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Smelly Lawsuit Raises Questions For Employment Lawyers

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A woman who worked for the city of Detroit filed a lawsuit against the city because a co-worker wore perfume and used room deodorizer that made it difficult for the woman to breathe while she was on the job. This could be a new issue for a Texas employment lawyer to tackle in the Lone Star state. As CBS News puts it, the "chemically sensitive" products caused such an extreme reaction, that city employee Susan McBride complained that she suffered migraines, nausea, and coughing.

The smells were essentially affecting Ms. McBride's ability to do her work, and her boss didn't take appropriate action when the employee made complaints about them. Employment lawyer Joelle Sharman told CBS that every person has the right to breathe in the workplace.

"If an employee comes into work and says to his or her boss, 'I can't breathe, this perfume is triggering a condition that is affecting my ability to breathe in the workplace,' and reports to his or her boss, the boss has to reasonably accommodate that person," Sharman said.

Ms. McBride actually won a $100,000 settlement from the city of Detroit. Now the city employees are being warned not to wear scented products, including colognes, aftershave, perfumes, and deodorants.

In the state of Texas, employees also have the right to be reasonably accommodated for health conditions or disabilities. If an employer isn't making such reasonable accommodations, then this can be grounds to file a claim with a Texas employment lawyer. With the help of a lawyer, a person can be awarded compensation and change the working conditions in an unfair working environment. If you have any specific questions about being reasonably accommodated at work, a Texas employment lawyer may be able to help you.

Related Resources:

  • Reasonable Accommodations for People With Disabilities: The ADA (FindLaw)
  • 8 Landmark Employment Laws for Small Business (FindLaw's Free Enterprise blog)
  • No Perfume for Detroit City Workers (FindLaw)
  • Contact a Texas Employment Lawyer (FindLaw)

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