This Woman Was Allegedly Fired for Premenopausal Period 'Leakage' & Now She's Suing

woman fired for her period
ACLU

Our society has a period problem. Whether it's online on Instagram or even at your local community pool, people -- and by people, I mean the patriarchy -- just can't seem to handle some blood that naturally processes through women each month (you know, since women create life and all). 

Now, that stigma has both shamed and caused a Georgia woman to lose her job -- but she's fighting back.

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Last year, Alisha Coleman was fired from her job of over a decade as a 911 call taker at the Bobby Dodd Institute in Georgia after she experienced "two incidents of sudden onset, heavy menstrual flow, a symptom of premenopause," according to an Americans Civil Liberties Union press release.

The first incident occurred in 2015, in which she soiled an office chair and was given a disciplinary warning and a threat of being fired, Allure reported. The second incident happened the following year when she soiled another chair and carpet. 

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"I loved my job at the 911 call center because I got to help people," Coleman said, according to the press release. "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 leak was humiliating. I don't want any woman to have to go through what I did, so I'm fighting back."

With the ACLU on her side, Coleman is suing her former employer in an appeal going to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

"Employers have no business policing women's bodies or their menstrual cycles," Andrea Young, ACLU of Georgia executive director, said in a statement. "A heavy period is something nearly all women will experience, especially as they approach menopause, and Alisha was shamed, demeaned, and fired for it."

Arguing her firing as "unlawful work discrimination," the lawsuit is on the basis of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits workplace discrimination based on sex, including "pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions."

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This is the second time Coleman is taking her case to court. In February, the district court had ruled that premenopause wasn't protected under Title VII. She's arguing that that was ruled in error.

"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, said in a statement. "This kind of blatant discrimination against women in the workplace is why the ACLU Women's Rights Project was founded 45 years ago, and why the fight for gender equality must continue."

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