Earlier this year, a pregnant woman and police officer in the City of Florence filed suit against her employer after they refused to accommodate her request for a job more fitting for a pregnant woman.According to a report by one local news source, the police officer has a master’s degree in Criminal Justice and has been with the force for a number of years. In fact, this was not her first pregnancy while on the police force. Back in 2012, she was pregnant with her first child, and the police department accommodated her request to transfer to a desk job once it became physically impossible for her to go out on her regular shifts.
Evidently, the police department’s policy has always been that only those injured while on the job are eligible for a temporary desk job. However, they clearly made an exception for this particular officer’s first pregnancy. At some point after she gave birth to her first child, the department sent out a memo telling management not to approve desk duty for anyone who was not injured while on the job.
When she applied for desk duty this time around, her application was denied. The woman was then forced to use her own vacation and sick hours in order to keep getting a paycheck. Graciously, her fellow officers have donated around 180 hours of their own vacation and sick time to her. Her suit is currently pending in federal court.
Discrimination Against Pregnant Women
Under several federal statutes, employers are not permitted to discriminate against pregnant employees. Of course, this does not mean that an employer must hire pregnant applicants for every posted job. However, it does mean that employers should not make unfavorable decisions regarding a pregnant employee’s employment because she is pregnant, unless that woman’s pregnancy would prevent her from doing an adequate job.
Pregnancy discrimination is a bit more complex than race or sex discrimination because it is a temporary condition, and there are some legitimate limitations that can be placed on pregnant employees, some for their own safety. However, that is not to say that an employer can fire a pregnant employee simply because she is pregnant.
What some employers do to get around dealing with a pregnant employee is to shift her to a different job within the company. (Ironically, this is what the pregnant officer described above wanted, but could not get). Depending on the situation, this may not be permissible.
Have You Been Treated Differently By Your Employer Because You Are Pregnant?
Have you been fired, demoted, or treated negatively by your employer because you have recently become pregnant? If so, you may be a victim of pregnancy discrimination. To learn more about what employers can and cannot do, contact an experienced Kentucky employment law attorney to discuss the facts of your case. Click here, or call 502-583-2300 today to schedule your free initial consultation with a dedicated Kentucky employment law attorney.
Seventh Circuit Overturns Lower Court Ruling on Indiana Title VII Prison Case, Kentucky Employment Lawyer Blog, August 8, 2014.
NLRB Finds That McDonalds Is a Joint Employer and Can Be Named in Worker Complaints, Kentucky Employment Lawyer Blog, August 1, 2014.