BROOKLYN, N.Y. (CN) - The U.S. government reached a six-figure settlement with a New York agency accused of discriminating against pregnant bridge and tunnel officers.
Though officers with the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority are tasked with "protecting the safety and security of many of the major bridges and tunnels in the New York City area," several female officers have complained over the years that the TBTA makes them surrender their guns and work unfavorable assignments when they are pregnant.
TBTA medical staff routinely rejected any documentation the female officers provided to the TBTA from their doctors, attesting to their fitness for duty, the U.S. Equal Employment opportunity Commission said.
The six-page complaint U.S. Attorney Robert Capers filed Tuesday against the TBTA along with the settlement describes the experiences of two officers, Lori Ann DiPalo and Christine Lampropolis, who both became pregnant in 2008.
In both cases, TBTA medical staff cited the need to protect the women's fetuses from "abdominal trauma," according to the complaint.
Stripped of her firearm privileges, DiPalo was allegedly forced to choose between toll-booth duty or disability leave, despite verification about her fitness for duty from her doctor. She says the TBTA medical officer never even examined her.
The government says 11 other women faced similar discrimination between 2007 and 2011 "solely because they were pregnant."
A 19-page settlement the TBTA reached requires the agency to revise its policies, provide training to employees and staff regarding protections for pregnant employees, submit a biannual report of how it treats its pregnant employees and create guidelines for the fitness-for-duty status.
DiPalo will receive $100,000 in damages, and the other 12 officers will split $106,500.
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