Stephanie Hicks was a police officer working for the West Alabama Narcotics Task Force. Just eight days after Agent Hicks returned to work after her maternity leave, she was demoted to a position as a patrol officer.
Working patrol not only involved a pay cut and worse shifts — it also required her to wear a bullet-proof vest. Agent Hicks was still nursing her baby, who was only a few months old, and her doctor had warned her that the heavy and restrictive vest could interfere with her ability to continue breastfeeding and subject her to a risk of painful infection. When Hicks requested a desk job where she would not have to wear the vest, the department denied her request, even though officers were routinely provided the same accommodation for other reasons.
Her supervisors told her that she seemed “changed,” and intimated that it was because she had the “baby blues.” They were also overheard complaining about the length of time she had taken off for maternity leave, referring to her as a “stupid cunt,” and saying they would “find any way” to “get rid of that bitch.”
The ACLU and the Center for WorkLife submitted a friend of the court brief on behalf of 22 women’s rights organizations and helped argue the case before the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
The 22 organizations the ACLU and the Center for WorkLife Law submitted the amicus brief on behalf of include the ACLU of Alabama, Inc., 9to5, A Better Balance, California Women’s Law Center, Equal Rights Advocates, Family Values @ Work, Feminist Majority Foundation, Gender Justice, Legal Aid Society – Employment Law Center, Legal Momentum, Legal Voice, National Association of Women Lawyers, National Association of Working Women, National Organization of Women, National Partnership for Women & Families, National Women’s Law Center, Southwest Women’s Law Center, Women Employed, Women’s Law Center of Maryland, Inc., Women’s Law Project, and the United States Breastfeeding Committee.