Webinar to Discuss Workplace Odor, Allergy Accommodations

SPRINGFIELD — Skoler, Abbott & Presser, P.C., a labor and employment law firm serving the Greater Springfield area, announced that partner Susan Fentin will host a webinar for employers regarding how to master odor and allergy accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The webinar, provided in part by BLR (Business & Legal Resources), will be held Thursday, April 16 from 1:30 to 3 p.m.

“ADA accommodations are a common HR challenge,” said Fentin, “and employee allergies to fragrances and odors present a real compliance conundrum. Their complaints include headaches, respiratory problems, nausea, chest tightness, asthma, and skin rashes. This can make it difficult to impossible for the employee to work, leading to many absences and other problems in the workplace.”

Fragrance sensitivity may be covered by the ADA, depending upon the severity of the condition and how limiting it is to the worker. Figuring out how to accommodate these impairments so employees can perform essential job functions can be tricky for human resources to navigate. To avoid annoying complaints, lost productivity due to employee absences, or even threats of a lawsuit, it’s crucial to have a plan to address scent-related allergies.

The webinar will touch on how allergies to odors and fragrances affect employees, when allergies to fragrances and odors constitute an ADA disability, possible accommodations for employees with fragrance allergies, how to create a company culture mitigating odors, how to create a fragrance-free environment for allergic employees, how companies reduce exposure to odors and how much is necessary to comply with the law, how to implement a fragrance-free workplace policy, possible Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) claims employers face, and more.

To register for the webinar, call (800) 274-6774 or visit store.hrhero.com/events/audio-conferences-webinars/odors-041615. The program has been approved for up to 1.5 recertification credit hours through the HR Certification Institute.

Fentin has been a partner at the firm since 2004. Her practice concentrates on labor and employment counseling, advising large and small employers on their responsibilities and obligations under state and federal employment laws, and representing employers before state and federal agencies and in court. She speaks frequently to employer groups, conducts training on avoiding problems in employment law, and teaches master classes on both the Family and Medical Leave Act and the ADA. Since 2010, she has been ranked as one of the top labor and employment attorneys in Massachusetts by the Chambers USA rating firm.

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