Gloves a Curse for a Nurse –But Not a Disability

December 14, 2001 - ( - A nurse's allergic reaction to latex does not qualify as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a federal jury found.

According to the Legal Intelligencer, in Scanlon v Temple University, the jury reasoned that the nurse was not disabled since she could control her symptoms by avoiding latex and taking medications.

US Magistrate Judge Jacob Hart of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania asked the jury to decide whether the limitations that the nurse’s allergy imposes substantially limit any major life activity. If they decided in her favor, Hart ruled that they would then decide whether latex is used in the health care profession to a sufficient degree that it substantially limits the nurse’s ability to do her job.

According to Scanlon’s testimony, she struggles to breathe when she comes into contact with latex. She also claimed that her allergy limits the major life activities of breathing, sleeping, eating, working and interacting with others.

But Temple Hospital’s lawyers argued the nurse had no evidence that she suffers from any limitation caused by her allergy when she is in a latex-free environment, and if she avoided latex, her major life activities, with the exception of working, would not be limited.

Temple’s lawyers further argued that the nurse failed to show that her latex allergy precludes her from working in the nursing field or in any class of nursing jobs.

– Camilla Klein