A woman from Georgia in the US, who worked as a 911 call taker, is suing her former employer for allegedly firing her over two period leaks while she was going through pre-menopause.
Mother Alisha Coleman was an employee at the Bobby Dodd Institute, which connects people with disabilities and disadvantages to jobs, for nearly a decade before she was fired in 2016, reports the Daily Mail.
Her lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), of Georgia and co-counsel Buckley Beal LLP, who said Coleman was subjected to "unlawful workplace discrimination when she was fired for experiencing a heavy period, a symptom of pre-menopause".
In a statement, Andrea Young, the ACLU of Georgia executive director, said that "employers have no business policing women's bodies or their menstrual cycles".
"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," Young said.
Coleman shared a statement about her time at the institute that was shared by the ACLU.
"I loved my job at the 911 call center because I got to help people," Coleman said.
"Every woman dreads getting period symptoms when they're not expecting them, but I never thought I could be fired for it," she added.
"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 said.
Coleman's attorneys argued that her dismissal 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".
In February, Coleman's case was thrown out by a district court. The court claimed pre-menopause symptoms are not protected, a decision that the ACLU argues was made in error.
Galen Sherwin, a senior staff attorney at the Women's Rights Project of the ACLU, said in a statement that women should be protected under federal law 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".
They're now taking the case to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.