Dear Susan McBride,

If you should happen to read this, then you already know that I can certainly empathize with your plight. I fully know what it’s like to ask people you’re in close contact with to please not wear their perfume in your presence. And I also know that far too many of them do not understand your condition or what their perfume does to your body. You say allergy, they hear “I don’t like it.” They hear what they want to hear.

It’s a very brave thing to take this up as a lawsuit. I’ve already read enough on the web to know that many people won’t see your position. It makes my blood boil to read the comments they post around the web. But just remember they are insensitive and ignorant. They won’t read the facts behind this to learn that you had exhausted all other options. Some say “Work from home. Go on disability.” As if those are easy options. Trying to work from home is very difficult. But easy compared to going on disability. They talk about their “right” to wear perfume. As if you have no rights? Why are their rights important but yours aren’t?

Stay home, they say. If you wound up on welfare, they would attack you for that as well.

Just remember that there are many, many people that can empathize with you. Seek them out when you get weary from all the rude and insensitive comments.

To all readers: If you found this blog b/c you were looking for more info on this case, why don’t you leave a short comment of support. Or, if you just can empathize with Susan’s problem, leave a comment.

Watch this blog, too. In some upcoming posts, I want to address some of the rudeness that I found while researching this.

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10 thoughts on “Dear Susan McBride,”

  1. Susan,
    Keep your chin up, and pursue this as if it’s for everyone’s benefit. If you prevail in your lawsuit, you will receive immediate benefit, but your coworkers will no longer be breathing volatile chemicals.
    Keep up the good work.

  2. I would like to contact Susan McBride or her attorney. I tried calling the US District Court in Detroit….they didn’t answer!! I have multiple chemical sensitivity and would LOVE to see a ban on fragrances in the workplace. Please email me if I can help!! Lisa Tye Columbia, SC ecsinc at

    A radio show was just having a “conversation” about this being ridiculous…so I would LOVE to help people realize that the chemicals in today’s fragrances are toxic!

  3. I too, have fragrance sensitivity and have been treated as badly at work as some of you have described. Reading the posts, I would think we all work for the same company. I work in Detroit and am watching Susan’s lawsuit. I am hoping that she wins (and does not settle out of court) because winning woudl set a precident. Perhaps them my company would be willing to help me.

    For those of you who have the courage and wish to pursue legal action, you need to contact your local branch of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). You can find them on the internet. You must file a complaint with them within 180 days of learning that you are being discriminated against. The EEOC will investigate and, if they determine that you have been discriminated against, they will issue you a “Right to Sue Letter.” They told me that they will also provide you with a list of attorneys. (I have not filed a complaint, although I did speak to someone at the EEOC. So I can’t tell you more about how the process works.)

    To help you get through your work day without being poisoned, I recommend you purchase and wear a mask. You may not need to wear it all the time, but it’s a lifesaver when you need it. It’s true that the mask looks funny and people will stare at you, but they will get used to it. Besides, those people aren’t being very nice to you anyway, so why do you care about what they think? And those that do understand your plight won’t laugh at you. They will be nice to you and will support you. You can purchase masks over the internet at National Allergy. The website is, then click on the Latex Free Masks link. I recommend that you purchase an R95 or N100 mask. You can also purchase R95 masks at your local hardware or home improvement shop for about $10. When I wear the R95 mask I bought at my local home improvement shop I cannot smell any perfume, even if I am standing next to the person wearing it. I just ordered the N100 but have not received it. I’m hoping it will be more comfortable than the R95 I am currently using.

    Good luck to all of you and thank you for the posts. It’s a relief to know that I am not the only person being treated badly at work because of a disability I cannot control.

  4. Ann,

    Thank you so much for your comment. It really is sad that we have to resort to lawsuits to have the right to breathe clean air.

    Regarding National Allergy – the link you left – – didn’t work. Could it be

    You mention following the lawsuit. Is it on local news or papers? I’m interested in knowing how it progresses. Could you maybe keep us posted here?


    P.S. Tried to send an email but it bounced.

  5. I, too, am being treated horribly at work. My co-worker who WAS a friend (no longer!), refuses to stop wearing perfume, and now even wears it EVERY day when she didn’t before a big blow up about this. She’s been nasty, my boss is completely unsympathetic because he uses cologne (not much though, and thankfully, his doesn’t bother me) and he also was nasty, and they made me move my desk and wear a mask, which does very little if anything. I wear 4 layered, actually. And I use a fan, but that does little as well.

    So now I have to wear a mask, can’t wear my earrings, have a headache EVERY DAY while in her presence, be dizzy, nauseous, occaisionally lose my lunch (literally!) and be f______ miserable EVERY day at work. Just so she can be selfish and have her right to stink!

    I am in the Detroit area, so I follow and seek info on other cases, but it’s hard to get the info I need. I contacted an attorney who defended another in a similar situation, and they’ve taken info and said they’d get back to me, but it’s been two weeks and several left messages and I still haven’t heard back. I am seeking other employment, but if you know of Michigan’s economy, you know jobs are extremely scarce and there’s no guarantee I won’t have the same ignorance wherever I go!

    I’m so stressed and bumbed that people aren’t more understanding or compassionate. What if the tides were turned, how would they like to be treated like this? It’s horrendous what I’ve been put through and no doubt countless others!

    I wish I could find out who Susan McBride’s attorney is. Can’t find the info anywhere. If anyone has info, please post it. That’s all I ask. This is a very tough situation to be in.
    And I ask that you all tell all you know to be considerate and sympathetic to those with this disability. I don’t believe it is an allergy, but due to allergies and/or asthma (which I have both), due to the fact that your immune system is weakened, your body can’t deal with the strong toxic chemical fumes that are in these perfume and other products.

    I’ll check back here from time to time. If anyone has helpful info, it is very welcome. Thank you! 🙁

  6. I am a cig smoker–don’t mind other’s smoke–I AM allergic to EVERYTHING perfume!! My husband comes home from office REEKING of perfume–has caused jealousy issues! HIVES are not my favorite pastime!!

  7. I have Multiple Chemical Sensitivity also and have been going to doctors since January trying to get some help. No one can fix it and my work place is a torture. I have had problems since 2000 in general to many chemicals and eliminated many things that effect me at home. Cleaning products, candles, gas at the gas station and strong fragrances. Work fragrance was never bad until This past year, I asked a worker to not to use something that I reacted to and she used it more and told me to move my desk. After a month my supervisor got involved and spoke to her. Now she stopped but I am reating to other people’s fragrance that I didn’t react to before and it all snowballed to involve 6 other people. Now My employer said I can’t approach anyone, they can’t tell people not to wear things and he won’t have a voluntary fragrance free policy …that the empolyer has the right to impliment. Out of 10 people in my department all but 2 have stopped all fragrances. I use fans and have a window but the ones that continue are so strong that I still react. I don’t have trouble breathing- thank God- but my face and back burn like sun burn and my lips get so chapped it hurts. My doctors put me on Zyrtec and that got me back to work in January after 7 of my 10 yearly sick days were used. Now I don’t burn but by Wed when it builds up in my system again I get a nasty red rash with burning itchy bumps on my back. I even showed my coworker what she did to me and my supervisor and still no help or stopping of the fragrance. I am close to getting a doctors letter that I really have a reaction. Any day now. Documentation I think is the beginning….unfortunatly…and the cost to find a doctor that even knows of MCS drive me crazy. It is not an alergy but a “sensitivity”…no shots to fix it. I am close to looking for an attorney and would love to talk to Susan McBride’s attorney. I love my job of 15 yrs and will not go down easy. What a great day when she won the lawsuit. A real trailblazer. I am close to trailblazing in New Jersey. Thank you Susan for the boost of hope. Thanks for the info on masks …Ann I will be getting some and look forward to being the odd one at work to prove my point and protect myself. Keep up the fight and educate people along the way…it is our only help. 🙄

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