sec_arr Legal Framework

Legal Framework

This document does not constitute legal advice. Before developing a pregnancy policy, or before restricting or removing a pregnant LEO against her will, police physicians and AHJ should seek competent legal advice. The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) provides a model policy on pregnancy (see Appendix B).

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 states that discrimination on the basis of pregnancy or childbirth constitutes unlawful sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.1 Women who are pregnant or have related conditions must be treated in the same manner as other applicants or employees with similar abilities or limitations. An employer may not force a pregnant employee to take disability leave if she is able to work and cannot remove her from her duty assignment if she is able and willing to perform it. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act applies to most employers that have 15 or more employees.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1991 that an employer may not exclude pregnant women from hazardous jobs.2 Therefore, assuming the pregnant officer is willing and able to perform her essential job tasks, police agencies should give options to pregnant officers, but ultimately it is up to the individual officers to decide, after consultation with their personal physician, whether they accept a light duty assignment or other reasonable changes in their job assignments.