Bergman v. Town of Burlington School Department

Complainant, a registered nurse, suffers from asthma.  Working in several schools within the Burlington School System, she worked in an office near where smoking was permitted.  Shortly after she transferred to the high school, her asthma worsened.  She requested an air cleaner and the installation of a window that could be opened.  A doctor’s letter said that it “would be in her best interest to provide access to fresh air and proper ventilation.”  Her requests were refused.  Her health deteriorated; she became depressed.  In June 1993, she wrote letters of resignation.  A hearing officer concluded that “the Respondent’s failure to provide Complainant with a venting window constitutes unlawful discrimination in violation of” the state’s anti-discrimination statute and ordered Burlington Public Schools to pay her $200,000 in emotional distress damages and to conduct training for its managerial employees on the subject of handicap discrimination.

18 Mass. Discrimination Law Reporter 143, Docket No. 93-BEM-1379 (1996).