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Latex allergy not covered by ADA, jury finds


PHILADELPHIA--A registered nurse with a latex allergy is not protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act because her symptoms can be alleviated by prescription drugs and by avoiding latex, a jury in Philadelphia has ruled.

Jennifer Scanlon, a former nurse at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, sued Temple University last January in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Her suit alleged that her employment was terminated due to a latex allergy disability and that Temple failed to reasonably accommodate this disability by providing a latex-free work environment.

Temple argued that even though Ms. Scanlon might have a severe allergic reaction to latex, her allergy did not substantially or materially limit her major life activities, as required under the ADA. Specifically, defense counsel argued that, regardless of her work environment, Ms. Scanlon suffered no limitations caused by her allergy when she is in a latex-free environment and that the impairment was controlled with medication.