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Village of Frankfort Settles Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit with Police Officer for $190K

— April 12, 2019

Earlier this week, the village of Frankfort agreed to pay officer Jennifer Panattoni $190,000 to settle a pregnancy discrimination case she filed following her 2018 pregnancy.

A pregnancy discrimination lawsuit was recently settled between the village of Frankfort and officer Jennifer Panattoni for $190,000. As part of the settlement agreement, in addition to paying Panattoni $190,000, it will “adopt new policies on how the department will treat pregnant employees.” The suit was originally filed back in 2017 by the ACLU of Illinois and ACLU Women’s Rights Project on behalf of Panattoni.

Image of a pregnant woman
Pregnant Woman; image courtesy of William Stitt via Unsplash,

According to the lawsuit, Panattoni became pregnant in 2015. Though she wanted to continue working, the police department allegedly “refused to provide her with properly fitting uniforms and protective gear and ultimately forced her off the payroll and onto involuntary leave.” To make matters worse, when she announced her second pregnancy in 2018, she was subjected to the same treatment and again forced on leave. Additionally, the suit claims the department “refused to modify her duties unless she accepted a 50 percent pay cut.”

When commenting on the settlement agreement, the ACLU said the village will have to “adopt changes to its policies, procedures, and training to provide reasonable accommodations for employees who are pregnant or recovering from childbirth.” The village also agreed to “reschedule Panattoni for the training classes she was unable to attend due to being placed on leave during her first pregnancy.”

On top of that, the police department must “treat pregnant officers the same as officers injured on the job when it comes to granting accommodations” going forward. The ACLU also said the department must keep a ‘task bank’ “of less strenuous non-patrol projects to help accommodate these officers” and the “department will also pay pregnant officers the same rates as officers injured on the job when they are accommodated with less strenuous work.”

When commenting on the recent settlement, Panattoni said:

“I am proud that we have been able to drive these important changes at my department. Throughout two pregnancies, my goal was to keep working and serving my community…I sought the same types of reasonable accommodations – like light duty and properly fitting uniform fitting uniforms and protective gear – that were granted to other officers who needed accommodations. No pregnant employee should be forced off the job when other reasonable accommodations are available.”

Pregnancy discrimination is a common occurrence and can happen to anyone. Unsure what it is? According to the EEOC, Pregnancy discrimination involves treating a woman, whether she’s an applicant or employee, unfavorably because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth.


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