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Malodorous workplace leads to ADA suit

Malodorous workplace leads to ADA suit

Does the Americans with Disabilities Act protect you if you complain about someone who is possibly disabled?

That’s the apparent question raised in a lawsuit filed by a former magistrate court employee in Indianapolis, who says she was unfairly fired from her job because of her complaints about another employee with offensive body odor.

The Dec. 21 lawsuit filed by Amber Bridges in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis says that she, as well as other courthouse employees, bought various air fresheners because of an employee who had an “obnoxious chronic body odor condition.”

Ms. Bridges also complained to her immediate supervisor because of the situation. In May, she was told that the employee had complained about the various air fresheners and that their use “created an uncomfortable and hostile work environment” for the employee. Ms. Bridges was then terminated.

Ms. Bridges’ lawsuit states the reasons provided for her termination are false and the “real reason” was because the city regarded the employee’s body odor as a disability protected under the Americans with Disability Act.

Among the charges in her lawsuit is “association discrimination” under the ADA.

“Bridges’ employment was terminated, in substantial part, due to her association with (the employee) whom the City perceived to be disabled,” the lawsuit states.

In other words, Ms. Bridges says she is entitled to the ADA’s protection because the employee she complained about was allegedly regarded as disabled. 


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