Environmental sensitivities in the workplace

The Canadian Human Rights Act recognizes environmental sensitivities as a disability, therefore, they must be considered as any other medical condition. More and more employees report having adverse reactions to substances commonly found in the workplace environment.  Products such as perfumes, certain foods, certain cleaning or latex products, can trigger reactions in some people from mild to serious.

Under the Canada Labour Code, Part II, managers and employees alike are responsible collaboratively for the health and safety of others in the workplace and are expected to work together in finding solutions to reduce/eliminate or prevent incidents from occurring in the workplace.

“What are your obligations under the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Canada Labour Code, Part II?”

Employees with environmental sensitivities: You have the responsibility to inform your manager/supervisor.

Managers/Supervisors: Once informed by your employee, you have the Duty to Accommodate, and the responsibility to take corrective measures. You are expected to work in collaboration with your  employee and your workplace OHS Committee to find corrective measures and implement them expeditiously.

Employees: Once you have been informed by your manager, it is your duty to follow the corrective measures put in place by the manager.

New posters have been designed to alert employees to the presence of a co-worker that has a sensitivity – download them here (pdf): peanuts, scents, latex.