Woman with Perfume Sensitivity May Be Able to Bring Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

A recent disability discrimination case examined the actions of a jail dentist. In Mitter v. Cnty. of DuPage, a nurse alleged that the jail dentist planted strongly perfumed objects around his office, despite her claims she had extreme sensitivity to chemicals.

Disability discrimination lawsuits can arise in a variety of situations. The ADA prohibits discrimination against “qualified individuals with a disability” in the terms and conditions of employment. The ADA also prohibits disability harassment and retaliation against you for complaining about disability discrimination or for participating in someone else’s disability discrimination case.

If you have questions about disability discrimination or believe that you may have suffered discrimination or harassment, it is a good idea to consult with a top Georgia discrimination lawyer right away.

In this instance, Hannah Mitter, a worker at the jail, told the office that she had extreme allergic reactions around perfumes and other scented substances. Mitter’s reactions included extreme dizziness, breathing difficulties, headaches, increased blood pressure, heart palpitations, floaters and light in her vision of sight; facial swelling and burning; and itchy and watery eyes, in reaction to perfumes, colognes, chemicals and other scented substances and objects. She had to leave work more than once because of an allergy flare-up.

Rather than accommodating Mitter’s allergies, the dentist and other employees allegedly continued to leave products with strong odors around the medical office and employee break room. Alleged actions included:

• Employees began to hang and spray air fresheners throughout the jail’s bathrooms, medical treatment room and employee break room;
•The dentist started using products with strong odors, leaving open bottles of bleach in the dentist’s office and spraying the office with fragrance. The dentist also left the door to his office open, allowing odors and fragrances to waft into the nearby hallway and rooms; and • Mitter allegedly discovered that two pieces of gauze soaked in a fragrant blue solution had been placed behind a break room television, when she went to remove her bag from the room.

After she was fired, Mitter filed various discrimination complaints against the county, Cusack, the sheriff’s office and the sheriff.

The court determined that Mitter could proceed with her lawsuit and that it is possible that a reasonable jury could find that these allegations constituted disability discrimination.

For more information or if you believe that you may have suffered disability discrimination at work, please call Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP to speak with our Atlanta employment discrimination lawyers in an immediate case evaluation.