Woman Who Tried to Combat Co-Worker's Odor Gets Fired

Indianapolis courts employee installed air fresheners and got canned; now she's suing
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 2, 2018 1:56 PM CST
Updated Jan 6, 2018 11:54 AM CST
Woman Who Tried to Combat Co-Worker's Odor Gets Fired

A bizarre lawsuit out of Indianapolis revolves around life at the office and body odor. As IndyStar reports, the mess began when workers in the city's magistrate court complained about a co-worker's chronic body odor. That prompted Amber Bridges, as part of her role as lead staff, to place air fresheners around the office. Soon, others did the same, and the co-worker with the body-odor problem eventually complained to human resources. Bridges then got fired, the explanation being that she had created a hostile work environment. Now she is suing the city, arguing that her firing violates the American With Disabilities Act. The lawsuit makes a two-part argument: the co-worker's body odor is a protected disability, and, thus, Bridges cannot be fired because of her association with the co-worker.

The case hinges on a part of the ADA that states "persons discriminated against because they have a known association or relationship with a disabled individual also are protected." The reason for the body odor is not specified, but an employment attorney not connected to the case tells IndyStar that body odor can indeed qualify as a disability under certain circumstances. Attorneys for Bridges and the city declined to comment, but the lawsuit says the city's "conduct was outrageous and malicious, was intended to injure Bridges, and was done with reckless indifference to Bridges' protected civil rights, entitling her to an award of punitive damages," per the IndyChannel. (More body odor stories.)

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