ACLU Victory in Lochren v. Suffolk County

Document Date: June 5, 2006
Affiliate: New York Civil Liberties Union

Sandy Lochren, one of the six plaintiffs in the case.

Penny Harrington, Director of the National Center for Women and Policing
> on equipment and safety for women in law enforcement.
> on what it was like to be a police officer in 1964 and being the first female police chief in a major U.S. city

> Learn about the women involved in the case
> Read the complaint (PDF)
> Blog: Trial Notes

National Center for Women and Policing

The jury has found that the policy denying women police officers limited duty during their pregnancies itself was discriminatory, and that the Department discriminated intentionally against two of the officers. All six officers get damages.

Read our blog for the latest developments and news reports.

About the case:
Lochren v. Suffolk County is a legal case that six female police officers have brought against their employer, the Suffolk County Police Department, to challenge department policies that discriminate against women officers by denying them limited duty during their pregnancies. While the case represents only six women, it confronts issues that women in non-traditional employment face across the country.

The Suffolk County Police Department changed its limited duty policy in April 2000 to disqualify pregnant officers from precinct desk and other non-patrol jobs that would have enabled them to continue working during much of their pregnancies. At the same time as it denies pregnant officers limited duty, the Department also fails to provide bullet-proof vests or gun belts that would fit pregnant officers and has awarded limited-duty jobs to male officers. As a result of these discriminatory policies, the police officers who are clients in Lochren v. Suffolk County had to take unnecessarily long leaves, sometimes unpaid, while they were pregnant.

The law enforcement, construction, utilities, transportation, and facilities trades offer some of the highest-paying careers in America — high-wage jobs that train workers and provide them with economic independence and benefits for their families.

If we don’t step up and force those industries to make provisions for women and stop forcing women to choose between their careers and their families, we’re keeping women from achieving full equality.

The trial in Lochren v. Suffolk began June 5, and was decided on June 14.

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