NYC Told a Pregnant Cop 'No'—She Fought Back
'I wanted that opportunity,' says Akema Thompson
By Brownie Marie,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 10, 2015 1:05 PM CDT
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(Newser) – The sergeant's exam is a crucial step for anyone looking to rise in the ranks of the NYPD, and it's offered on an "as needed" basis, reports In fact, the test held Oct. 19, 2013, was the first time it had been given in two years. Officer Akema Thompson wanted that shot, except she was due to have her first child that very day. Undeterred, she registered for the test and asked New York's Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) if she could take the test on an alternate date. Such rescheduling is permitted for reasons like a death in the family or a scheduled court appearance. But Thompson's request was denied, twice, reports the New York Times. She next asked her union for help, and it sent three letters explaining how high the stakes were considering how rarely the exam occurs.

Three days before the test, and four hours before she gave birth, she got the decision: no (but if she showed up to take the test on the 19th she could use a cushion). Two months later, she filed a lawsuit that alleged pregnancy discrimination. "The law does not require DCAS to provide testing accommodations, but it does prohibit the agency from withholding an otherwise available accommodation from pregnant candidates," Justia reporter Joanna Grossman explains. The city settled in July: Thompson will receive $50,000 and take her test in January. Other women may benefit, too. The city's policy now reads: "An alternative test date may now be requested for a temporary disability, pregnancy-related, or child-birth-related condition preventing you from taking the exam on the day it is scheduled."