Workers injured on the job can file claims after being injured in various ways: falls, explosions, amputations and caught-in-between accidents being some of the more common, at least on construction sites. But what if you work in an office where the dangers are not so readily apparent, but you're allergic to peanuts, or dairy? But can you file a claim after suffering from an allergic reaction to food?
A minor allergic reaction might not be enough to inspire a workers' compensation claim. But some people have allergies so severe as to limit their ability to work; some reactions can even be potentially fatal. These types of reactions could lead to a workers' compensation claim.
Rather than dealing with the fallout of an allergic reaction, though, it's better to prevent such incidents from occurring in the first place. And because of 2008 changes to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that allow for temporary reactions to be classified as disabilities, employees are now more empowered to request accommodations in the workplace that would limit their exposure to potential allergens.
These requests are required to be "reasonable," and could include such things as:
- Maintaining a separate supply of disposable place settings and utensils to be used by those with allergies
- Reminding other employees to identify ingredients in food brought to a pot luck
- Allowing for a small personal refrigerator or other food storage area for the exclusive use of the person with the allergy
If you have a food allergy, you already know how vigilant you have to be to protect your health. Obviously, filing a workers' compensation claim isn't anyone's first line of defense against such a potentially damaging reaction. With the new ADA rules allowing allergies to be classified as a disability, making reasonable requests for accommodation would be a good first step. In the event that you do need to file a claim, and you're not sure where to start, talk to a workers' compensation lawyer to discuss your case and what the process is likely to entail.