Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I have a question

OK so we finally got some to accept a admin position with our company. Now mind you an administrative assistant at my company is no ordinary assistant. We do WAY more than answer phones, type up letters, and do data entry. We are assistants to 18 professionals in our office which travel about 75% of the time. We deal with clients via the phone all the time. They are always searching for some documents they cannot find. Anyway, we are ALWAYS busy and on the go pretty much all day.
So like I said, we finally got someone to last more than a day (at least we have not scared her off yet). But today she informed me that she has an extreme allergy to citrus. So much so that no one can eat an orange or grape fruit, have citrus cleaner such as dish soap or Lysol spray anywhere in the office.
Now my question is are we as a company legally bound to force everyone in the office to no longer bring in anything citrus (which almost everyone in our office does especially in the summer) for snack or lunch. I mean I understand with cleaners and its is easy and not a big deal to not use them. But do we really have to ask people to change THEIR lives and not eat in the back of the office of which she says will still affect her?
Today it seems very heard to find good people, but I do not feel it is fair to the entire office to not be able to do something they have always done. I do not understand why anyone who wanted to have some kind of citrus couldn't go to the break room in the back of the office (while she sits at the front) to eat their fruit.


Huse Blog is it Anyway? said...

Yeah, that's a tough call. My brother-in-law is also highly allergic to citrus. But, he is just personally extremely careful with what he is around. He takes it as his responsibility, doesn't make it everyone else's.

Gina said...

Wow - that sucks. I mean - it sucks for her to have such an allergy, but it sucks that everyone else has to deal with it. I think there should be some sort of meeting in the middle, rather than an across the board no one can eat a damned orange.

Anonymous said...

It's these same kind of feelings/actions that put children who are allergic to peanuts at risk at school and elsewhere...it's too damn hard for parents to NOT make their kid a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch so my kid has the risk of having LIFE THREATENING situation. Put yourself in her shoes. Better yet...pretend for one minute that one of your kids has a severe food allergy. What would you do? What would you request others to do? When your life is on the line it's really not that hard of a decision to make. These can be LIFE or DEATH situations in some people. If you want an orange so bad it can't wait until you get home then go outside and eat it then wash your hands. Otherwise just make it easy on yourself and fire her then you'll have all that legal business on your hands for firing someone b/c it was too hard to not eat an orange.

utmomof5 said...

Wow that last comment was, well opinionated. :) I really understand the employees's side of the story and I think there can be some work on both sides. If you let people know the situation I am sure they will be understanding also. Is there anything she can do too? Was she cool and understanding about it or super demanding? When it comes down to it we really don't want her dying from an allergic reaction.

Anonymous said...

My comment was opinionated b/c I have went through this. My view on the subject was exactly the same...why should I have to change my life/what I do because someone ELSE has a food allergy...UNTIL my son was diagnosed with a severe peanut allergy. That changed my world. Now I understand why moms/people take steps and do anything and everything they can to ensure the safety of their child and/or themselves. It a lot of cases it really is life or death if they are subjected to the substance they are allergic to. It really is pretty silly when you think about it....it is a very easy thing to do. Is it really altering your lifestyle that much to just not eat a damn orange or grapefruit at the office to ensure she doesn't go into anaphylactic shock?

Huse Blog is it Anyway? said...

There is a definite difference between adults and children. We protect our children, because they can't. As adults, we have the ability and responsibility to control ourselves and our environment.

A citrus allergy doesn't JUST eliminate oranges and grapefruits. I can see where the employer would be willing to change the cleaners and possibly make it a rule that nobody leaves citrus in her area/desk/etc. But, to eliminate it all together would mean most Chinese and French cuisine, limes, nectarines, lemons, tangerines, cantaloupe, TOMATOES, and pineapple!

What would a person with a severe citrus allergy do at a restaurant, grocery store? Do you ask the grocery store to stop carrying citrus or not go through the produce aisle?

I realize that when you're working, you're there for a longer period of time, but as an adult living with a severe food allergy, one must learn how to live in today's society protecting themselves. She can wear non-latex gloves at work. What about a mask? It's highly unlikely that her allergy is an airborne allergy, but you get my point.

As for "anonymous," I have family members with citrus, peanut and wheat allergies. They have learned how to protect themselves while leading normal lives without putting abnormal demands on everyone around them.

Anonymous said...

It's called...carry an epi-pen...Whatever in the world did we ever do BEFORE all of these rules and restrictions were put into place regarding allergies!?! Strangely enough, allergies WERE around back then and strangely enough, children managed to survive their educational career! Quite frankly it is absolutley unfair that the entire school system is made to change it's ways (regularly because there is always someone complaining about something!) for a small percentage of it's students. Currently there are no peanuts or products that may contain peanuts allowed. What about those children with allergies to dairy, eggs, citrus, mold or insects? Should we stop allowing milk, cheese, yogurt, yeast, egg salad sandwiches, bread, citrus fruits to be sent to school? Should we place our children in haz-mat suits incase something from the outside environment touches them?

I get so very tired of always having to adjust things because a handful of people. What about the majority? What are these handful of people doing to adjust to fit in with the majority?

Felicia said...

wow..i personally think its ridiculous the amount of uproar a simple blog about a citrus allergy. Advice is always welcome. I was always told if u have noting nice to say...then u should say nothing at all...duh!