ACLU Files Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit Against Suburban New York Police Department

Affiliate: ACLU of New York
June 7, 2001 12:00 am

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NEW YORK–Acting on behalf of three female officers who were forced off the job because they were pregnant, the New York Civil Liberties Union today filed a federal pregnancy discrimination lawsuit against the Suffolk County Police Department of Long Island.

“”The Suffolk County Police Department has a long history of discrimination and has been under court order since 1986 to eliminate discrimination based on race, ethnicity and gender,”” said Donna Lieberman, Interim Acting Executive Director for the NYCLU.

According to the lawsuit filed by the NYCLU and the ACLU Women’s Rights Project, each of the three women was forced to take a leave from her job early in her pregnancy because the police department refused to permit them to work in light-duty positions.

The department changed its light-duty policy in April 2000, disqualifying pregnant officers from precinct desk and other non-patrol jobs that would have enabled them to continue working throughout much of their pregnancies. At the same time, the department continued awarding light-duty jobs to an overwhelmingly male group of officers. This policy, the ACLU said, clearly discriminates against women.

“”Women make up only 10 percent of the Suffolk County Police Department and are entirely excluded from the top ranks,”” Lieberman said, noting that the department has also come under fire recently after more than half a dozen women civilians accused officers of sexual harassment.

The discrimination case is being handled by Rebekah Diller of the NYCLU, Lapidus of the ACLU Women’s Rights Project and cooperating attorney Robert Rosen of Rosen, Leff, Esqs.

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