To think some of the scents we smell every day — perfume, soap or lunch food — could be overwhelming enough to physically disable a person might sound unbelievable. For one employee with extreme allergies caused by fragrance sensitivity, it was a very real, burdensome issue. She began to have severe reactions, which began to limit her ability to perform on the job and increase her absences. Some creative thinking from our Workplace Possibilities on-site consultant, along with suitable accommodations, steered her situation into a positive direction. See more of this story in my video below.
It’s hard to believe something as innocent as scented perfume could cause a person to have health issues, but fragrance sensitivity — an allergic reaction or irritation to chemicals in certain products — is very real and, depending on the severity, can become problematic in the workplace. In many of my stay-at-work and return-to-work cases, individuals have aversions to chemicals, fumes and other scents floating around in the work environment. Irritation with perfume and similar fragrances are the most prevalent. So, what’s a manager to do if this situation arises?