Back to All Press Release

Update In NYCLU Discrimination Suit Involving 6 Pregnant Police Officers

The Reproductive Rights Project of the New York Civil Liberties Union, along with the ACLU Women’s Rights Project and the law firm Rosen, Leff, represent six women police officers in Suffolk County who were excluded from light duty assignments when pregnant. Discovery in this case, which is before the federal court in Central Islip, is complete. Plaintiffs served a motion for summary judgment July 6th.

The Suffolk County Police Department (SCPD) changed its light duty policy in April 2000, excluding pregnant officers from desk duty and other light duty assignments. The change in policy meant that pregnant officers who wished to work during their pregnancies were left with no option but to take leaves for the duration of their pregnancies.

“This policy puts female police officers in an untenable position,” said Rebekah Diller, Director of the Reproductive Rights Project. “It harms their opportunities for advancement on a male-dominated police force.”

Access to appropriate work assignments during pregnancy also is critical to their longevity on the job. The SCPD, which has a history of discrimination against women and minorities, nonetheless permitted a predominantly male group of officers with medical conditions incurred off duty to remain in those positions.

In response, the Reproductive Rights Project, filed a lawsuit in June 2001 in the Eastern District of New York on behalf of three Suffolk County police officers forced off their jobs when they became pregnant. The group has since expanded to six. In September 2002, the court denied the county’s motion to dismiss the case and sent the matter back to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

In June 2003, the EEOC agreed with our challenge and found that the policy discriminated against pregnant officers. Despite this finding, the county has yet to agree to negotiate any settlement and the case went back to court. Plaintiffs are now preparing opposition to defendants’ motion for summary judgment.

As bold as the spirit of New York, we are the NYCLU.
© 2024 New York
Civil Liberties Union