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Diet Alteration for Chemical Sensitivity Held Compensable Under Workers' Compensation
Description Worker became sensitive to chemicals and subject to respiratory irritation after exposure to formaldehyde on the job. Workers' Compensation Board order that employer help support a chemical free diet, vitamin supplements, and air purifier upheld by appeals court.
Topic Employment Law
Key Words Workers' Compensation, Accommodation, Chemical Sensitivity
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts During the course of her employment by the Department of Social Services, Morrell developed chronic respiratory symptoms and chemical sensitivity due to accidental exposure to formaldehyde. She filed a claim with the Workers' Compensation Board for benefits. The Board ordered that her employer pay for organic food, vitamin supplements, and an air purifier to help alleviate her problems. Employer appealed.
Decision The law "is to be liberally construed to accomplish its economic and humanitarian objects." This decision falls with the statute's provision for "other attendant treatment," in this case the heightened chemical sensitivity that arose from exposure to formaldehyde. The only modification is that the employer shall pay for the difference between an ordinary diet and the diet the doctor has recommended the employee have.
Citation Morrell v. Onondaga County, ---NYS2s--- (1997 WL 706913, N.Y.A.D. 3 Dept.)
664 N.Y.S.2d 168 (Sup. Ct., App. Div., N.Y., 1997)

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