Cromwell Puts Pregnant Police Officer on Unpaid Leave: ACLU

A pregnancy discrimination charge has been filed against the Town of Cromwell after the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut (ACLU) said an expecting officer was put on unpaid leave. 

ACLU said they filed the charge on behalf of Cromwell police officer Sarah Alicea.

"After my husband and I learned that we were expecting our first child, we were ecstatic. Our excitement soon turned into anger and frustration at how my department and the Town of Cromwell treated me. This roller coaster of emotions and uncertainty has added an enormous amount of stress to what should be the happiest time in my life," Alicea said in a statement sent by ACLU.

The complaint said Cromwell violated Alicea's rights when the town refused to temporarily modify the officer's job duties and "instead forced her to take unpaid leave for the last four months of her pregnancy," according to ACLU. 

The ACLU said despite Alicea proposing numerous other law enforcement duties she could perform safely with her physical limitations, the town rejected them.

The Cromwell officer has not been working since March 2017.

The charge was filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities.

"Federal law requires covered employers, including public employers such as police departments, to treat pregnant workers the same way they treat other workers who are 'similar in their ability or inability to work,' while Connecticut law goes even further, requiring employers to 'make a reasonable effort to transfer a pregnant employee to any suitable temporary position which may be available'," according to the ACLU.

Alicea, a Cromwell native, worked for four years as a patrol officer and school resource officer during the academic year. She was previously an officer in New London.

The ACLU said her husband is a combat-wounded veteran and Alicea is the family's primary source of income. 

The town manager, Anthony J. Salvatore, provided NBC Connecticut with the following statement: 

"The Town of Cromwell does not comment on the substance and details of pending lawsuits and claims. However, what I can say is that the Town of Cromwell believes it has complied with state and federal law as well as the terms of the collective bargaining agreement. The Town intends to defend these allegations."

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