JAN provides this information as a way to share accommodation situations and solutions from food service jobs. For a more in depth discussion, contact JAN directly.
Situations and Solutions:
A food service worker disclosed Hepatitis C to her employer. The employer was concerned that the employee would risk transmission through the food supply.
The employee provided a note from her doctor, indicating that Hepatitis C was "NOT transmitted through the food supply," and that the individual was "safe to perform the essential job functions." Note: Hepatitis A is a food borne illness, but Hepatitis C is not.
A food service worker with an anxiety disorder works in the kitchen of a restaurant, helping with food preparation and cleaning.
She is able to perform all of her essential functions, but she tends to talk to her co-workers incessantly about her personal issues to the point that other employees complain to management. A manager talks with the food service worker about her conduct and explains that it is interfering with work and making coworkers uncomfortable. The employee is a client of a mental health agency and offers to talk with her service coordinator about getting a job coach. The job coach teaches the employee how to talk with coworkers about impersonal topics (like the weather) and how to focus conversations on work tasks she and coworkers are performing. The job coach then helps the employee apply the new skills directly on the job and is able to fade out direct involvement after a couple of months.
An applicant for a server position at a restaurant disclosed that he has albinism.
He requested to be permitted to deviate from the dress code to wear long sleeve shirts at work due to the ease of which the applicant gets sunburns. The employer agreed that the long sleeves would be acceptable so long as they followed similar color schemes as the normal dress code.
A bakery employee with ataxia was stumbling during her shift.
She was self-accommodating with a store shopping cart, but space was limited. The employer purchased a small rollator to help the employee maintain balance while working.
An applicant for a restaurant server position disclosed that he has been diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth and needs to wear a specific type of shoe.
The employer allows the applicant to deviate from the dress code if he is selected for the position. He can wear shoes of the type needed so long as they follow similar color schemes as the normal dress code policy.
A new hire at a fast food restaurant is on the autism spectrum.
He completed his new job tasks quickly and efficiently but then remained idle until someone told him the next task to perform. The manager complained that the employee "just stands around" and "looks bored." JAN suggested the use of a job coach to help learn the job and how to stay occupied during down time. JAN also suggested using a pocket-sized flowchart of work tasks that can be done when the employee is at a standstill.
A baker with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) repeatedly checked ingredients for recipes.
The individual was accommodated with a computerized checklist for each baked good recipe on the menu. He was allowed time in the morning to arrange and check off items to be used during the day. When he felt the urge to recheck the ingredients he could do this quickly by using his daily checklist. This checklist was placed in a handheld computer that resembled the two-way radios used by all employees.
An employee who works at the front counter at a fast food restaurant discloses that she has Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.
She states that she is having trouble with the prolonged standing that is required. As an accommodation, the employer allows the employee to use a stool and sit while working the register and taking customer orders.
Individuals working at in the food service industry often report experiencing discomfort in their necks, shoulders, lower backs, and wrists. Also, individuals with mobility impairments often need work area adjustments that allow them to access their workspaces. Many individuals with these and other limitations are working in the food service industry. Individuals with vision, hearing, learning, cognitive, and mental health limitations are successful in this employment sector. An additional resource is available from EEOC, titled How to Comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act: A Guide for Restaurants and Other Food Service Employers.