My first ADA situation! I think I know what I am supposed to be doing, but want to make sure since even with 8 years of HR experience, I only have book knowledge in this area.


Company decides to paint and replace some carpeting. Memo goes out to all employees explaining when and how several days beforehand.

New employee comes to me with issue (she wants to give me a heads up). Says she has an inhaler and an EpiPen. She is highly alergic to some odors, and sometimes paint gives her problems. She has been by the painted area, and sat near it during break, and so far no problems.

The paint is as odor free as you can get it, but there are still chemicals in the air. Chemicals are the real problem, so we even discussed which room doordorizers are out in the restroom. We talked of several possibilities as far as the paint goes, such as moving her to a window desk when they are painting by her station. I also asked if we would be able to get to her EpiPen should the need arise. She keeps it locked up. Prior employers have told her to keep it that way.

I have no experience whatsoever with an EpiPen. Will she need help? We have 2 nurses. Should I talk to one of them, or will that be breaking this employee's right to confidentiality?

Employee is also highly alergic to a number of foods, so I forsee some possible problems down the road at luncheons. And, oh yes, she is diabetic.

I am standing here with my arms wide open for your advice Oh Forumites. Please bless me with some.



  • 4 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Gee, Nae, we are a sorry lot. You posted this nearly a month ago and none of us have been brave enough to answer. Have we waited long enough that the situation resolved itself, or did the paint odors cause the ee to go in to anaphylactic shock?
  • The employee did fine. We did have her by a window one day, but most of the time she was ok. I really feel for her. She has all these issues, and was working so hard NOT to be a pain to us. She later admitted that she had spoken up once about her alergy limitations and been terminated on the spot. I was surprised and let her know that she had legal protection (within reason), and suggested perhaps the employer had made a mistake. (She immediately agreed. The employer is no longer in business, and last she heard they were fighting 3 sexual harassment lawsuits.) I let her know that we do our best to comply with all laws, and would agree to any reasonable accomodation.

    I still don't know for sure what to do about the EpiPen. At this point I let her supervisor be aware of the possibility, and also let the supervisory nurse know that there was a possibility of a problem. Now we are in wait and see mode.
  • Looks to me like you covered everything well. I really don't see a need to keep the Epipen locked up. I have a friend who happens to be a nurse who keeps an Epipen in her purse, her car and her desk at her office, "just in case".
  • I don't know why she might need it locked up either. A prior employer told her to keep it that way, but that may have been due to fear of theft. Apparently they had such problems there.
    I told her it was her choice to lock it up or leave it out.