A pregnant Bridgeport, Connecticut firefighter whose light duty assignment reached the maximum allowed under the collective bargaining agreement has been placed on unpaid and unrequested maternity leave. Firefighter Regina Scates and her attorney, former mayor Thomas Bucci, are threatening suit under federal and state law for pregnancy discrimination.
According to Bucci: "The department is violating now long-established, anti pregnancy-discrimination laws on both the federal and state levels by placing Firefighter Scates on unpaid leave while she is still able to work in a light-duty capacity… Treating pregnancy differently than any other disability is strictly prohibited under the federal Civil Rights Act and the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act."
Of course that argument fails if all disabilities are treated the exact same way. According to CTPost.com, the firefighters CBA limits light duty assignments to 90 days. Scates, who found out she was pregnant in May, went on light duty when she began experiencing nausea, dizziness, dehydration and fatigue.
Compounding the problem is Scates is down to 11 days of accumulated leave, and she is not due until December. The department is reportedly considering its options.
President of the Firebirds Society, Joel Christy, was quoted in CTPost.com as saying: "Here's a woman who risked her life for the city and who is now six months pregnant and having complications. For them to tell her on her 90th day of light duty that she has to go home and is not going to be paid for four months is outrageous. They're adding more stress to an already complicated pregnancy. Yet they don't seem to care."