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Staff Employment Application - Do you have any allergies?

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kedelai

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 12:35 AM

Hi everyone,

 

Does your Staff Employment Application Form ask whether the applicant has any allergies?

 

If so, how do you address the question?

 

Do you simply ask the applicant to write down all the food allergies they have?

 

OR

 

Do you list the allergens that are on the production site and ask the applicant to tick the boxes?

 

I am a little cautious as to how I should approach this question because one of our HACCP team members thought it might give the impression that we are discriminating against applicants?..

 

It would be great to hear how other companies address this.

 

Thank You

 



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Posted 29 April 2014 - 01:56 PM

I have no mention of allergies on the medical screening questionnaire I use, and have not , as yet , been asked to include them. I have however had a few people have to be moved from production lines due to molluscan or crustacean allergies. They were redeployed away from the allergen.


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Mr. Incognito

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 02:15 PM

I brought this up at my last position.  We worked with 5 of the food allergens that are required to be labeled in the United States. 

 

They decided not to and as far as I know we didn't have any issues but when working with peanuts, tree nuts, and more I think there should be at least a statement that is signed that you will be exposed to the following food allergens and your employment is conditional to being able to work with them without incident.  That protects the employee so they know what they are going to be exposed to and protects the employer so they can get rid of someone off of the line that shouldn't have asked for the job in the first place... not to mention having to have an ambulance come when that person falls on the ground and the lawsuit that will ensue because they hit their head on the conveyer or the floor on the way down.

 

I think every food plant that handles allergens should do it... but many do not.


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Setanta

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 02:23 PM

I know one of our temp services asks this question. They ask it so

 

A. people know what they are working with and B. it helps to clarify that we work with products that some people from some religions prefer not to handle.


-Setanta         

 

 

 


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cazyncymru

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 03:59 PM

I can't see the problem with asking someone if they have an allergy to a particular food group. I can't see how it would be any different in asking if a worker was epileptic or diabetic. I would want to know so that any drugs they needed to carry was accounted for.

 

Aside from the fact its helpful if the first aiders on site are aware if they ever went into anaphylactic shock.

 

Cazx



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Charles.C

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 04:40 PM

Dear All,

 

I am a little cautious as to how I should approach this question because one of our HACCP team members thought it might give the impression that we are discriminating against applicants?..

 

Indeed. And possibly at the risk of litigation.

 

Look before you leap.

 

Rgds / Charles.C


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Posted 29 April 2014 - 05:00 PM

In the united states having allergens is not a protected class.  The closest thing that could be construed as a related protected class is "Genetic Information" however the definition thereof is:

 

Definition of “Genetic Information”

Genetic information includes information about an individual’s genetic tests and the genetic tests of an individual’s family members, as well as information about the manifestation of a disease or disorder in an individual’s family members (i.e. family medical history). Family medical history is included in the definition of genetic information because it is often used to determine whether someone has an increased risk of getting a disease, disorder, or condition in the future. Genetic information also includes an individual's request for, or receipt of, genetic services, or the participation in clinical research that includes genetic services by the individual or a family member of the individual, and the genetic information of a fetus carried by an individual or by a pregnant woman who is a family member of the individual and the genetic information of any embryo legally held by the individual or family member using an assisted reproductive technology.

 

(From the EEOC website: http://www.eeoc.gov/...pes/genetic.cfm)

 

 

Using that definition "Genetic Information" isn't relevant in relation to allergens.  What it really says is that I can't deny you a job because your sister and mother had breast cancer so you may have it in the future and I don't want that on my insurance / loss of worker.

 

I realize that's just the United States but it would really be plain stupid to work with a food product that can kill you.


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jortiz18

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 05:04 PM

Interesting post, I work with tree nuts and was wondering the same thing. 



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Posted 29 April 2014 - 06:43 PM

I believe it is phrased, "We have X, wheat, soy, milk, etc, is that an issue for you?"

We do mention pork, simply because a number of people have come out here as temps and when they found out we handle pork products, they leave. That hurts us, them (since they lose pay) and the temp agency. It is win-win when they know in advance.


-Setanta         

 

 

 


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alisher

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 08:26 PM

Your quality and safety system should not be concerned with what food allergies for your employees unless it is company policy to feed them.



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Posted 29 April 2014 - 08:56 PM

While I agree employees should be informed of what they work with much like MSDS's and chemicals, this could also be construed as medical issue, which can be touchy.  Would make sure your HR,  upper management and possibly legal counsel are in accord with any policy or paperwork. 


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Posted 30 April 2014 - 12:27 AM

 I prefer the HR-Avoidance method of  listing in job requirements  - you must be able to lift 50 lbs, you must be available to work all 7 days a week, you must be able to work with seafood, you must be willing to dye your body hair blue so it contrasts with product, etc. 

 

HR will know best


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kedelai

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 12:41 AM

Thank you everyone for your input.

 

I also did some research myself and came up with this.

 

http://pubsites.uws....ent/medical.htm

 

The site says..

 

The purpose of health questionnaires and assessments is to:

1. identify whether the chosen applicant(s) can meet the inherent health requirements of the position of employment (if there are any) 2. help the employer and nominee to identify any work related adjustments that may be required and to make a recommendation. However it should be kept in mind that this is only a recommendation as the decision path in identying work related adjustments is the direct communication between the employer and nominee.

 

I find the first point, "1. identify whether the chosen applicant(s) can meet the inherent health requirements of the position of employment (if there are any)"

debatable because it assumes that there is already policy in place where people with allergies to  x,y,z are not able to work on site.

 

We don't have such policy in place... and I find it would be hard to implement such a policy.

 

Another debatable point is

 

"Health questionnaires and assessments may be a standard procedure implemented by certain organisations for all employees. These procedures should only be implemented if the organisation has conducted a health analysis of each position of employment. If health questionnaires and assessments are conducted without a health analysis of each position, this may be deemed unlawful discrimination (refer to employer responsibilities on this page for further information)"

 

I cannot grasp what 'health analysis' means..

 

By the way, I am working for a small family owned business and we don't have a HR team.

 

I only realised that this could be an issue whilst working on the allergen management training program.

 

It occurred to me that I had never asked the employee's if they had any allergies themsleves :doh:



Jim E.

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Posted 04 June 2014 - 10:16 PM

I cannot for certian say what the HR department asks during interviews, but I as the HACCP Coordinator and GMP trainer do bring it up during orientation.  Part of the trsining includes allergens and I state what we have in the plant and ask if anyone has allergies.  I get honest responses I think and have never run into an issue.

 

On a side note we did have an employee recently come to us and say that the hair nets we use were giving her issues, she showed a nice red line around her head.  Thing is she has worked for us for over 5 years and never had an issue in the past.  Can a allergy come forward at a much later age?



Snookie

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Posted 04 June 2014 - 10:29 PM

On a side note we did have an employee recently come to us and say that the hair nets we use were giving her issues, she showed a nice red line around her head.  Thing is she has worked for us for over 5 years and never had an issue in the past.  Can a allergy come forward at a much later age?

 

Yes.  Very common. 


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Mr. Incognito

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 11:15 AM

 

"Health questionnaires and assessments may be a standard procedure implemented by certain organisations for all employees. These procedures should only be implemented if the organisation has conducted a health analysis of each position of employment. If health questionnaires and assessments are conducted without a health analysis of each position, this may be deemed unlawful discrimination (refer to employer responsibilities on this page for further information)"

 

I cannot grasp what 'health analysis' means..

 

 

 

I'm fairly certain that what they are saying there is you have to assess each job for what health requirements they have otherwise you may just be discriminating:

 

Let's say you have 3 position groupings in your plant

Processor - contacts all ingredients has to move equipment around - Cannot be allergic to X,Y,Z allergen, must be able to lift X lbs, must be able to walk blah distance

Packager - Constantly standing and moving to fill equipment and performs warehousing on a fork truck - Must be able to stand for 8 hours, must be able to lift X lbs, must have depth perception (I wouldn't qualify for this lol)

Office - Has to listen to constant drivel from other office people while endlessly shuffling paper - Must be able to drown out other office people's constant talk, must be able to handle paper for 8 hours, must be able to smash head into wall repeatedly.

 

So you have to know what your positions require health wise, based on the tasks they do, to be able to disqualify them for a position.


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Mr. Incognito


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