Competing rights at the office
This example involves two Code rights, both on the ground of disability.
Mira works in an office with 25 other employees. She has been diagnosed with a chemical sensitivity disability. Perfumes and scented hand creams give her migraines, nausea and make her feel dizzy. Her manager is aware of her disability and has tried to make sure that the other employees don’t wear perfumes or scented products to the office.
Recently Ramon, another employee at the office, was diagnosed with a severe skin condition. He has to use a medicated skin cream several times a day to treat his condition. The skin cream is scented, and causes Mira to react.
Mira told Ramon and their manager that Ramon’s cream is giving her migraines, nausea and dizziness when she comes to work.
Ramon told the manager that he understands Mira’s situation, but if he doesn’t use the cream, his condition will get worse and it will be hard for him to work.
This is a competing rights situation, because both Mira and Ramon have a Code right to have their disability accommodated.
We’ll talk more about how to resolve competing rights situations in Module 5 of this course, but not all competing rights situations are complicated. In fact, many can be resolved by talking. In this case, for example, a conversation with their manager might find that moving Mira or Ramon to cubicles on opposite sides of the office might solve the problem. Ramon could also see if there’s an alternative or unscented cream, or one of them could work remotely until Ramon’s condition has resolved.
Here are some discussion questions to think about:
- In this case, do you think one right is more important than another? Why?
- What do you think is the best way to resolve this competing rights situation?
- Who will be affected by your solution?