Skip to comments.Allergic US employee sues to ban perfume at work
Posted on 07/05/2007 8:55:27 AM PDT by COUNTrecount
WASHINGTON (AFP) - An office worker for the US city of Detroit is suing for her colleagues to be banned from wearing perfume which gives her such severe headaches, nausea and coughing fits that she must leave work.
Court documents showed Thursday that Susan McBride suffered so acutely from allergy to the chemicals in scents, lotions and sprays that she had to go home sick when a heavily perfumed co-worker shared her office at the city's historic districts department.
Her sensitivity is such that she avoids the detergent sections in shops and cannot sit near perfumed people in a movie theater or on the bus.
The co-worker refused to leave off the perfume, according to the complaint filed at the district court in Detroit, in the northern state of Michigan. McBride needed medical treatment and was off work for some time.
Now she is seeking a jury trial to make the city force fellow employees to come to work un-scented, citing disability discrimination laws. She is claiming unspecified damages for "pain, suffering, humiliation and outrage" suffered.
McBride and her manager have already asked the city authorities that employ her to enforce a "no scent policy as an accommodation to her disability, without success," the complaint said.
This has been going on for years. Decades.
“WASHINGTON (AFP) - An office worker for the US city of Detroit...”
I guess that in Washington, they don’t know where Detroit is.
Like the “female” burqa I heard Laurie Dhue say the other night. Like there’s a male burqa???
24hrs. is a lot to fill.
Have the city issue the person who is allergic a Breathing Mask which will stop all Oders from entering her Nose.
She is the one with the Disorder.
Does anyone wonder why Detroit is dying like an AIDS patient?
I have been saying for years that this was coming. First they came for the smokers....then for the wearers of fragrance...and next I believe they will go after those who eat meat. That is, if you are a meat eater, you may not eat it on your employer’s property.
Both would be covered by the PWD act. Then just let them fight it out until they both quit.
Cierra sends me packing. Sure ain’t no love potent. Best, N
Don’t forget the peanut allergy crowd.
Children are sent away to daycare and public schools where parents can’t protect them from that allergy.
Hence bans on peanut butter in those type settings.
The article’s from (AFP) Agence France-Presse, which is French. Which explains it. Being French, that is.
Yea, but peanut allergies are sometimes fatal. Allergies to smells? Not so much I think.....
I’m with this woman.
I suffer allergies and have had the same reaction to certain fragrances. It can make you feel like you’ve got the flue. Sure, you can take pills, but they’re not always effective, and they have side effects.
And we all know that many people apply to much of these products— either because they don’t bathe or because of some psychological problem that makes them think they stink. Often thee people are obese, so there is more surface area to transfer the chemicals to the air.
Perhaps she’s going after the wrong people, or for the wrong reasons. Perhaps the office lacks adequate ventilation. Perhaps the perfume makers should be named in the suit. Perhaps individual offenders should be named.
Go ahead and flame if you want, but I say personal rights stop at my nostrils.
Allergies to scents can be fatal. There are all types of allergic reaction up to and including toxic shock and respiratory failure.
Furthermore, many allergic reactions get more severe with each subsequent occurrence.
Blaming this woman for her allergy is like blaming someone for their cancer - those that are suggesting she is “the problem” should all be ashamed of yourselves.
I think there must be a better way but with government schools and all those children packed in what choices do we have when it comes to worrying about “peanut butter?”
Peanut butter gives the controllers a foot in the door to ban other things.
I think it makes one wonder about the alternative where parents can protect their children from peanut butter allergies and anything else that might harm them in a public school.
I must be talking about homeschooling.
It seems a lot of people don’t understand allergies. Even on TV, people with allergies are portrayed as wussies or hypocondriacs. It’s ridiculous. I’ve even had friends (now ex-friends) who gave me a hard time about my allergies, like I have a choice!
I don’t understand why people wear perfume. I could see wearing it for a date, to appeal to a member of the opposite sex. But why wear it at work? If I came across someone wearing perfume, I would assume they stink and are trying to cover it up, LOL!
They usually stay away after that.
Plant a sandblasting hood on her head and feed it with an outside air source.
She can either live with the inconvience, maintain production, or go find somewhere else to work.
This is indeed dibiliating. My Mom had this problem for a few years. However, we lived in a small town where her employer (City School System) made allowances, and her co-workers were nice enough to help her.
She could get violently ill from only a few moments of someone’s strong perfume. Migraines would put her to bed for a couple of days. She took the 50mg Benadryl tablets when they were still prescription. Knocked her out so she could deal with it.
This ain’t like second-hand smoking, where people just get mad because they don’t like the smell, and it’s popular to gripe about it. This is a genuine allergic reaction, and these people cannot even think about going places where there are strong fragrances.
Fortunately for my Mom, the doctors were able to help her out by treating some of her other allergies, and the fragrance reaction got less easy to trigger, but it still can be trouble.
If this woman just jumped to a lawsuit, I’m against her. But it sounds like they just wouldn’t work with her.
The business owner is the only one who should be making the decision about whether or not to ban perfume (or smoking for that matter) in his or her business. At least, that is the way it should be if our society were truly free.
Don't like it? You are free to quit and seek employment at a "perfume-free" business, or start your own.
Now, if you were the business owner, or worked from your home, and the neighbor's perfume was so overpowering that you could smell it in your office, the I agree; Their rights do stop at your nostrils.
Amended to add that for the public sector, where this woman was employed, the policy should be that which puts the least burden on the taxpayers. In this case, a ban on perfume in the office.
There are a number of perfumes that give me a splitting headache, sometimes to the point of nausea. I cannot be in the vicinity of a perfume counter in a department store ever. But I have found that a little dab of Vicks Vapo Rub on my nostrils works like a charm to protect myself from unwanted perfume molecules. Mentholatum works, too. I haven’t had a problem now in several years because I keep a jar of Vicks in my desk. That way I don’t have to impose my weaknesses on the people I work with.
Well, I agree with you to some extent, but c’mon - if she is a good employee making a reasonable request, she ought to have some kind or recourse.
Age, race, & other discriminations are taken seriously, why not medical?
By the way - if you can name me a “fragrance free” employer in the Detroit area, who confirms it on a web site, I’ll agree with you. Can’t find one, can you?
Glad you found that remedy. Unfortunately for people like my Mom, she was also allergic to petroleum produts, even having trouble sometimes eating things out of plastic containers... So Vick’s and Mentholatum would not help...
Allergies are bad stuff, if they get severe. I still say if her co-workers and employers had a little more consideration, there would be no lawsuit.
Smokers told you so. Enjoy your intolerant nanny state.
This type of ban would be unenforecable. Deodorants, cosmetics, and skin creams all have aromas that linger; shampoo, soap, and detergents also leave scents. (I know someone who can detect if a woman uses a certain brand of shampoo.) How can businesses prevent people from washing their hair or using deodorant? Further, how can businesses prove whose pleasant smell is due to Chanel No. 19, versus Secret Antiperspirant? I feel sorry for people with allergies, but it is unrealistic and unfair for them to expect the world to conform to their needs.
I like Andy Rooney’s take on the wearing of perfume and/or cologne.”If somebody else can smell it, you’re wearing too much”.
Yeah. I know. Believe me, I get your point. But you deal with what you have to. I think ADA is a crock, mostly, but why would any business refuse to TRY to make accommodations for someone in a wheelchair? Or someone who has some other trouble? If this woman is just a trouble-maker, I’m with you...
Like I’ve said in every post, if there were just SOME effort to work this stuff out, these dumb lawsuits would disappear. But you know, women have a RIGHT to smell like a hooker if they want to and nobody with allergies can suggest they calm it down. Unheeded requests often become demands, which causes rude responses, which in turn ends in a lawsuit...
My health food store sells a Vicks-like product that does not contain petrolatum, put has the same consistency and the same “vapo.” I think it is based with a vegetable oil product like safflower oil, or one of those alternatives. Try Whole Foods market.
You would have appreciated one of my former colleagues, who kept tuna sandwiches and Fritos open in his desk drawer and I had to run, gagging, from his part of the office. Another nuked product that doesn’t smell very good is popcorn.
That wasn’t Andy Rooney, that was my Mother!
Good point. And that is precisely the point. If it were skunk scent, or tear gas, we would all be agreeing. The decision is where to draw the line, and when the government should get involved or stay away.
These things often remind me of little kids running to Mommy when big sister made a face at them. But, if big sister has a butcher knife, Mommy needs to get involved. The whole idea is: where is the line?
If I could make my allergies go away it would be the happiest day of my life.
I had jury duty on Monday and there was a man there who had eaten something really powerful for breakfast. His smell gagged me. I kept trying to get away from him but he kept showing up close enough for me to smell him. He was wearing a turban, do you think that is what I was smelling?
The govt should pummel her co-workers until they change to accomodate one person. The employer should change the whole business model to accomodate one employee. The co-workers should all change in order to accommodate her.
If she don't like her job, LET HER GET A NEW ONE! Why should however many people or the company change in order to accommodate her???
The responses in this thread remind me of the lib stance on 'universal healthcare'. 37 million people without insurance! Of course, it's never 263 million people WITH health insurance.
Same thing with this thread. 1 person with an allergy! Never 25 people WITHOUT an allergy.
Be careful what you wish for. The cure could be tons worse than the affliction.
You forgot the beached whales. It's glandular, you know.
Under the mandates of the ADA, all doors in the United States must be widened 12 inches...
Careful what you wish for; wear a personal rebreather.
People who truly believe that an individual's "problem", real or imagined, should control the lives of everyone else should be ashamed of themselves.
Happened in Bloomingdale's----a shopper was sprayed by an employee hawking perfume. Shopper had to be rushed to the hospital. Musta been horrendous----expensive perfumes usually have "fixatives" to make the scent last.
Another horrendous peanut allegy story: a woman in a RI restaurant ate chili. She was highly allergic to peanuts and began to have symptons that she overlooked since in her mind she had not consumed peanuts.
However, she did not know the eatery used peanut butter in its chili (as a thickener). It cost her her life.
I'm not suggesting anything of the sort, but some accomodations have to be made in society, especially to assist those that are afflicted.
The wearing of perfume is an arbitrary choice, it's not a necessity, and if your co-worker is rendered physically ill by your wearing it to work it's reasonable that you stop wearing it.
If you were suffering from emphysema and carried an oxygen tank around and, I as you co-worker, came in every day and blew cigarette smoke all around and stank up the office don't you think you would get ticked?
And a smoker could claim a better argument than the perfume wearer, smoking is an addition, perfume wearing is not.