Banning flowers??

Last week for Valentine's Day one of our volunteer committees sold flowers at cost to team members to give to coworkers. It went over very well as we anticipated 100 and ended up selling more than 650.

This raised a concern by a team member who suffers from allergies and asthma. To make a long story short, we delayed flower delivery to try & work around her schedule.

No good deed goes unpunished, the next day she ends up going home due to the pollen in the air aggrevating her allergies.

She has now requested that as a company we don't do anything flower related as our policy is a fragrence free work environment.

Other key points:
1. Flowers were carnations (not known for their fragrence).
2. We don't do this often but have in the past for special occasions (move-in day, anniversary days, Mother's and Father's Days).
3. Team member has been with us for over 10 years and this is the first time it's been brought up.
4. Only complaint we've ever received about flowers.
5. We had many complaints going the other way from rest of our 300 + associates when we delayed flower delivery until 1:30 or 2:00 PM.
6. She's a smoker and we've had complaints over the years about the smell of smokers (and couldn't we spray them with something before they come in the door.....doncha love the thought of implementing that one???)
7. We spoke to our wellness coordinator as we know that hospitals get floral deliveries to see if it has ever been raised at her employer or at any of the other employers she works with - she said "no, it wasn't an issue elsewhere."

Your feedback is appreciated!


  • 4 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • I would stick with the way you have done it all these years. If she has serious issues, then require her to document her "problem" to see if it can even be accomodated.

    If it is an ADA issue, then her problem is serious you have some traction regarding a direction to go. If it is not serious, then she can quit wasting everyone's time.
  • At the risk of offending someone on this list...

    Smoking asthmatics drive me nuts!
  • I have dealt with odor and allergy issues numerous times. They are not fun, especially once they cross into the ADA realm. If you can take steps to head off the issue early, it's in your interest to do so. Since it sounds like you only have the flower sale 1-3 times a year, suggest that the employee take the day off and make arrangements for her to make up the time without incurring overtime, or let her work from home or a different location (if possible).
  • I would not stop selling the flowers. But I would notify the employee ahead of time that the company will be conducting the sale and if she would like to schedule a vacation or personal day on that day it is approved for her to do so.
    I don't think allowing her to take a day off 1-3 times a year would hurt. Just my opinion.
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