The Suffolk County, N.Y., police department’s policy of not giving limited duties to officers who can’t patrol because of non-work-related injuries is unfair to pregnant cops, a jury decided Wednesday in federal court. The jury decided the department should have used less discriminatory alternatives, reports Newsday. “It’s a victory for women in police nationally and women in traditionally male fields,” said one of the attorneys for the six plaintiffs, Namita Luthra of the American Civil Liberties Union Women’s Rights Project. The six plaintiffs were awarded as much as $23,000.
Jurors listened to six days of testimony from plaintiffs, who described the added danger of patrolling while pregnant, and department officials, who insisted the policy was meant to take officers out of offices and put them back on the streets. They took about 16 hours over three days to come to a verdict. Retired Officer Kelly Mennella, 34, of Smithtown, said she felt part of a historical event, one that will pave the way for younger generations of female police. “We all have daughters,” she said. “This is for them.”