ADA accommodation vs. ADA accommodation

by Walter Olson on May 11, 2010

The city of Indianapolis let an employee bring her allergy service dog to the workplace, only to discover that a co-worker was allergic to dogs. [NYTimes] More: Hyman.

{ 18 comments }

1 nevins 05.11.10 at 12:42 pm

Relatively straightforward, and not much of an ADA vs ADA test case.
Not having a dog in the workplace is not so much an accommodation; it is the normal state of almost any job (other than a kennel or vets office).
The paprika allergic person can be accommodated, but she will have to find a paprika detection means other than a dog. The paprika allergic woman should understand the courtesy of not bringing allergens to work having asked the same of others, and decline to bring her own walking shedding drooling allergen dispenser.

2 Brian, follower of Deornoth 05.11.10 at 1:06 pm

I would suggest that the employer relocate their business to somewhere that fatuous lawsuits of this kind were treated with the contempt they deserve. Then I read the employer was the public sector, and everything became clear.

3 Aaron Worthing 05.11.10 at 1:07 pm

And i would wonder, is there nothing this hyper-allergy sufferer can do? no mask to wear, etc.?

How the hell is it that we have gotten like this, so that people are so impaired they apparently can’t go out in the real world at all? i mean 50 years ago we didn’t have these problems. what are we doing different?

And what does she do that she can’t just work from home?

4 Random Commenter 05.11.10 at 1:30 pm

How the hell is it that we have gotten like this, so that people are so impaired they apparently can’t go out in the real world at all? i mean 50 years ago we didn’t have these problems. what are we doing different?

We didn’t have some these problems 50 years ago because people with severe allergic reactions just died instead.

5 bradysdad 05.11.10 at 1:35 pm

Indiana state law requires an employer to allow an employee to bring a service dog to work. There are financial and prison penalties attached. The employer [in this caase the State itself] must also make other accomodations for the dog allergy sufferer.

6 Reformed Republican 05.11.10 at 2:15 pm

Too bad he cannot just fire one of them.

7 kat 05.11.10 at 3:39 pm

This suggest a whole new area of interpleader type actions. The employer deposits both employees (and their medical restrictions) with the court, and the court figures out how they can work together or which one goes.

8 Bob Lipton 05.11.10 at 3:47 pm

Both can be accomodated by building facilities several miles from each other, wiring them up thoroughly so that each is completely separated from other human beings and their dogs, and yet in constant communication. Should only cost a few billion.

Where’s the poster who seems to think that the word ‘reasonable’ means any accomodation that can be reaosned out.

Man years ago , in my D&D group, we had one player with an addiction — tobacco — and he needed to be accomodated. We had another player with an allergy to tobacco (at least, when he wasn’t dating someone who smoked). So, in the middle of the winter we kept all the windows open to accomodate their disabilities.

I came down with pneumonia.

Bob

9 Dirk D 05.11.10 at 5:43 pm

“Indiana state law requires an employer to allow an employee to bring a service dog to work. There are financial and prison penalties attached. The employer [in this caase the State itself] must also make other accomodations for the dog allergy sufferer.”

Only if the state has waived sovereign immunity to that suit. Maybe that’s why she filed with the EEOC under the ADA. Anyways, for now she is only pursuing the federal claim.

10 D 05.11.10 at 6:08 pm

The way I read kat’s suggestion is to put the two employees into a room packed full of dogs and paprika and see which employee melts first. Or they could choose to work it out amicably. I know that’s not what you said, but I posit that it would be effective on many levels.

11 kimsch 05.11.10 at 6:34 pm

Paprika is made from peppers. Is she only allergic to the powdered paprika? You’d think she’d be allergic to chipotle, cayenne, jalapeno, etc. as well.

12 roy 05.12.10 at 3:03 am

Who’s responsible for making sure both can attend the trial?

13 Jim Collins 05.12.10 at 11:19 am

Get rid of both of them. Then you can say that you treated both equally.

14 captnhal 05.13.10 at 5:51 am

The NY Times article only gives the paprika side. I’d like to hear the dog side before choosing sides. I’d also like to know if the employee with the dog allergy ever had to work in a place with a seeing eye dog and what was done to accommodate. Is this office really too small to fit both employees?

15 Jack Wilson 05.13.10 at 3:52 pm

How have the ADA and the EEOC survived constitutional scrutiny? Neither of these agencies should even exist, according to my copy of the constitution. What gives the federal government the authority to get involved in private employment issues?

16 Jack Wilson 05.13.10 at 3:53 pm

Correction: I realize the ADA isn’t an agency, but a ‘law’. A very vague law.

17 Tsiroth 05.13.10 at 10:17 pm

Bob: You do understand that pneumonia is caused by bacteria or viruses, and not by cold air?

18 Bob Lipton 05.13.10 at 10:29 pm

I am aware that pneumonia is caused by microbes. I am also aware that heating and chilling inside is not the most healthful of environments.

Bob

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