We are providing meals at our conference. An attendee said she has food allergies. Do we need to have a special meal prepared for her?
In order to be viewed as a disability under the ADA, an impairment must substantially limit one or more major life activities. An individual's major life activities of respiratory or neurological functioning may be substantially limited by allergies or sensitivity to a degree that he or she is a person with a disability. For example this may include an individual with severe nut allergies, the symptoms of which may include difficulty swallowing and breathing.
When a person has this type of disability, a covered entity may have to make reasonable modifications to its food service policies, practices, and procedures for that individual and work with them on a case-by-case basis to address the needs for their food allergies. For example, this may include: 1) answering questions from the individual about menu item ingredients, 2) omitting or substituting certain ingredients upon request, or 3) providing a special meal upon request.