Police officer's claim of pregnancy discrimination rejected

A FORMER Charleville police officer has had her discrimination claim against the Queensland Police Service dismissed.

Constable Teresa Bell claimed she was discriminated against during her pregnancy when attempting to secure a transfer to Gympie police station in June 2011.

Ms Bell applied for the transfer to Gympie after her husband was transferred to the Kilkivan State School.

The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal was told Ms Bell commenced maternity leave on April 14, 2010, and at the end of her maternity leave she commenced a period of leave without pay to March, 2012.

It was during this time Ms Bell applied for the transfer.

The tribunal was told Ms Bell was offered the transfer on the proviso she took up the offer as soon as possible and provided she applied for a reversal of her leave without pay.

On August 5, 2011, Ms Bell called a senior officer at Gympie police station to arrange a date to meet to finalise the transfer.

It was during that phone call she informed him that she was pregnant.

Ms Bell gained the necessary clearance from Charleville in order to return to work on restricted duties.

However, the tribunal was told the senior officer did not support her return to work as the position at Gympie was a "fully operational one."

He said there were no administrative roles available, the communications room was staffed by civilians and was at full strength and any front counter work would require her to undertake additional training, which medical documentation she provided did not permit her to do.

Ms Bell, in her submission to the tribunal, said the pregnancy policy was not taken into account when dealing with her placement at Gympie and the policy obliges the manager of the relevant station to find alternative duties for a pregnant employee.

It is submission the Queensland Police Service said Ms Bell admitted she could not perform some of the duties as outlined in the position.

Furthermore, police policy dictated that due to her individual circumstances of having been out of operational duties for more than 12 months she was required to undertake reorientation that meant she could not begin work straight away.

Ann Fitzpatrick, in handing down her determination, said she was satisfied at the evidence provided showed there were no alternative duties available at the Gympie Police Station which Ms Bell could perform.

Ms Fitzpatrick said she was satisfied Ms Bell "was not treated less favourably than another person without the attribute of pregnancy would be treated in circumstances that are the same or not materially different."

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