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State pays at least $76,000 to woman allergic to smells

ST. LOUIS (AP) _ Missouri has paid at least $76,000 to a former social worker who said her supervisors ignored her allergic reactions to perfume, air fresheners and cleaning products.

A report released by Attorney General Eric Schmitt Friday shows the latest of two payouts to Gwendolyn Hill, a Department of Social Services employee for 26 years.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports court documents show Hill developed allergy-like reactions to strong smelling products, causing her to physical discomfort and sometimes requiring her to leave work. Eventually, in 2009, she wasn’t able to return to work and the state ended her employment.

The state argued that Hill didn’t seek a 100% fragrance-free workplace between 2006 and when she left the job.

The state has paid millions of dollars in cases related to managers not addressing workplace concerns. Schmitt’s latest report projects the contested legal cases could cost taxpayers $483 million.

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