Can you imagine losing your job because your Kotex failed during an extremely heavy period?
Me neither, but sadly this was a reality for a Georgia woman who said she was fired because she had two period leaks at work. According to USA TODAY, Alicia Coleman was employed as a 911 call taker at the Bobby Dodd Institute in Fort Benning, Georgia for almost a decade before she was terminated in 2016 for “experiencing two incidents of sudden onset, heavy menstrual flow, a symptom of pre-menopause.”
In 2015, she was sent home to change her clothes after she soiled her chair, and in 2016, she leaked on the carpet on her way to the bathroom. After the second incident, Coleman was let go because she didn’t “practice high standards of personal hygiene and maintain a clean, neat appearance while on duty.”
However, the mother of three isn’t letting her former employer get away with what many would call “sexism.“
Along with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Georgia, she is suing the Bobby Dodd Institute, claiming that her firing was a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination in the workplace based on the employee’s sex, and includes “pregnancy, childbirth and related conditions.”
“I loved my job at the 911 call center because I got to help people,” Coleman said in a statement shared by the ACLU.
She added: “Every woman dreads getting period symptoms when they’re not expecting them, but I never thought I could be fired for it. Getting fired for an accidental period leak was humiliating. I don’t want any woman to have to go through what I did, so I’m fighting back.”
Coleman’s original lawsuit against the company was thrown out of court earlier this year when a judge ruled that being “pre-menopausal” wasn’t protected under the law. But the ACLU strongly disagrees with that judge’s stance and has filed an appeal in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
“A heavy period is something nearly all women will experience, especially as they approach menopause, and Alisha was shamed, demeaned and fired for it,”stressed Andrea Young, ACLU of Georgia’s executive director.
“That’s wrong and illegal under federal law. We’re fighting back.”
Bobby Dodd only had the following to say about the issue:
“Our mission is to help those with disabilities and disadvantages find work and keep work. While we cannot share specific details about this case because it’s become a legal matter, please know there is more to this story than is being portrayed by those who are suing us. We can say we followed proper protocol and went the extra mile to avoid dismissal in this case, as we would for any of our employees.”
Having hygiene standards is one thing, but snatching a woman’s livelihood over something like this just doesn’t seem right.