Can I File a Claim for an Allergic Reaction?
March 21, 2019
It is well-established that Pennsylvania workers may collect workers’ compensation for work-related injuries and illnesses. However, a common question the Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. are asked is whether workers’ compensation covers allergic reactions.
The Allergy Must Be Severe
Workers with minor allergic reactions may not be able to file a claim for workers’ compensation; however, those who have severe allergic reactions that limit their ability to work may be eligible for benefits. A claim for an allergic reaction may be filed regardless of whether the worker or his employer knew of the allergy beforehand.
Common Workplace Allergens
People may experience allergic reactions to a variety of substances and symptoms range from mild to severe. Some common workplace allergens include:
- Cleaning chemicals
- Foods, such as peanuts
- Office plants
- Office supply chemicals
- Pet dander
Occupational asthma causes 24.5 million missed workdays per year in the U.S., according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Workplace triggers such as dust, dander, and fumes may worsen symptoms of asthma or may even cause fatal reactions.
Employers Must Provide Reasonable Accommodations
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employees are entitled to reasonable workplace accommodations for qualifying disabilities. The ADA defines a disability as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, such as working.
Employees who require time off from work to treat any type of work-related allergic reaction may be eligible for workers’ compensation to cover a portion of their lost wages.
Employers must enable disabled workers to enjoy an equal employment opportunity by changing the work environment or job description. However, they may not have to provide reasonable accommodations if doing so would pose an undue hardship or burden to the employer.
What constitutes an undue hardship depends on various factors, including the type of accommodation required, the cost to implement it, the nature of the business, and the financial resources of the employer.
Recent ADA Changes
Recent changes to the ADA have allowed workers to request workplace accommodations for temporary allergic reactions. These requests must be reasonable, such as:
- Being allowed to take time off for medical appointments or restructuring the workweek to allow for regular treatments
- Conducting training sessions to educate employees and supervisors on allergy accommodations
- Making accommodations for food allergies at work events where refreshments are served
- Providing latex-free gloves or other hypo-allergenic work supply alternatives
- Transferring employees with severe allergies to a different location or allowing them to work under different conditions
Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Help Workers Obtain Compensation for Allergic Reactions
If you suffered a severe allergic reaction due to a trigger in the workplace, contact a Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyer at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Our skilled attorneys will work to ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the maximum compensation to which you are entitled. We proudly represent workers in Philadelphia and throughout Pennsylvania in workers’ compensation claims. For a free consultation, please complete our online contact form or call us at 888-PITT-LAW.
We represent clients in Berks County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County and throughout Pennsylvania, including those in the communities of Abington, Ambler, Ardmore, Bala Cynwyd, Bensalem, Clifton Heights, Crum Lynne, Darby, Downingtown, Doylestown, Drexel Hill, Essington, Folcroft, Glenolden, Haverford, Havertown, Holmes, Kutztown, Lansdowne, Media, Merion Station, Morton, Narberth, Norristown, Norwood, Philadelphia, Prospect Park, Quakertown, Reading, Roxborough, Sharon Hill, Upper Darby, West Chester and Wynnewood.