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 Post subject: Business meetings
PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 12:27 am 
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Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 7:19 pm
Posts: 207
Location: Halifax
How do you cope when your boss says "We're going to stay late to discuss the new bla bla bla. We'll be ordering pizza."? Do you bring your own food to work in case this happens? Do you pull out a flyer from a restaurant you know and trust? Or do you just stay hungry for a few hours longer?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2005 4:45 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2005 9:47 am
Posts: 305
Location: Montreal, Canada
My boss knows about my allergies and I told her that if I am to stay late, I need to know in advance (at least the day before) so I can bring extra food because I don't eat out. I can't go without eating since I also have hypoglycemia.,


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2005 6:40 pm 
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Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2005 3:07 pm
Posts: 12
Location: Vancouver BC
I generally have some extra food at work (ex. instant soups, microwave popcorn, yoghurt) for "just in case" situations. I also carry something in my briefcase (like a cereal bar).
Most times I will go hungry if I can (by saying that I am not hungry)...it takes less explaining to others about why I am not eating what they are eating! It also reduces the chance of cross-contamination.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 03, 2006 8:34 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 03, 2006 8:23 pm
Posts: 190
After a couple of reactions, I speak up early now, and am assertive but polite before meetings. I ask organizers not to serve or order foods containing my allergens.


Last edited by Andrea_MASG on Wed Sep 24, 2008 8:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2006 12:45 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 1:25 pm
Posts: 323
I always have cereal bars in my office as well as some rice (microwavable and shelf stable!), dry cereals or have someone go get me chips or pretzels, that way I can eat something and last longer. It may not be nutritious and all but it's food and I can safely eat it as well as keep it in my office in case something comes up.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2006 1:29 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
The whole conference setting is one that I'm still sorting out......unfortunately, one tends to meet new people during coffee breaks where potentially lethal finger food is served....

A couple of times (i.e. when I've volunteered to help organize a conference or when I've volunteered for the organization in the past) I've asked them not to serve nut-containing foods. I'm not sure whether I should be doing so, really, because I'm also anaphylactic to egg and soy...and there's no way that they could order egg-free muffins...so I probably shouldn't be shaking peoples' hands anyways......but I do worry more about the nuts.

On a related note: I'm a bit disappointed with the recommendations at allergy safe communities in this regard. Some good suggestions are followed by:

Quote:
Employees at risk of anaphylaxis should not expect their environments to be free of specific food allergens, as food is often brought in for meetings and social events.

http://www.allergysafecommunities.ca/de ... atsubid=47

I personally think that in *some* cases certain allergens should be removed from the workplace....but even allowing for a difference of opinion, I think a statement of this type should be followed by some more info. on avoiding cross contamination + recommendations for handwashing and warnings that care needs to be taken when passing around papers, etc. When this document is next revised, I hope the authors consider adding more about how to handle allergies as an adult.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2006 6:51 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 03, 2006 8:23 pm
Posts: 190
Dear Helen. Nice to meet you!

I'm speaking in my capacity as an individual with severe allergies (I also run a support group, but this isn't an official pronouncement) and as a layperson, here.

In fact, the issue of food served at official functions where you are expected to attend at work is, I believe, a matter of workplace safety, and also might touch upon disability regulations. If you are an individual with a food allergy that is triggered in minute amounts, and the performance of your job is based on your being there to shake hands and be around the food served, the onus may be on the employer (if informed in advance) to accommodate this health-related request. Of course, this is simply my opinion, so please take this with a large grain of salt and check the relevant workplace regulations. :)

This is quite different from expectations that public places be free of allergens, as this is impossible to guarantee. A private workplace is not a public place, and employers are responsible for the safety of their employees when they are on the job. Accommodation, of course, must be within reason, and not cause undue hardship to the employer. However, not serving foods containing a specific allergen isn't, in my opinion, anywhere near the level of accommodation that one might consider "hardship". ;) This is info., not advice, but see the following interesting sources here. As I understand it, laws that specifically mention those with severe allergies are difficult to find, and it's up to the worker to inform their employer of their health limitations and the risk of exposure to their specific allergen/s.

http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/DBLaws/Stat ... e.htm#BK46

http://www.wsib.on.ca/wsib/wsibsite.nsf ... ntionYHSRR

"an employer shall . . . take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker."

http://www.osstf.on.ca/www/cbccommittee ... laxis.html

http://www.jan.wvu.edu/media/employmentfoodfact.doc

http://evolt.org/article/Accessibility_ ... index.html

http://www.ncchem.com/accommod.htm
Accommodating the Allergic Employee in the Workplace (U.S.)

"Once an employer learns an applicant or employee is allergic, and in need of an accommodation, the employer may be required by the Americans with Disabilities Act to provide the needed accommodation."


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 08, 2006 12:12 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
Hi Andrea,

Thanks for all the resources! It's good to see that there is some awareness out there of work-related allergy issues. I like the OSSTF's document.

I'm a graduate student, though, so my situation is a bit different. I do need to go to the occasional conference...it isn't necessary to go to these things to get a degree, but if I want a job when I get out, I'd better have a few conference papers under my belt. Also, there's one annual conference I always go to just to hear the papers and meet people (the group meets in Toronto so I don't have to travel, and they don't charge students very much to attend).

I'm actually travelling to a conference in the States this August . . . I hadn't decided in my mind whether I should be asking for them to avoid serving food with nuts. But now I think I'll just go ahead and ask....asking for egg-free food might be too much to ask seeing as the conference organizers aren't really connected with me in any way (it would be different, however, if I had to be in an eggy environment every day). But it shouldn't inconvenience them too much to order, say, banana muffins rather than banana nut. And the conference is huge...there are bound to be other nut allergic people there.

I'm wondering if conference organizers generally think of what to do if there are any medical emergencies. I'm guessing not. But it would be a good idea.

I've shaken hands with people at these events in the past without incident....I just made sure that I washed my hands really thoroughly before touching my face or eating anything. I haven't had too many contact reactions...and they haven't been major (but with my sister it is another story...her contact reactions are kind of scary. I thought the last two should have been epipen moments, really, but she doesn't agree.) At the last couple of conferences I attended, I didn't shake peoples' hands if they were munching on muffins at the time.

At these conferences it is so easy to pick up trace amounts of allergenic proteins! I gave a paper this past spring and I brought my own water because I knew that the water provided might be in a jug rather than in bottles. (I would drink the water provided that I got to the jug first, but otherwise I wasn't going to touch the handle.) Well, someone on the panel noticed that I didn't have a water glass and in the middle of someone's paper poured me a glass--which would have been okay except when she passed me the glass she put her hand on the rim. It seems like such a little thing....I could have just taken my water up to the podium with me anyways....but I'm sorry to say that I didn't. When it came down to it, the worry about appearing paranoid outweighed the concern about the allergies.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 08, 2006 6:05 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 03, 2006 8:23 pm
Posts: 190
Helen --

I'm doing a Ph.D. myself, and face some of the exact same challenges you do. I'm also travelling to a number of conferences, and it's challenging. I bring all my own food.

I was in the workplace for years before I began graduate school, and found that it had its own challenges. I teach as well, and have a no-food rule in the classrooms. My students are often more informed than older professors, probably since their generation has so many more individuals with food allergies.

Send me a private message with your e-mail address if you like so we can compare notes. :)

Best,

Andrea


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 Post subject: Popcorn
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2007 6:41 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2007 5:58 pm
Posts: 68
I am anaphylaxtic to the fumes of Popcorn in minute amounts.

I requested a ban of Popcorn at my company as the accommodation.

I never thought it would stir up so much trouble.

The company refused to ban Popcorn, notify workers of the seriousness of the allergy, or stop selling Popcorn on the premises.

When I started working at the company I was allergic to Corn and many other ingredients contained in Popcorn, but it was not an inhallant allergy.

However, while working there I figured out that I would get sick every time someone cooked Popcorn and had it within 100 feet of me. That is when I requested the ban.

One year later, since the company did nothing about banning Popcorn, the allergy bloomed into an inhallant triggered Anaphalyxis. *Shudder* Now I can not go near a movie theater, mall, or grocery store. I never know when a business is going to have popcorn available nearby.

My company still doesn't ban Popcorn, but they take the allergy more seriously after I was dragged off to the ER twice in one week from the Popcorn not breathing. They took it serious enough to see if they could fire me safely after the incidents.


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