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Is Menstruation Covered Under The ADA? You Make The Call

Alisha Coleman is suing her former employer, an Atlanta job training organization for persons with disabilities. Coleman worked as a 911 call operator for the employer for nearly 10 years.

Coleman, who is pre-menopausal, claims she was fired in 2016 for soiling her chair because of sudden, unusually heavy menstruation.  

A judge ruled pre-menopause is not a protected condition, but the ACLU is appealing the decision. Charlotte Willis "Woman Fired for Having Heavy Period at Work Files Lawsuit," (Aug. 22, 2017).

So, the question for our readers is: Should menstruation be covered under the ADA?  

Please let us know what you think in the comment section or take the poll. Here are some opinions of some of the McCalmon editorial staff:

Jack McCalmon, Esq.

First, I wonder if the case is better suited for a gender discrimination charge versus a disability discrimination charge, if the facts as alleged are true. Was the reason for the termination because it involved menstruation? Another way to put it…would a male who soiled his chair because of a bladder issue or diarrhea or cut himself and bled on the chair be terminated?

As for disability discrimination, it depends on if the accidents were related to a condition related to a disability that is a substantial limitation of a major life activity. If it is, then the plaintiff may succeed in appeal. If the issue is a hygiene issue, then the likelihood of success under the ADA is slim.

Leslie Zieren, Esq. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, menorrhagia is the medical term that describes abnormally heavy or prolonged bleeding during a menstrual period. Approximately one-third of women experience it. It can indicate serious, underlying medical conditions. The ALCU's challenge to the lower court's ruling will be interesting to watch because the Americans with Disabilities Act includes physical impairments such as "any physiological disorder, or condition ... affecting one or more of the following body systems: ... reproductive, digestive, genitourinary, hemic [blood-related] ...." It may very well be that Coleman will have a claim.

Please make the call and continue the conversation at#MenstruationRights or join us on Facebook at #MenstruationRightsFB or #Menstruation Rights Twitter.

You can provide a comment on what you would do or answer our poll. Please note any comments provided may be shared with others.  

Finally, your opinion is important to us. Please complete the opinion survey: