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Officer files suit over alleged pregnancy discrimination

Women in West Virginia often worry over when to tell their employer that they are pregnant. Although protected by federal law, pregnant women continue to face discrimination from their employers. An out-of-state police officer recently filed suit against her employer after what she says was repeated discriminatory behavior.

The female officer first discovered she was pregnant back in 2015. When her pregnancy had progressed to about 12 weeks, she requested that she be placed on some type of modified duty to accommodate her pregnancy. Although addressing walk-in complaints and record-keeping are apparently commonly given to injured officers, her request was denied and she remained on normal duty.

Further accommodation requests were also denied, including when she asked to carry certain equipment in a pocket in order to reduce the weight of the duty belt on her growing abdomen. Ultimately, she was placed on unpaid leave when she provided a physician's note that recommended the officer be put on clerical work or light duty. She was forced to use personal time and sick leave during her unpaid leave, and when those funds ran dry she had to turn to her police pension disability benefits. This constituted only half of the officer's regular pay and would also need to be repaid.

Currently back at work, the officer cited her desire to have another child in the future as one of her motivations for the lawsuit. Discrimination suits are also important for other employees. By taking a stand and seeking just compensation against discriminatory employers, workers in West Virginia can help establish a better place to work for countless other people.

Source: ABC News, "Suit: Pregnant Illinois officer forced to take unpaid leave", Sara Burnett, Sept. 20, 2017

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