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I prefer to sit in a firm and stable chair. The health and safety officer has stated I must sit in a Wheelie chair, I find them incredibly uncomfortable and generally seem designed for male leg proportions. Am I actually obliged to sit in a wheelie chair, particularly when i cannot find one that suits me?

closed as off-topic by gnat, Mister Positive, Dukeling, JasonJ, NotMe Oct 17 '17 at 14:11

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    This sounds like a legal question - if you want to know what your legal options are, you need to talk with a lawyer, not us. – Erik Oct 17 '17 at 11:42
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    Most wheeled office chairs I've used have been adjustable. I see many women here in my workplace and none of them are sitting in standard chairs. It's possible that you can arrange to purchase your own chair, but you'd need to run this past H&S first. – Snow Oct 17 '17 at 12:14
  • What country? EU rights in this are are quite strong. – user Oct 17 '17 at 12:28
  • Also is this just a preference or due to some kind of injury/disability etc? – user Oct 17 '17 at 12:29
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The company has a legal responsibility to accommodate your physical needs, under EU employment rules that will have been transposed into your country's own laws. If the chairs they provide are causing you physical pain and there is an easy solution that doesn't greatly impact your work or cost much, they are required to offer it to you.

Have you made it clear to the health and safety officer that you are extremely uncomfortable? If so, and if you believe you can reasonably do your job with a different type of chair, your next step would be HR.

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If wheelie chairs are what this company provides and mandates then pretty much yes they can make you use them. You don't specify your location but assuming it's the US then unless you have a medical condition or disability covered under the ADA that precludes use of one of their "standard" wheelie chairs then they aren't obligated to provide you with an alternative. As unpleasant as it is (and as much as I can sympathize with the plight of spending 8 hours a day in uncomfortable office chair) being uncomfortable is not a protected class.

On the more positive side I think there are still compromise options that are worth pursing. Have you considered supplying your own chair? You could find some that do work for you, show them to your Health & Safety officer and ask if any of them would be acceptable if you were to provide one of them yourself.

Obviously there is a cost implication here but offering to pay for it yourself removes one of the likely objections the company might raise to the alternate chair but how much monetary value do you place on your own comfort? Plus at the end of your time at the company you still get to keep the chair and can then take it with you to your next job if you find yourself similarly struggling with their furniture.

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