The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Local News

February 17, 2014

Judge rules against firefighter's discrimination claim

CLINTON — A Clinton County District Court judge has ruled against a female Clinton firefighter who claimed her rights were violated when superiors refused to put her on light duty while she was pregnant.

"The Court finds that the City's policy does not infringe on Mrs. (Karen) McQuistion's fundamental right to procreate," Clinton County District Court Judge Henry Latham wrote in the 13-page judgment, which was filed late last week.

Serving with the fire department since January 2001, McQuistion became aware that she was pregnant on May 9, 2011. According to the court ruling, she notified her battalion chief, Joel Atkinson, of her pregnancy, requesting to be put on light duty. This includes inspections, water hydrant checks, fire prevention, duties, training assignments and duties with the juvenile fire offender program.

In June 2011, then-Fire Chief Mark Regenwether, former City Attorney Jeffrey Farwell and former City Administrator Jeffrey Horne met to discuss her pregnancy and rejected her request for light duty work. McQuistion stopped working on Sept. 29, 2011 and returned to work on March 14, 2012, with the same pay and benefits she had previously received. She filed her lawsuit on March 28, 2012.

In his ruling, Latham considered pregnancy discrimination under the Iowa Civil Rights Acts, which requires pregnant employees to be considered as having "temporary disabilities" and that the same terms and conditions are applied as for other temporary disabilities. McQuistion's lawsuit had claimed that the fire department offers light duty to other firefighters with disabilities. However, Latham stated in his ruling that this does not apply to the plaintiff.

"The conditions of the City's policy are clear. If an employee is disabled on the job, the City must provide her with light duty work. If an employee is disabled off the job, the City is not required to provide her light duty work," Latham stated. "McQuistion's disability was acquired off the job."

McQuistion's lawsuit also referenced two Clinton police women who were given light duty during their pregnancies. However, Latham determined McQuistion is not "similarly situated" to the pregnant police officers because police and firefighters fall under different collective bargaining agreements. Since these were the only two city employees that McQuistion had referenced to prove different treatment from the city, Latham denied her equal protection argument.

In her lawsuit, McQuistion argued that the city's policy infringed upon her fundamental right to procreate. Latham disagreed with her and found she was in fact arguing her employer was obligated to provide her with certain advantages that she would not be normally provided "to mitigate the natural disadvantages that come with pregnancy."

"That is not the law," Latham wrote. "If the city had implemented its policy in order to explicitly or implicitly punish female employees for choosing to have children, that policy would infringe on the fundamental right to procreate. In the present case, Mrs. McQuistion has not provided evidence of Defendant's motive to do so."

Attempts to reach McQuistion and her attorney Roxanne Conlin for comment were unsuccessful.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Middle School photo 2 Touring the unfinished Clinton MS (With Video)

    CLINTON -- Project manager Eric White and his construction group Estes are still half a year away from unveiling the new Clinton Middle School. Even though weather has set workers back by nearly three months, school officials were pleased with the bu

    April 22, 2014 4 Photos

  • City of Fulton will retain marina control FULTON, Ill. -- For at least one more year the city of Fulton will retain control of a municipal marina despite one local businessman's request to gain partial ownership. During a City Council meeting Monday, local boat repairman Donnie Saiter's requ

    April 22, 2014

  • Work still needed on legal services CLINTON -- During Tuesday's meeting, the Clinton City Council is expected to finalize its agreement with Cedar Rapids firm Lynch Dallas, officially filling Clinton's city attorney void that has lasted nearly five months. The firm's scope, spelled ou

    April 21, 2014

  • Day helps Fulton clean FULTON, Ill. Ever wonder what to do with old electronic devices or household appliances that no longer work? Well, Fulton city officials also pondered that question, which is why they created Fulton Recycling Day. From 8 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Fulton

    April 21, 2014

  • Clean-Up Day service project will spruce up city of Clinton

    CLINTON Spring is finally here but with it's arrival it has revealed an unsightly truth in downtown Clinton -- a lot of trash littered on the city streets. In an attempt to reduce the amount of trash, elected officials, city staff and volunteers wil

    April 21, 2014

  • Clinton looks into roadway safety upgrades Herald Staff Report Clinton looks into roadway safety upgrades

    April 19, 2014

  • John Hood A year after 'chaos'

    It happened two hours after John Hood finished his run. Like many, he thought the loud boom was just the sound of cannons going off, something that shook the ground. It was odd, but Hood — a 1989 Clinton High School graduate — tried to make it logical, associating the noise with another good happening at the Boston Marathon.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Theft trial for man charged in Wolfe sisters' murders

    A western Pennsylvania man accused of having robbed and killed his next-door neighbors, two sisters of Iowa Rep. Mary Wolfe, now also faces trial on charges that he stole another woman's wedding ring a year ago.

    State police in Greensburg allege that 43-year-old Allen Wade of East Liberty, Pa., stole the ring while delivering a refrigerator to a home in April 2013. Westmoreland County Common Pleas Judge Rita Hathaway on Thursday agreed to schedule the case for trial.

    April 18, 2014

  • More felonies added to sex abuse charges CLINTON -- A Clinton man already facing multiple felony charges for allegedly sexually abusing a child is now facing six more felonies for sexual exploitation of a child. Tony D. James, 45, was charged this past weekend with six counts of sexual expl

    April 18, 2014

  • Wildlife service to conduct burnings CLINTON -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will conduct several prescribed burns this spring. The burns will take place on the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge in Carroll and Jo Daviess counties. Sites planned for burning

    April 18, 2014

Facebook
Clinton

Camanche
Fulton
Clinton Herald photos


Browse, buy and submit pictures with our photo site.