Alergy to something at work
UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022
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Alergy to something at work
I have been working at the IBM facility
in Boulder since Feb of 2015. The
buildings I have worked in have always
cause my nose to stuff up a lot of
other people have this complaint as
well. 4 weeks ago I started to break
out in a rash and not feel well. The
rash kept getting worse and worse. I
have so far seen 3 doctors. The rash has
become so bad that it covered all but my
face and legs below the knees. The last
doctor I saw gave me a note to work at
home last week and she had to give me a
shot as this rash itches horribly. After
a week off work, the rash had stop
spreading and was actually healing. I
went to work yesterday. After being in
the building about an hour, my nose
plugged up, my ears plugged up and I
started itching again. When I came home
my back was bright red again and hurting
and itching. This morning I have a new
patch of rash right below my breast and
a new spot on my back. The patch below
my breast starting itching about half
way through my shift. I also have a spot
on my knee that looks like it will soon
spread into a nice little rash. I am
hurting and itching all over again. I am
almost afraid to go back into work and
called in sick this morning. I am also
trying to get back into my doctors this
morning. This rash hurts and itches.
Asked on July 29, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Colorado
SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney
Answered 3 years ago | Contributor
There is no easy or simple answer, since it is very fact dependent:
1) Are you allergic to something that is generally or at least relatively commonly harmful (which *may* be the case if other people have the same complaint) or something only affecting a small minority of people? Your employer's obligation is to take reasonable steps to ensure employee health and safety, which means that if it is very unusual that you'd react to whatever it is, they don't have to do anything about it--it's not reasonable to go to potentially great effort to correct something that affects only a small minority of people.
2) Can you identify what it is that is affecting you? As a practical matter, you must be able to identify the irritant or allergent and show the causal link to your symptoms. If you can't, your supposition that it must be something at work because it only happens at work isn't enough to *prove* in any legal action that your employer is liable or responsible for what is happening. The law requies specificity and proof.
3) Once you identify (if you identify) what the thing is affecting you, what is the cost to remediate it? If it's too expensive, could you reasonable, as an alternative, work at home to avoid exposure? There's no way to know your rights or the company's obligations without understanding the options and the costs (both monetary and in term of workflow or productivity) of them.
Therefore, your question does not contain enough information to meaningfullly advise you.
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