A police officer is claiming that her department did not make reasonable accommodations for her during her at-risk pregnancy. Now the department could be facing a lawsuit.
The officer, who has been with the department for close to seven years, claims that when she was pregnant she developed high blood pressure, which caused her to have a high-risk pregnancy. However, she claims the police department she worked for did not make reasonable accommodations for her needs, and she has now filed a pregnancy-related disability complaint against not only the department’s police chief, but also the town’s administrator.
According to the filed complaint, in order to have a less strenuous job and a therefore safer pregnancy, the officer requested to be placed on paid administrative duty. She claims that at the time of her original request the police chief said there was an open position and it should not have been a problem. However, he later came back to her and said the request was denied by the town’s administrator.
Without being able to work in administration for the remainder of her pregnancy, and only being able to work as a dispatcher for three shifts, the officer was forced to use the sick time she had saved up.
In the complaint, the woman accuses the police chief and town administrator of discriminating against her due to a pregnancy-related disability. At this time, an investigation is being conducted to see if the allegations are true, which could end up leading to mediation or even a settlement.
While this case takes place in Massachusetts, pregnancy-related disability discrimination can happen anywhere. In the state of Wisconsin, employees who are not able to perform the essential functions of their job due to a physical or mental disability, may be entitled to compensation if their employer failed to make a reasonable accommodation so the person could continue working.
Source: Boston Globe, “Scituate police officer alleges discrimination during her pregnancy,” Jessica Bartlett, 20 Jan 2011