Bridgeport Firefighter Claims Pregnancy Discrimination

A Bridgeport, Connecticut firefighter is suing in federal court over pregnancy related discrimination.

Regina Scates claims that the Bridgeport Fire Department “refused to accommodate [her] pregnancy and forced her to take leave from her position as firefighter, and denied her fringe benefits on account of the plaintiffs pregnancy” in violation of state and federal law.

The 15 page complaint was filed in US District Court in Hartford on September 26, 2014 and alleges three causes of action:

  • Violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Violation of the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act
  • Intentional Infliction of Severe Emotional Distress.

According to the complaint, the City of Bridgeport provides unlimited paid sick leave to members of the Bridgeport Fire Department, while under Article 14A Section 1 of the collective bargaining agreement, maternity leave is “unpaid leave”.

That is going to be a problem, which the complaint rightly points out: “The provisions of Article 14A, Section 1 treats leave for pregnancy substantially less favorably than leave for non-pregnancy physical disabilities”, which in turn violates state and federal discrimination laws.

Scates also alleges she was wrongly disciplined for her use of pregnancy-related sick leave, and wrongly placed on unpaid maternity leave on account of her use of paid sick leave.

Here is a copy of the complaint. Scates v Bridgeport

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 45 years of fire service experience and 35 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014, 4th ed. 2022) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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