room is massive, so it no longer smells. I have, however, taken enough antihistimine to make me rattle when I walk I should imagine!

Needless to say, the atmosphere has been rather tense here all day!


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By OriJuice on Wed, 03-05-08, 02:35

I never mentioned it during interviews. I always brought it up casually or just said to my super or manager "Oh by the way!"

I work at Rogers Broadcasting doing Co Op right now and we all have a laugh about it, they put up and signs and the whole sha-bang. It was quite humorous. We all had a good laugh, and they understood and I understood. The way I explained the peanut allergy to my super was this way.

"So, god forbid a peanut flies into the studio while I am filming and somehow gets in my mouth; go into the red room and look for a camo bag, don't be alarmed if you can't find it as it is Camo; but I will put fluorescent stickers on it if you want!"

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By lanier on Sat, 04-21-12, 17:19

Let's say, hypothetically, you wanted to work in a candy store that has crazy amounts of products with peanuts, tree nuts, and all sorts of potential food allergens.

First, would anyone out there with a peanut allergy choose to work in an environment like this?

And, second, if you took that risk and pursued this sort of employment, how would you expect your employer to protect you when there are products with peanuts virtually everywhere?

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