A former employee of the University of Minnesota School of Nursing has taken action to file a federal lawsuit against the school, alleging discrimination, retaliation and wrongful discharge. She claims that the University of Minnesota violated both state and federal employment law, including the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
The former employee suffered from multiple chemical sensitivity, which means that she experiences burning eyes, coughing, and migraines when exposed to certain chemicals. The conflict at work began because the employee was experiencing an adverse reaction to her boss’s perfume. The complaint states that she asked her boss to stop wearing the perfume and to allow her to place a sign on her desk that would alert people to her sensitivity, but both requests were denied.
The Minnesota Department of Human Rights and the EEOC found that if true, this was a failure of the employer to make reasonable accommodation for a disability as required by state and federal law.
In addition to the disability accommodations complaint, the former employee also says that her boss misused University funds on a trip to Hawaii. She says that she complained about the suspected misuse and was retaliated against.
The two sides said that they have attempted to work things out in mediation, which is a relatively information non-binding alternative method of conflict resolution. Mediation can be very productive for some conflicts, but unfortunately did not produce an agreement in this case. Filing a lawsuit will force the issue to some resolution, whether it is through a settlement or through a jury trial.
Source: Minnesota Daily, “Nursing dean conflict could go to court,” Rebecca Harrington, June 27, 2012.