Woman sues US city for perfume exposure
A woman has filed a lawsuit against the US city of Norwalk for exposure to her colleagues’ perfumes and colognes, alleging officials have failed to lessen her exposure to such scents in the town clerk’s office and that she is being harassed.
The suit’s filing was reported by The Advocate newspaper in Connecticut, which said that plaintiff Linda Gorman was also seeking an unspecified amount of monetary damages and attorney’s fees.
According to the suit, Gorman’s problems started in March 2002, when Town Clerk Andrew Garfunkel hired a temporary staffer whose choice of perfume made Gorman ill. Garfunkel issued a memo asking employees not to wear perfumes or colognes, but later amended his policy to state that trendy scents, as well as body lotions and detergents, could be used in moderation as long as they could not be detected within five feet (1.6 yards) of Gorman.
The temporary hire no longer works at the Norwalk town clerk’s office, but in October 2002, another employee was hired who also liked to sport perfume. The aromas are so strong to Gorman that she has to take daily shots of prescription allergy medicines as well as allergy shots, her lawsuit claimed.
Gorman also alleges that Garfunkel gave her negative performance reviews despite her above average performance, delayed her overtime payments due, and deliberately moved her work station to further provoke her symptoms. City attorney Jeffrey Spahr suggested that someone who “has an allergic condition to scents” should not be working with the general public that is “part and parcel of what her job is.” “To the extent she’s claiming she can perform the essential function of her job, I’d disagree with that,” said Spahr. The disgruntled Gorman is also claiming her allergies constitute a disability and that she has been discriminated against under the Americans With Disabilities Act. afp