- Associated Press - Thursday, October 27, 2016

FLORENCE, Ky. (AP) - An agreement in a pregnancy discrimination case involving two police officers in northern Kentucky would result in new accommodation policies for pregnant employees and workers with disabilities in Florence, the Justice Department said.

The agreement, pending U.S. District Court approval, would result in payouts of $135,000 to the officers, The Kentucky Enquirer (https://cin.ci/2fiDEd1 ) reported.

A Justice Department complaint said Florence Police Officers Lyndi Trischler and Samantha Riley were denied light-duty requests in 2014 because of their pregnancies. Instead, it said the city required them to take paid and unpaid leave.

“No woman should ever have to choose between having a family and earning a salary,” Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, the head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said in a news release. “Equally important, individuals with disabilities who need reasonable accommodations deserve an opportunity to keep their jobs.”

Gupta said the Justice Department will “continue working tirelessly” to protect pregnant women against unlawful workplace discrimination.

This was Trischler’s second pregnancy, and she didn’t think her second light-duty request would be a problem since the police department gave her a desk job during her first pregnancy in December 2012.

Not so in 2014. By April 2013, the city had changed its policy on light duty to no longer accommodate pregnancy.

So, by Trischler’s second pregnancy in 2014, and despite having a high-risk pregnancy, she was denied accommodation.

After 23 weeks of pregnancy, Trischler was forced to take leave, of which a “substantial portion” was unpaid, according to the complaint.

Once the court approves the settlement, Florence has 30 days to draft new policies, pending further approval.

Supervisors will have to complete two hours of training on pregnancy and disability discrimination annually and the department will have to designate an employee to be an Equal Employment Opportunity Officer.

The city will also be on watch for three years if the settlement is approved.

It will have to keep records on all light-duty assignments and every six months will have to file updates on its efforts to comply. It will also have to file a detailed report on any light-duty request involving pregnancy within a week of the request.

The $135,000 in compensatory damages and attorney’s fees Florence agreed to pay each officer will also restore paid leave they were forced to use, the newspaper reported.


Information from: The Kentucky Enquirer, https://www.nky.com

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