When Keeping Your Job Depends On What Other People Do

When we develop MCS/ES, one of the first concerns we have is how to keep our job when other people keep using products and materials that disable us.

Some people are able to negotiate a legally required accommodation  policy, but sadly, too many people find these policies are rarely or effectively enforced as they should be.

no enforcement lost my job

Recent research from Dr Anne Steinemann shows there are serious adverse  impacts due to fragrance use:

“Significantly, 15.1 % of the general population reported that exposure to fragranced products in their work environment has caused them to become sick, lose workdays, or lose a job. Also, 20.2 % of the population reported that if they enter a business, and smell air fresheners or some fragranced product, they want to leave as quickly as possible.


Here are some Human Rights resources on various laws, regulations, and solutions that, when enforced, can help people remain employed without losing their health and abilities:

The Canadian Human Rights Commission Policy and Papers on Environmental Sensitivities




The first Guides to Accommodating the Needs of People with Environmental Sensitivities in Canada



Disability and human rights from the Ontario Human Rights Commission


Ontario Policy on ableism and discrimination based on disability


Accommodating Persons with Environmental Sensitivities: Challenges and Solutions from the Great Lakes ADA Center


See some examples here:


Job Accommodation Network (JAN) Accommodation Ideas for Multiple Chemical Sensitivity or Environmental Illness


Accessible Meetings, Events & Conferences Guide from ADA Hospitality addresses Chemical and Electrical Sensitivities


Some detailed examples here:


Fragrance free policies from around the world

enforcement 1

No-one should lose their health, abilities, and job because of other people’s product habits, especially products that are optional and not medically required. Finding and implementing the use of safe and healthy products and practices is straightforward and simple, but only when the attitudinal barriers are addressed and removed.


Please remember too, that accommodating people with environmental, chemical, and electro “sensitivities” benefits everyone, as these accommodations make all environments healthier for everyone who uses them.

PS… I have no control over the ads that get shown here.

11 responses to “When Keeping Your Job Depends On What Other People Do

  1. Exposure bullying and harassment also has to be stopped:

    Jennifer Newman: Why bullying in the workplace continues to persist
    Incivility or disrespect can quickly spiral into something worse, says workplace psychologist Jennifer Newman


    “You can place it on a continuum, spanning from incivility, all the way to physical assault. It’s a progressive escalation in inappropriate behaviour. If a manager lets incivility go, it can morph into disrespect. So, not saying thank you, not being polite may seem minor. And, as a one off, it is. But then letting rudeness, passive aggressiveness, gruff angry responses go, time after time, can contribute to an escalation.”

    • It’s crucial that any policy that is created to accommodate people with MCS/ES be enforced, and from the top down. The person needing the accommodation should not be subjected to repeat offenders and expected to put up with it or to keep reminding them when they keep “forgetting”.

      No-one in their right mind would keep feeding peanuts to someone who suffers adverse effects that can become life threatening. Likewise, no-one should keep subjecting a person with MCS/ES to exposures that cause disabling effects which can become life threatening, and definitely threaten someone’s ability to remain employed.

      “How can managers intervene early enough so the bad behavior doesn’t escalate?

      Talk about the healthy and safe behaviour you are looking for. The same concept works on the flip side: positive behaviour can engender more positive behaviour, and civility can lead to respectful interactions and constructive debate. Respect at work can encourage collaboration, which in turns leads to caring about colleague’s welfare. The end result is kindness.”


  2. Thanks for the great post. I don’t have the energy today to go through the ridiculousness that I went through trying to get people to accommodate a no “fragrance” policy so I could keep my job. As you know, I’m disabled now — so obviously it didn’t work. It will be interesting to see what happens when there are more people disabled with MCS/EI than are working.

    • I hope it doesn’t come to that (more people disabled with MCS/EI than are working), but there’s a distinct possibility that it could… People may or may not have MCS/ES, but the toxic environments are affecting everyone’s health and well-being, and prevention of these chronic health problems is much more cost effective and sane way of going about things as there won’t be cures available when things get too messed up… Children’s health has been deteriorating a lot in recent years too. Avoidance of the substances that cause harm is a tried and true method and should be an option for everyone…

  3. Reblogged this on Elaine Willis' Blog and commented:
    As someone who lost the right to work because my employer fought NOT to accommodate my chemical sensitivity, my life was profoundly affected financially and socially. Adopting the motto, “Every problem is an opportunity,” I have forged on so that resentment and negativity have no time to creep into my thoughts. In fact blogging has taken a backseat to the activism for environment and disability that occupy my waking moments. I am ever grateful to Linda for the work she does on this BLOG.

  4. Pingback: PSAC Video About MCS | Seriously "Sensitive" to Pollution

  5. Pingback: Are the Wrong People in Solitary Confinement? | Seriously "Sensitive" to Pollution

  6. Pingback: School Boards to Pump Peanut Fragrance Into Schools! | Seriously "Sensitive" to Pollution

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