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My wife is a dispatcher for the local police department and one of the requirements of her job is that she wear a uniform that is provided to her by the city.This was never an issue until she became pregnant. Now that she is starting to show, her uniform no longer fits; in fact, it's down right uncomfortable for her. She asked if she could wear her maternity clothes to work and was originally told yes; however, now they are telling her she must wear the uniform.When she complained to her boss that the uniform didn't fit, he suggested she wear a larger size. Obviously this won't work, and in fact, when she did try on a larger uniform she looked downright ridiculous. The best image I can give you is to imagine a five-year-old playing dress up in her mom's clothes.

My feeling is that he is not only being insensitive, but he is also discriminating against her because she is pregnant. Since the city provides uniforms for all of it's officers and dispatchers, shouldn't they be obligated to provide her with a maternity uniform that will accommodate her pregnancy, but also fit the rest of her? If not, can they make her wear clothes that obviously do not fit and could even cause complications in her pregnancy?

It's my belief that in the male-dominated world of law enforcement there is little sympathy or respect for women in general, let alone pregnant women. This whole episode has been extremely upsetting to both of us. We lost our first baby due to miscarriage, so you can imagine that we have been on pins and needles now that our second is on the way.

Can you tell us what our rights are in a situation like this?

Thank you,



Dear Scott -

I certainly think that the police dept. has an obligation to provide uniforms for all of its employees -- including those who are pregnant. I'm not sure that there is enough for any sort of legal suit, but there is certainly some requirement that police forces do not discriminate against their employees, including those who are pregnant. I suggest that you contact some police forces in the surrounding area and see what they have done for their pregnant employees, so that you have this precedent.


-- Amy

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