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JB Umphrey
JB Umphrey, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 20233
Experience:  Assisting employees and employers for over 14 years.
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My sister has a severe anaphylatic food allergy, so that even

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My sister has a severe anaphylatic food allergy, so that even the smell or fumes of this food can cause a potentially life-threatening reaction. She works in an office that is a doctors clinic on one side and a research office on the other. The clinic side is very good about making sure not to bring this food into the building, as they have seen the reaction it causes my sister to have. Some of the people on the research side, however, are not this kind. There have been signs put up all over both sides of the building asking people not to bring this food in, as well as in the shared break room, on bulletin boards, and in intra-office e-mails that have gone to EVERY employee. There are those that still insist on bringing it into the buildinng. Now the office manager, who is in charge over both sides of the building, is saying that they can't actually ban the food from the buildinng.

All of that to ask - can they legally ban the food from the building? Can they be charged with anything knowing the severity of the reaction it causes? Is there any legal action we can take?
Welcome and thank you for your question!

I am sorry to learn of the facts you've described. It would be helpful to know: do more than 15 people work @ your sister's place of employment?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Yes. I believe between the two side there are probably around 40 or so employees.

Thank you. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, your sister has the legal right to demand the employer to make an accommodation for her disability/medical condition. Her request should be made in writing and have a doctor's note attached. She should keep a copy for her records. If the employer does not make the accommodation, she can file a complaint with her local EEOC office.

She can learn more about her rights at this link:

Now, as for the employer's claim that they cannot ban certain food or drink items. That is baloney. I bet the employer bans alcohol, right?

Your sister's employer simply is not aware of what the law requires of them and they're giving her nonsensical excuses. Here's an example of what happened to an employer who was not sensitive to an employee's medical limitations on certain scents:

My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back. I am happy to address follow-up questions. Thank you for your business!

~~ J.B.
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