PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - A female Phoenix Police officer claims she lost the chance to switch squads when it was discovered she was pregnant.

Like gender and race, pregnancy is protected by federal labor law.

[WATCH: Lawyer of woman suing Phoenix PD for pregnancy discrimination speaks]

Now she's suing the department.

The new lawsuit details how in March of last year, Phoenix officer Angelique Briggs requested to transfer squads.

Her attorney, Stephen Montoya, says Briggs was first in line for the job until she learned she was pregnant.

"Ofc. Briggs is an excellent officer, that's undisputed," said Montoya. "She had the seniority. She put in the transfer first."

When word got out, Montoya says a sergeant tried to prevent that move from happening.

"The sergeant to whom she was attempting to transfer said that he didn't want a pregnant woman on his squad because that would mean that at some point she would have to go on light duty and he thought that was burdensome," said Montoya.

Montoya says this comment was overheard by other officers who alerted Briggs.

"It hurt her a lot. She risks her life for the department and for the people of our city, and she felt betrayed. She felt discriminated against," said Briggs.

Briggs filed a complaint, but soon after, she suffered a miscarriage. She believes it was due to the stress of the rejection.

With the help of the police union, Briggs eventually was allowed to transfer.

"You cannot punish women for becoming pregnant," said Briggs.

And once in her new role, she got pregnant again, recently giving birth to a healthy baby.

She is right now on maternity leave but isn't done fighting what she and her attorney are calling gender discrimination.

"What happened was wrong, and they only set it right after she came forward with the complaint supported by damning evidence. That's point one. Point two is she doesn't want this to happen to anybody else. And that's the most important point," said Montoya.

We reached out to the Phoenix Police Department. It says it does not comment on pending litigation.

 


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