(WOMENSENEWS)-The District of Columbia police require female applicants to take pregnancy tests for public safety jobs. Employment experts said the policy violates the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act.
The policy is identical to that in the Washington, D.C., Fire Department and both are under review by city officials, the Washington Post reported Thursday.
And, another high-profile employer, Dow Jones and Company, owner of The Wall Street Journal, may be on a collision course with its employees because it does not cover prescription contraceptives. The New York Observer on Wednesday reported that the Independent Association of Publishers’ Employees, the union for the company’s employees, has requested the company to cover contraceptives and is prepared to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission if the publisher does not agree.
In the nation’s capital, police have been sending applicant’s form letters containing conditional offers of employment, pending a medical exam, according to Diana Haines Walton, deputy director of human services for police. If a female applicant is pregnant, the application is put on hold, Walton told the Post.
The policy has been in effect for 15 years. It does not affect applicants for civilian worker jobs, only the more physically demanding positions of public safety officers.
Charles Craver, professor of employment law at George Washington University, said the D.C policy “unequivocally” discriminates against women. “Required pregnancy testing is very intrusive. They’re really skating on thin ice,” he said.
For more information on the Pregnancy Discrimination Act:http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/fs-preg.html