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Monday, August 28, 2017

Black Woman Says She Was Fired From Her Job Because of Experiencing an Onset of Heavy Periods

Alisha Coleman, Black woman fired for having heavy period

Alisha Coleman with her daughter Kristi, her son Jerimiah, and her granddaughter Iyuana

Nationwide — Alisha Coleman, an African American woman from Fort Benning, Georgia, has filed a lawsuit against her employer saying that she was subjected to unlawful workplace discrimination when she was fired for experiencing a heavy period, a symptom of premenopause. She worked 10 years as a 911 call taker for the Bobby Dodd Institute.

Alisha was fired in 2016 for experiencing two back-to-back incidents of sudden onset, heavy menstrual flow. Fortunately, however, she has made allies with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and co-counsel Buckley Beal LLP, who say that her case highlights the shame society still projects on women for having menstrual cycles.

“Employers have no business policing women’s bodies or their menstrual cycles,” said Andrea Young, ACLU of Georgia executive director. “Firing a woman for getting her period at work is offensive and an insult to every woman in the workplace. A heavy period is something nearly all women will experience, especially as they approach menopause, and Alisha was shamed, demeaned and fired for it. That’s wrong and illegal under federal law. We’re fighting back.”

Alisha herself also released a statement saying, “I loved my job at the 911 call center because I got to help people. 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.”

Alicia’s case, which was dismissed in Frebruary by a district court, is being appealed by the ACLU on the basis that the Civil Rights Act prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of sex, including “pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions.” Their brief argues that they erred in ruling that premenopause and the associated sudden-onset heavy menstruation are not protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

For more details about the case, contact the ACLU of Georgia at media@acluga.org

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