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October 30, 2022

Legal issues with fragrance sensitivities in the workplace

a man in a white suit with a yellow and blue sprayer.

If you have an employee with fragrance sensitivity, your legal obligations may be to accommodate their needs. If you fail to do so, your employee may file a discrimination lawsuit against you may lose your job. It's important to find out your rights before making a decision.

Multiple Chemical Sensitivities

According to a study form the University of West Georgia, about 30 percent of the population have some type of chemical sensitivity. Obviously some people are more effected than others. While new studies are showing these may be caused by the ingredients we use in our personal and cleaning products, it is becoming obvious that Employers are faced with a new challenges.

Employees with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS) are faced with numerous challenges in the workplace. They may face overt ridicule or intentional chemical or electrical exposures, and they may receive hate e-mails, threats, and other types of harassment. In some cases, an employee may even be ostracized by co-workers. These situations may qualify as discrimination.

In the event your employer refuses to offer you reasonable accommodations because of your chemical sensitivity, consider filing a formal complaint with the EEOC. It is important to provide any relevant medical records. Be diplomatic, and polite, but keep in mind that you may have to take the case to court if necessary.

If you're not sure if your company understands the dangers of chemical sensitivity, speak with a health professional. They will be able to advise you on the best steps to take. They may be able to offer you treatment. If they don't, you may have to seek medical attention to ensure your health.

Chemical pesticides are a major threat to those with chemical sensitivity. According to a survey, sixty percent of people with chemical sensitivity became ill after exposure to pesticides. Chemicals in insecticides and herbicides can cause severe symptoms.

Chemical allergies and multiple chemical sensitivities can qualify as disabilities under the ADA. For example, the case McBride v. City of Detroit held that Susan McBride was a qualified disabled employee under the ADA because her chemical sensitivity interfered with one of her major activities, breathing. The case also argued that the city's HR department did not engage in an interactive process with McBride to determine the appropriate accommodations.

Occupational health nurses

In the United States, there are several federal and provincial laws that require employers to make reasonable accommodations for employees with fragrance sensitivities. Although these laws don't specify exactly how employers should address the needs of employees who are sensitive to scents, they are generally quite broad. Employees who experience an allergic reaction to perfume can approach their manager to request a change of work schedule or fragrance free policy.

Fragrances in the workplace are often used in workplace products, including cosmetics, cleaning agents, and other products. Some of these fragrances can worsen asthma symptoms and affect a person's ability to work. It is important for employers to consider these factors when evaluating the adequacy of an employee's request for an accommodation.

The ADA protects workers who are sensitive to fragrances or other scents in the workplace. The law requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations that don't create an undue hardship. In the case of McBride v. the City of Detroit, the court found that a senior city manager's chemical sensitivity qualified as a disability under the ADA. She filed a lawsuit against the city because her employer denied her request for an accommodation.


Fragrance sensitivities are an increasingly common problem in today's workforce. In addition to being an inconvenience to employees, they can have a significant impact on an employer. Fortunately, employers have the constitutional right to make reasonable accommodations for employees who have a fragrance sensitivity. This is a legal right that falls under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The law requires employers to consider the needs of all employees and to make reasonable accommodations.

One way to help employees with scent sensitivities is to educate them about fragrances and other substances that can trigger these allergic reactions. While workplace policies about fragrances are intended to protect employees from the effects of perfume, there are many cases where they don't have the intended effect. Employees can take steps to make the environment safer by wearing fragrance-free products. They should be encouraged to share their feelings and preferences with their supervisors.

People with fragrance sensitivity can have a wide range of symptoms. They can experience headaches, nausea, respiratory distress, breathing difficulties or dizziness. Whether the symptoms occur at the same time or separately, they can prevent an employee from performing their job. By establishing policies for workplace fragrance-free policies, employers can provide the necessary accommodations to make the workplace safe for everyone.

Employees with fragrance sensitivities should be treated with respect. Even if they can't see the substance, they may have an allergic reaction to it. Occupational health nurses should consider their concerns and make their employees feel comfortable in the workplace. The JAN recommends alternative solutions, including using an air purification system to maintaining good air quality, ceasing the use of scented products, avoid scented lotions, wear perfume and modifying the working schedule of the affected employee.

The issue of fragrance sensitivities in the workplace is complicated. Not all fragrances are harmful, and some people don't have any reactions to them. However, scents can be found in many cleaning products and personal care products. Employers must be aware of this issue and be ready to take action if it occurs. One way to address this issue is to hire a fragrance free cleaning service. This type of service uses cleaning products that are free of fragrance additives. By using a fragrance free service, employers can help to reduce the risk of triggering fragrance sensitivities in their employees. In addition, employers should make sure that their employees are aware of the policy and know how to request a fragrance free cleaning service if they need it.

Employees with fragrance sensitivities should contact their employers to request reasonable accommodations. In some cases, employers can even ban certain fragrances in their workplace. Employers should also consider using unscented cleaning products, air fresheners or avoid using automatic scent dispenser to reduce the employee's exposure.


According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers must make reasonable accommodations for employees with fragrance sensitivities. People with fragrance sensitivity may face issues ranging from seasonal allergies to migraine headaches or asthma attacks. Because this disorder can interfere with daily functioning, the ADA requires employers to take this disability into consideration.

Scent-related complaints can be a source of internal battles, and mishandling an employee's complaint may carry major compliance risks. Scent sensitivities are common among Americans, but they can also be a symptom of an underlying respiratory condition or other medical condition. Failure to provide reasonable accommodations for a worker with fragrance sensitivity may result in ADA or civil rights litigation.

While a workplace can't ban a particular fragrance, it can reduce employee exposure to it by providing a scent-free area, using unscented cleaning products, and adopting fragrance-free work zones. Employees can also work from home or call in to meetings where their exposure is likely. However, the accommodations must be tailored to each individual.

Occupational health nurses need to take these employees' concerns seriously. After all, a chemically-sensitive person may not be able to see the substance, which is why they have a reaction. To address this issue, occupational health nurses should work with the employee to identify and implement alternative solutions. The JAN recommends that employers maintain a good air quality in the workplace, discontinue the use of scented cleaning products, automatic scent dispensers, and modify the schedule of the affected employee.

When an employee asks for a fragrance free workplace, the employer must entertain the request. It's best to engage in a dialogue and ask for medical documentation to support the request. The employee's request must be reasonable and should allow him or her to perform essential functions of their job.

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