Woman says Wake Forest police fired her because she was pregnant
Posted May 20, 2015
Wake Forest, N.C. — A former Wake Forest police officer is suing the town, alleging that she lost her job two years ago because she was pregnant.
Erin Bray said in the federal lawsuit that she discovered she was pregnant in September 2013 and obtained a doctor's note saying she should be placed on light duty and shouldn't run or jump due to her pregnancy.
She claims she was terminated soon after that based on her inability to perform the functions required of a police officer, which she alleges violates the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Wake Forest officials have said in court filings that the town reserves light-duty assignments for employees who have been injured on the job to limit workers compensation payouts.
Wake Forest attorney Katie Hartzog declined to comment on the lawsuit, other than to say that the town would comply with federal employment laws and any changes made to them.
Neither Bray nor her attorney could be reached for comment Wednesday.
Jeffrey Hirsch, a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law, said a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of a pregnant UPS driver could affect how Bray's case turns out.
"What the Supreme Court did, they didn't decide the case one way or the other. They basically set a new rule that essentially said, 'Look, you've got to treat pregnancy-related issues with completing work the same as non-pregnancy-related ones,'" Hirsch said. "If the employee can show that the employer is treating the pregnant conditions differently, then that's evidence of discrimination under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act."