New legislation may help pregnant police officers in Michigan maintain paid work, rather than being forced to take unpaid leave. Democratic representative, Coleman A. Young II is currently pursuing an amendment to the state’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act in an attempt to block the practice of forcing women to leave the department without pay until after the birth.
A policy that considers pregnancy to be an off-the-job injury bars women from light-duty office jobs offered to people that have suffered injures while working.
“A pregnant officer should not and cannot by law be considered injured. By cracking down on this unfair action, we are making civil rights a priority and proving that gender should have no basis in determining pay,” said Young, according to The Detroit News.
The legislation was drafted after Officer Tisha Prater pursued a case against the Detroit police department, asserting that she felt pressured to hide her pregnancy because of departmental policies. The EEOC upheld her complaint in May. The EEOC found that Officer Prater was “forced to take a leave of absence because of her sex.”
Similar cases of pregnant police officers, such as Officer Sonia Henriques in New Jersey, being denied light-duty work are the result of the lack of women-friendly policies in police departments.