Madison Police Officer Sues Town, Claiming She Was Discriminated Against During Pregnancy

A Madison police officer is suing the town, claiming that officials discriminated against her when she was pregnant.

Patricia Alonso said in a lawsuit that her employers treated her differently during her second pregnancy, not putting her on desk duty like they did while she was pregnant with her first child or offering her the same amount of maternity leave, according to the complaint filed on Dec. 5, 2013.

"The plaintiff alleges that the defendant discriminated against her in the terms and conditions of her employment on account of her sex (female) and pregnancy," the lawsuit states. "The plaintiff seeks injunctive relief, including restoration of seniority and benefits, and monetary damages, including lost wages and benefits of employment, compensatory damages, punitive damages, and her reasonable attorney's fees and costs."

Alonso has been a Madison police officer since August 2008. During her first pregnancy in 2010 and 2011, she was put on desk duty that required less physical exertion, but she said her superiors denied her that option when she was pregnant with her second child pending a doctor's note, according to the complaint. She took 12 weeks of maternity leave for her first pregnancy and was allowed to choose how much accrued time off she wanted to use, but that her human resources officer told her she had to request an unpaid leave of absence if she didn't remain on regular duty the second time around, Alonso claimed in her complaint.

After raising concerns to Police Chief Jack Drumm about not being able to go on desk duty during her second pregnancy, Alonso said he scolded her for "accosting" him and told a supervisor the encounter was probably due to her "hormones," Alonso said in her complaint.

NBC Connecticut left messages with the police chief's office and the department, but no one has returned our requests for comment at this time.

Alonso provided Drumm and Madison First Selectman Fillmore McPherson with a copy of her request for a leave of absence in November of 2012.  She grew fearful that the police chief would not allow her to return to work after her maternity leave and expressed that concern to her human resources officer and McPherson. The first selectman told her "that he did not know if the Town would be able to hold her position, and that it would depend upon the needs of the Police Department," Alonso's lawsuit states.

While she wasn't required to turn in her gun and police identification the first time, she said that she was required to do so when she was on leave for her second pregnancy and she was worried that meant the town "intended to terminate her employment," according to the complaint. 

She also filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities in February, of 2013.

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