We Protect Workers

Working with asthma: What is a reasonable accommodation?

If you have asthma and are going into a workplace each day, there are some accommodations that you may want to ask for depending on the severity of your condition. For some people, there may not need to be any accommodations. For others, they may ask to be away from strong cleaning agents in the office.

Around one out of every 12 adults live with asthma in the United States, and it can be exacerbated by exposure to triggers on the job. If that happens, then the worker could end up with an attack and need medical attention.

Can you ask for reasonable accommodations for asthma?

You should be able to speak with your employer about accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act. There are no set accommodations for asthma since everyone has different triggers. However, you should be able to work out a way to avoid triggers and be safer in your work environment.

Remember, a reasonable accommodation is an adjustment to help you be safer at work and to get your job done. It’s there to give you an equal employment opportunity. For example, letting you work from home the day that a cleaner cleans the carpets or asking coworkers not to use strong perfumes could be acceptable accommodations.

Talk to your doctor, and then speak with your employer. If they do not want to provide reasonable accommodations for you, then you may have a case against them for disability discrimination. Make sure you understand your rights and the ADA, so you know the protections you’re given by law.