Allergic to Trends?

April 4th, 2017 by Andre Marquez Architects

According to the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), both asthma and allergies are usually considered disabilities. This is because “conditions that only show symptoms at certain times” are now included under the definition of “disabled.”

Thankfully, better understanding in air quality, sustainable design and “green” finishes has significantly reduced the use of chemicals in materials like paint, carpet, flooring, wood cabinets, etc. However, there are still implications for Architects and Interior Designers. Some of the new trends in office design might cause problems for those occupying the space, either as full or part-time workers.

What are some of the concerns? For starters, how about real plants throughout an office? Or… in the trendier open offices with landing desks as opposed to closed offices: who gets to wear (or not) after-shave/perfume/lotions? And if you have accommodated for a service animal… what happens when a co-worker is allergic to dogs?

First off, we need to keep in mind that organizations need to make a good faith effort to make acceptable changes. Employers and employees will need to have dialogue in search of resolution. But, sometimes… when you’re faced with two people with conflicting disabilities, it comes down to compromise.

So in the case of the greenery… the plants might need to go. And you may need to ask folks to use fragrance free products. And… in the other case… allergies might have to trump the service dog.  And this, ladies and gentlemen is where having the wisdom of Solomon comes in!

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