Settlement Reached in Adult-Diaper Construction Case

Philadelphia, PA—A gender discrimination suit that centered around the lack of adequate restroom facilities for female construction site employees has been settled out of court.

Lisa Drozdowski, 37, claimed that the construction company for which she works, Danella Construction Corporation, refused to provide her and other female employees with portable toilets or other adequate amenities. She was granted a settlement of $150,000 in a suit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Four other women, who were also female employees of Danella, will split a settlement of $50,000 for damages in a gender discrimination case, according to a consent decree filed in federal court recently. The decree is pending judicial approval.

Drozdowski claimed in her suit that although the male construction workers on sites could urinate in holes or behind backhoes or other construction vehicles, she was obliged to walk a quarter of a mile to reach her car, then drive for an additional five or 10 minutes to find a public bathroom.

When other female employees were present, she said, they could help shield one another from passing traffic and from coworkers by holding up blankets for one another. Several times, however, Drozdowski was the only woman on the site and was denied a bathroom break until it was too late for her to find a public toilet. Several times she urinated on herself, so she began wearing Depends adult diapers to work in order to keep her job. At the time of her employment with the company, Drozdowki was a single mother of three children and needed the construction job in order to support her family.

Drozdowski, who began working as a flagger for Danella in 2005, also alleged that she was denied a laborer’s position, and that management told her the company did not hire female employees for laborer positions. The company stopped calling her for jobs in 2006. A claim for retaliation was included in the lawsuit that was brought by the Equal Opportunity Commission.

Danella’s attorney, Sandra A. Girifalco, issues a statement in which the company flatly denied the claims of discrimination. “No one, male or female, was ever denied the opportunity to go to a restroom when the need to go was known,” read the statement, in part.

The statement also said that the company entered into the settlement in order to stop “expensive and distracting” litigation.

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