New rule at busiest courthouse in Metro Detroit bans fragrances

Courtroom employee says fragrances make her sick

DETROIT – The 36th District Court, the busiest courthouse in Metro Detroit, made headlines this week with some of its new rules.

There are 300 employees at 36th District Court, and 2,500 people visit the building each day.

Lawyers are now charged to make copies, and the public can't bring in pens because the court administration doesn't want new murals marked up.

But the third new rule affects every person who walks through the doors: A new fragrance policy.

"That's shocking," said Alisha Wrack, who visits the courthouse. "What are we supposed to smell like? Is lotion going to be OK?"

A memo went out to all employees and signs were posted for the public to tell everyone not to wear fragrances that anyone can smell inside the courthouse.

"If I can't go to work looking and smelling my best, it might mess you up mentally," Wrack said.

The perfume policy includes cologne, lotion, body wash, hand sanitizer, hairspray, oils, candles, room deodorizers and air fresheners.

Some people think the new policy stinks.

"I only smell mine," Eddie Killing said. "I never smell anyone in there."

Chief Judge Nancy Blount said the new rule is a "reminder."

"We have at least one employee who has a sensitivity to fragrance, so that prompted us to take a look at the issue," Blount said.

The employee is a smoker, and she said fragrances make her sick. She wears a mask in the courtroom.

"I have a lot of people who can't stand me because of my disability," she said.

About the Authors:

Shawn Ley is an Emmy-Award winning reporter. In more than 20 years covering stories in television news, Shawn’s reporting has taken him from war-torn eastern Europe, to reporting from an F-16 fighter jet and now to the fast and furious breaking news of Detroit.