Woman Says She Lost Job Offer Over Peanut Allergy

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A Massachusetts woman says she was scheduled to begin work as a dental outpatient peanut allergycoordinator but lost the job offer due to her peanut allergy.

Kameela Coleman says she was ready to start her job at Boston Children’s Hospital this week but once she told them that she had a peanut allergy, the offer was taken off the table.

Coleman said she was asked what type of conditions could result in her allergy flaring up, but when she answered all of the hospital’s questions, the hospital reneged on the job offer. Coleman says officials told her that they could not offer her a safe work environment.

“I kept saying to them I wasn’t asking them to make any accommodations for me,” Coleman told ABC News.

Experts told ABC News that this is a “gray area” and that the Americans with Disabilities Act may or may not cover Coleman since companies are allowed to decide whether offering a person a job could result in an undue hardship for that person.

“If an employee with a peanut allergy was looking to be hired to work in the warehouse of a peanut butter manufacturer, that may not be realistic,” Daniel Scwartz,  an employment lawyer at the Shipman and Goodwin law firm and publisher of the Connecticut Employment law blog, told the news station. “A hospital may have some concerns as well. But allergies should be handled on a case by case basis. Just because an employee has a food allergy, doesn’t mean that they can’t be accommodated in some instances.”

Children’s Hospital released a statement explaining that they are not discriminating against Coleman, but are concerned about her safety as well as the safety of their patients.

“As the top pediatric hospital in the world, workplace safety is extremely important to us. As Ms. Coleman stated, she has a severe peanut allergy,” the statement read. “Currently in the U.S. alone there are 3 million people who suffer from peanut allergies which can be life threatening. At BCH the safety for our patients and employees is a guiding principle.”