California correctional officer settles gender discrimination lawsuit

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The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation agreed to pay a female correctional officer from the state correctional institution in Tehachapi, California $1.7 million to settle a lawsuit regarding alleged gender discrimination and workers’ compensation benefits.

The woman was working as a correctional officer when she became pregnant in 2016. As the pregnancy progressed, she requested reasonable accommodations be made for her to have less strenuous, and less dangerous, work. She was given three options: to be demoted to a position that paid less and erase her seniority, health benefits or preferred scheduling; to take a leave of absence; or to stay in the job she had.

The woman continued to work in her correctional officer job because she could not afford to take a leave of absence or lose pay and benefits. One day while she was seven months pregnant, she attempted to break up a fight between inmates and fell. Later, her baby later died as a result of placental abruption, a pregnancy complication that can be caused by physical trauma.

Her lawsuit alleges that she was forced to make a choice between her career and her health and wellbeing.

In the settlement, she will receive $1,420,00 plus another $280,000 in workers’ compensation once approved by the Worker’s Compensation Appeals Board. She must also submit her resignation to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.