Discrimination And Asthma: Your Rights And Your Employer's Rights

If you have asthma, then you are likely to be considered to have a disability according to the Americans with Disability Act. Many cases of asthma are triggered by exposure to allergens or chemicals commonly used in the workplace. Because it is considered a disability, there are laws in place to prevent discrimination and retaliation. However, many people with asthma are often discriminated against in the workplace despite having protections. If you have asthma, and it's being aggravated by your workplace, then you should here are two things you should know about your rights and the rights of your employer.

You have the right to request reasonable accommodation:

Like any other disability, you have the right to ask your employer to make reasonable accommodations so that you can do your job effectively. This includes possibly asking your employer to limit perfumes or change certain office cleaning supplies. You may also ask to be moved to another work location if another coworker's perfume is allergenic or someone you're working next to is covered with animal dander. Another example of the type of accommodations and employer can provide is for you to be warned when you are going to be exposed to certain chemicals that are common asthma triggers such as those in new carpeting. They also can't punish you for taking time off for doctors appointments or treatments related to your allergies and asthma.

Employers may refuse due to hardship:

Though you, as someone with asthma, has rights, so does your employer. The key to employer rights are the words "reasonable accommodations." If reasonable accommodations cause a hardship to their business, they have the right to refuse to do them. For example, you can't request that your employer put in a new filtration system if it causes them a financial hardship or loss of business. Another example is if the only way to accommodate you is to have you work in an entirely different room, but there are no other rooms available. They do not have to create or rent a new room if it's shown to be either a financial burden, or disruptive to their operations. Also, if your employer has under a certain number of employees, they may not legally required to do anything.

If you're suffering from severe allergies and asthma, and your employer has dismissed your concerns, refused to do anything about it or even fired you for no reason, then you have the right to legal action. If you find that your workplace is substances that are aggravating your asthma, and nothing is being done about it, contact a firm like Law Office of Faye Riva Cohen, P.C. who specializes in discrimination and civil rights to see if you have a case.