Pregnant cop denied desk duty

May 6, 2008 3:16:27 PM PDT
She's a decorated bilingual police officer who was recently awarded a medal of valor for handling a gunman who pointed a weapon at her. Ocean Township Police Officer Sonia Enriques is also more than two months pregnant with her first child. Doctors recommended that she go on light duty, but her request to do that has been denied.

"It's added stress definitely? I don't think anyone of us would like to have to worry about whether or not you're gonna have a job, or how you're gonna pay the bills for the next six months," said Enriques.

Ocean Township's police chief says the town has no policy for pregnant police officers and until it does, Enriques has just two options, stay on the road or take an unpaid leave of absence.

Chief Antonio Amodio said, "I don't have the authority to say to someone that I will continue to pay you for 8 months to do a job that you weren't hired to do , I don't have that authority."

But, Police Benevolent Association officials argue that light duty jobs were given to male officers with temporary disabilities and that she should have the same reasonable accommodation.

"This should be the happiest time of her life, she shouldn't have any added stress of worrying about whether she's gonna have a paycheck, if she's gonna have a job" said Luke Sciallo of PBA local 57.

Colleague Bruce Friend added, "The chief is being unreasonable, he's made accommodations for these other male employees, but has not made it for this female employee."

Township officials are now looking into developing a pregnancy policy. Enriques said, "I do want to stay at work, I love my job. There hasn't been a day in the last 6 years that I haven't been excited to come to work."

For now, Officer Enriques remains on duty, torn between the job she loves and her unborn baby.