What are my rights regarding a cat at my workplace since I am allergic to them?

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What are my rights regarding a cat at my workplace since I am allergic to them?

I work at a home health agency. When I started I informed them I was allergic to cats. Last Thur

the owner brought in a stray cat and was told it was now the office car. I told them I couldn’t be

around the cat. I had to leave early On Friday because I couldn’t breathe. I was told today that I

would be moved downstairs. They said the upstairs and down ventilation was not connected

however I was downstairs Friday and could not breath. I was also told that our monthly staff meeting

would be held in the room that the cat is in and so I would be sitting downstairs and excluded for the meeting and lunch, unless I wanted to sit in the cat room. I told her that I felt like I was less valued than the cat and of course she said,

Asked on May 14, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You could bring a complaint to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or your state's equal/civil rights agency. The law requires a "reasonable accommodation," or a not-too-expensive change to the workplace or your job, to accommodate a medical condition which is serious enough as to affect some aspect of life: a bad allergy could qualify. A reasonable change or accommodation would be to not have an office cat, since there is no need for one--eliminating something unnecessary at work to help an employee's medical condition and let him/her work without suffering or impairment is certainly reasonable. You may be entitled to compensation, and/or the agency may force the employer to get rid of the cat.

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