A prison staffer was fired by the Virginia Department of Corrections after her tampon was mistaken for contraband during a security scan, according to local media.
Joyce Flores, a former dental hygienist at Augusta Correctional Center, will now proceed with a sex discrimination lawsuit against the state.
After being interrogated for hours, Flores was sacked from her role on suspicion of smuggling contraband - despite Flores proving her innocence to female colleagues.
According to Flores' lawsuit, "at no point did [Flores] bring, or attempt to bring, contraband into Augusta Correctional Center".
It alleges that her employment was terminated "because she was a menstruating female utilizing a feminine hygiene product when she arrived to work".
The matter, which occurred in December 2019, is now before the courts.
The Department of Corrections has asked a judge to dismiss the claim, arguing Flores did not sufficiently demonstrate that gender was a motivating factor in her termination, according to NBC.
However, District Judge Thomas Cullen has rejected that motion.
It's not the first time Virginia's Department of Corrections has landed in hot water over a similar issue. The agency received backlash in 2018 after it banned women from visiting prisons while wearing a tampon, due to a problem with body-scanning technology.