Alicia Coleman, a 911 call taker at the Bobby Dodd Institute in Fort Benning, Georgia, is suing her former employer after she was allegedly fired unjustly. Why? Because she experienced two period leaks on the job as she was undergoing pre-menopause.
That’s right — she was fired for unexpectedly having sudden-onset, heavy flow during work.
If it seems unjust, you aren’t the only person who thinks so. The ACLU has taken on the case in court.
“Federal law is supposed to protect women from being punished, harassed or fired because of their sex, and being fired for unexpectedly getting your period at work is the very essence of sex discrimination,” Galen Sherwin, Senior Staff Attorney at the Women’s Rights Project of the ACLU.
Coleman was understandable upset when she lost her job of nearly a decade before she was let go in 2016 for the incident.
“I loved my job at the 911 call center because I got to help people,” Coleman said in a statement released by the ACLU. “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.”
The district court threw out the case in February, claiming that premenopause and the associated sudden-onset heavy menstruation are not protected under Title VII. Basically, Coleman’s job wasn’t protected from her own period, meaning her employer could rightfully fire her for it.
The ACLU now taking the case to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, meaning that this case could become big — and hopefully that means a big win for women everywhere.