NYC Police Officers Win Big in Pregnancy Discrimination Case
Pregnant police officers in New York City will now face one less barrier to career advancement after a new policy announcement by the city's Department of Citywide Administrative Services.
The change was made in response to a case brought before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) by Legal Momentum on behalf of NYC Officer Akema Thompson who was denied the opportunity to take a promotional examination. The Civil Service test is required for consideration of promotion to Sergeant. Officer Thompson was scheduled to take the exam to be considered for promotion, and when she found out that it was scheduled on the same day as her delivery due date, she requested to re-schedule the exam.
Although exceptions are made for many other reasons such as religious observances, work-related injury, court appearances, or funerals, Thompson, who has been working for the NYPD since 2010, was told by city officials that her request for a makeup test was "not approvable," because pregnancy or childbirth were excluded. Three days before the exam, as Thompson went into labor, she was told that she could not reschedule the exam, but would be allowed extra time and a cushion to sit on.
Thompson, with the help of Legal Momentum, filed a complaint with the EEOC, and the DCAS settle the case paying Thompson $50,000 and allowing her to take a makeup exam in January. The city also agreed to change its policy to allow for rescheduling exams due to pregnancy and giving birth.
"In 2015, there is no excuse for denying pregnant women reasonable accommodations to enable them to work on an equal basis with everyone else," said Carol Robles-Roman, President and CEO of Legal Momentum.
Pregnancy discrimination complaints have dramatically increased over the past decade. In 2014 alone the EEOC received around 3,400 complaints with settlement fees reaching up to $14 million.
Media Resources: Legal Momentum Press Release 8/3/15; NY Times 8/9/15; NYC PBA Press Release 8/3/15; Feminist Majority Blog 10/31/13; EEOC Data FY2011-FY2014;