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What is chemical sensitivity discrimination?

If you're extremely sensitive to chemicals, you know exactly who you are. You've likely lived your life encountering people who don't believe that you become physically ill when you're in the presence of strong cleaning solution fumes.

You've probably learned how to ignore these challenges and see them as nothing more than a bothersome annoyance, but what if one of them happens to be your boss? What if you're suffering from a debilitating chemical sensitivity at your workplace that is so strong that you can't even perform your job duties, but your boss won't do anything about it?

If you are suffering from a chemical sensitivity disability and your employer is discriminating against you because of it, you may want to investigate your legal rights and options under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). You may have the right to seek reasonable accommodations.

For example, if using latex-free gloves instead of normal gloves to avoid an allergic reaction to latex, you may request that your employer keep such gloves in stock. You might ask your boss to move your cubicle to an area of the office that isn't plagued by the chemical irritants that cause your system to react.

You may want to consider filing a formal complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) about your lack of on-the-job chemical sensitivity accommodations. When doing so, you should also provide your employer with medical records relating to your impairments. It's important to stay diplomatic, polite and patient during these interactions.

Ultimately, if you don't get anywhere with your requests for reasonable accommodations, you might want to stand up for your legal rights in court.

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