Alisha Coleman was working as a 911 call taker for people with disabilities at the Bobby Dodd Institute in Georgia when she unexpectedly got her period. It's happened to us all before.
We're in the middle of something important and all of a sudden Mother Nature sneaks up on us and we have to frantically look for a way to not stain our clothes. According to the ACLU, when Coleman got her period at work though, she not only had to deal with bleeding through her clothes — she was fired.
The ACLU is backing Coleman's case, alleging that she was fired for “experiencing two incidents of sudden onset, heavy menstrual flow, a symptom of pre-menopause.”
This is a blatant example of sexism in the workplace. To fire someone and ridicule them over their uncontrollable bodily functions is reprehensible. Getting your period is natural, yet men continue to be disgusted by it and shame women for ever accidentally revealing info about their periods.
“I loved my job at the 911 call center because I got to help people,” Coleman said in a statement to the ACLU. “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 period leak was humiliating. I don’t want any woman to have to go through what I did, so I'm fighting back.”
The Civil Rights Act includes provisions against discrimination based on “pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions.”
Coleman's case very clearly falls under this umbrella, yet a judge tossed out her case in February.
The ACLU argued that this ruling was erroneous considering that "premenopause and the associated sudden-onset heavy menstruation" are protected by Title VII. They're absolutely right.
What happened to Coleman is ridiculous and shamefully sexist. We are so glad that she's taking a stand, and that the ACLU will continue to fight the stigma against periods.