Food Allergies: The Newest Disability?

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A recent decision out of Massachusetts may have far-reaching consequences for those with serious food allergies. FoodAllergyA settlement reached by the United States Justice Department with Lesley University has established that, in some circumstances, people with severe food allergies may be considered to have a disability and, therefore, may be entitled to request a reasonable accommodation for their dietary needs with the help of a disability lawyer.

The case arose from a complaint filed by at least one student after being denied exemption from the school’s meal plan, in spite of the fact that this individual was allergic to all of the school’s offerings. As a result of the settlement, the school will now be required to provide gluten-free options in all of its cafeterias. More importantly, though, this agreement opens up the possibility that other institutions which serve food to the public may, in the future, be legally required to meet the needs of individuals with serious food allergies.