Frankfort officer forced to take unpaid maternity leave months before due date, lawsuit says

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FRANKFORT, Ill. -- A southwest suburban police officer is suing the Frankfort Police Department for sending her home while pregnant on unpaid leave months before her due date.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) says this is a pretty clear case of pregnancy discrimination.

The officer, Jennifer Panattoni, was five months pregnant when she was sent home on unpaid leave.

The senior patrol officer is the first female who was on the street to get pregnant in Frankfort.

Panattoni says she had a healthy pregnancy, felt great and was just asking for accommodations, like lighter, less stressful duty and a uniform and bullet-proof vest that fit her growing belly.

The ACLU says those things were within her rights, according to the Illinois Human Rights Act.

Frankfort's Village Manager says he believes the police department complied with state and federal law.

He also says a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was dismissed.