City Required Different Leave Provisions for Female Officers

August 8, 2005 ( - The city of Albuquerque faces charges of discrimination because a supervisor of female police officers required them to use sick leave after the birth of their children, while male officers were not forced to use their sick time for their Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) time off.

The judges for the US 10th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court’s ruling that the plaintiffs did not present sufficient evidence in their case, according to the court opinion.

Cynthia Orr and her husband Stephen and Patricia Paiz, all employees of the city’s police department filed charges against the city claiming the female employees were required to use sick time for their leaves following pregnancy while male officers were not. Both women planned to use compensatory time – granted in lieu of payment for overtime- and were told they could only use their accumulated sick time following the births of their children. Orr and another male officer mentioned in the case were allowed to use compensatory time for their FMLA leave.

According to the court document, the city also did not pay Cynthia Orr for part-time work following the birth of her first child and when the Orr’s second child was born, they were told they would have to split the 12 weeks of FMLA time between them.

In their opinion the judges found that the female officers’ benefits were compromised also since the department’s policies say accumulated sick time can be used toward early retirement and accumulated compensatory time must be reduced before employees can work more overtime.

The judges ruled that the plaintiffs had sufficient evidence for their charge of discrimination and remanded the case to the lower court.

The full opinion in Orr vs. City of Albuquerque is here .