Fragrance Sensitivity and ADA – Creating a Workplace Policy and Avoiding Litigation


January 30, 2019


Elga Lejarza

  2:00 PM ET | 01:00 PM CT | 11:00 AM PT | 60 Minutes

This program has been approved for 1.0 PDCs toward SHRM certification hours.
The program is pre-approved for 1 credit hour under HRCI


If you been asking yourself and others how to handle situations when employees raise concerns that their co-workers’ perfumes, colognes, body lotions, etc. are making them sick, then you are not alone. It is estimated that approximately 45 million Americans are affected by some form of chemical sensitivity which could be triggered from something as simple as flowers to perfumes, hand soaps, air fresheners and even pesticides.

This problem is known as "Fragrance Sensitivity" and is either an irritation or an allergic reaction to some chemical or combination of chemicals in a product. Common reactions to exposure include headaches, nausea, respiratory problems, runny nose, congestion, asthma, and watery, itching, burning and red eyes.

It took decades for the workplace to acknowledge the dangers of smoking and now fragrance sensitivity is following the same trajectory. As an employer you have a responsibility to address this serious concern in your workplace. But, you may ask, is fragrance sensitivity a disability under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA)? Well, the answer is Yes or No depending upon the case. But it’s a million dollar question you need to have an answer to or it may literally cost you more than a million dollar.

Join this webinar by expert speaker Elga Lejarza, PHR, SPHR, SHRM-CP, to explore how the ADA defines fragrance sensitivity and the broader definition under the Amendment Act. Know how to develop a workplace fragrance sensitivity policy and learn from recent significant fragrance sensitivity cases.

Session Highlights:

  • ADA and definition of disability
  • Broader definition under the Amendment Act
  • Fragrance sensitivity:
    • Definition
    • Prevention
    • Treatment
    • Mitigating symptoms
  • New ADA guidelines for fragrance sensitivity
  • Employers’ compliance with the ADA
  • Courts’ opinion with employer’s obligation with fragrance sensitivity
  • Fragrance sensitivity and employees’ work performance
  • Undue hardship defense
  • Handling fragrance sensitivity requests for accommodation
  • Reasonable accommodations vs. perfect accommodations – courts’ opinion
  • Examples of reasonable accommodations for fragrance sensitivity
  • Courts’ opinion on workplace fragrance sensitivity policy
  • How to develop a workplace fragrance sensitivity policy
  • Recent significant fragrance sensitivity cases

Who Will Benefit:

  • HR professionals and consultants
  • Office managers
  • Administrators
  • Business owners
  • Compliance officers
  • Managers
  • Employee relations professionals
  • Safety managers

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