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Pregnancy—an ‘off-duty injury’—prompts Detroit Police suit

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

Five Detroit police officers have filed a lawsuit challenging a department policy that forces pregnant officers to go on sick leave as soon as their supervisors find out they’re pregnant.

The policy prohibits pregnant officers from working in any position—even behind a desk—unless a doctor confirms that they can crawl in confined places, jump from an elevated surface and make forcible arrests.

Detroit Police Department spokesman James Tate said the department was forced into its position by a 2004 union grievance, which argued that pregnant officers who acquire their conditions off duty should receive the same treatment as male employees who suffer off-duty injuries. An arbitrator sided with the union.

“The department wants pregnant officers to work,” Tate told The Associated Press. “It was never an issue until the union’s grievance.”

The lawsuit called the policy “shocking” and unconstitutional, and said it poses an “incredible financial burden” on pregnant officers. Some have had to rely on Medicaid and food stamps to make it through their pregnancies, the lawsuit said.

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