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  • Cedric Watkins is a father, uncle, entrepreneur-in-training, and a vital community pillar for many others. While behind bars, he has tirelessly devoted himself to serving his peers and his community. He developed gang disaffiliation programs for other incarcerated individuals and is currently involved with Defy Ventures. He sends letters and calls his daughter as much as he can.

    Cedric is currently in prison at Sterling Correctional Facility. He was convicted of aggravated robbery, burglary, kidnapping, theft and sentenced to 80 years; no one was seriously injured or killed. For comparison, a person convicted of second-degree murder in Colorado faces a maximum sentence of 48 years. Cedric has already served 20 years and has fully rehabilitated during that time.

    It’s time to bring Cedric home: acluco.org/redemption. Redemption is real. Clemency is compassion.

  • On November 21, 2016, 13 Aurora police officers responded to a simple noise complaint at Alberto Torres’s home. As happens all too often, Aurora police officers escalated this minor issue into a brutal affair. They beat Mr. Torres solely because he delayed exiting his garage to ask his wife to interpret for him. With that beating, the lives of Mr. Torres and every member of his family were changed and he has yet to recover. ACLU of Colorado fought to obtain justice for Mr. Torres, and Aurora has now paid him $285,000. But money is not justice, and the brutality of the Aurora Police Department against people of color has continued unabated.

    It doesn’t have to be this way.

    Imagine, if instead of 13 officers being dispatched to Mr. Torres’s home for a noise complaint, the City of Aurora sent a civilian-led response team to check on his welfare and ask that he and his friends lower their sound, resulting in a non-violent solution to a minor issue?

    ACLU Settles Case With Aurora After Police Brutalize and Unlawfully Arrest Alberto Torres

  • Hope is a discipline. It’s a commitment that together, we can create a more perfect union. We won’t rest until we fulfill the promise of equal rights for ALL people in the United States.

    Join us in our fight to fulfill this promise and move forward with hope by donating to the ACLU of Colorado. Your donation supports the ACLU’s strengths that make our work effective and collaborative.

    Donate now at https://action.aclu.org/give/support-aclu-colorado

  • Anthony Martinez is 84-years-old and suffering from renal failure, as well as other serious medical conditions including dementia. He is currently incarcerated in the Sterling Correctional Facility, site of one of Colorado’s largest COVID-19 outbreaks with almost 600 active COVID-19 cases. He and his family are understandably terrified that he will catch the virus and die.

    In the midst of this public health crisis, incarcerated people as vulnerable as Anthony, could and should be immediately released to safely live out their remaining years with family.

    Read more about Anthony Martinez and other at-risk incarcerated people. 

ACLU Files Discrimination Charges against Frontier Airlines on Behalf of Breast-Feeding Pilots

EEOC Complaint Alleges Airline Management Ignored Requests to Accommodate Pumping

5/10/16

DENVER, Colo. — The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Colorado, and the law firm Holwell Shuster & Goldberg LLP today filed discrimination charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of four female Frontier Airlines pilots who claim that the company’s policies discriminate against women by failing to provide accommodations related to pregnancy and breast-feeding.

The pilots, who have collectively worked for Frontier for 35 years, assert that despite their dedication to their jobs, the airline’s failure to accommodate their pumping needs made it extremely difficult for them to continue breast-feeding their babies once they returned to work.

The pilots are Shannon Kiedrowski, who has worked for Frontier since 2002, Brandy Beck, who has worked there since 2003, and Erin Zielinski and Randi Freyer, who have worked there since 2013.

“We love our jobs as pilots for Frontier Airlines and we shouldn’t have to choose between our jobs and breast-feeding our children,” said Kiedrowski. “But because of the lack of accommodations for pregnancy and breast-feeding, that is exactly the position each of us has been put in. We’re bringing this complaint because no woman should have to go through what we went through.”

Frontier forces pregnant pilots to take eight to 10 weeks of unpaid leave before their due date, allows a maximum of 120 days of maternity leave (all of it unpaid), and fails to make any accommodations to enable pilots who are breast-feeding to pump breast milk when they return to work. Women who are away from their babies need to express breast milk using a breast pump on roughly the same schedule as the baby’s feeding schedule, or serious medical complications can result. But pilots’ schedules often involve long flights and trips that can last days at a time, so they need to have a designated place where they can pump both on the aircraft and at airports.

“Frontier’s policies are discriminatory at a structural level and need to be changed,” said Galen Sherwin, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Women’s Rights Project. “If Frontier wants to attract and retain the most qualified pilots, it’s going to have to recognize the needs of its pilots who have babies.”

The charges assert that Frontier’s policies violate state and federal laws against sex discrimination in employment because they treat pregnancy and breast-feeding less favorably than other medical conditions or disabilities and have a disproportionate effect on women. They also allege violations of the Colorado Workplace Accommodations for Nursing Mothers Act.

“Currently, only 6 percent of commercial pilots are women. Discriminatory policies such as these across the airline industry contribute to this extremely low number,” said Hannah Sholl, counsel at Holwell Shuster & Goldberg LLP. “We hope that Frontier takes the necessary steps to ensure that these discriminatory policies are ended once and for all.”

The women each assert that they sought information, support, and accommodations from Frontier, but were met with indifference or outright hostility.

  • All of the women claim that they often had to delay pumping due to their flight schedules, and that they suffered from pain and discomfort as a result.
  • Three of the women suffered from mastitis, an infection of the breast tissue, as a result of Frontier’s policies and practices that did not permit them to pump on a sufficiently regular schedule.
  • One of the pilots, Kiedrowski, was disciplined after a co-pilot complained that she had used a breast pump on the aircraft.
  • One of them, Zielinski, had to terminate breast-feeding early after her milk supply dried up. She also claims that her supervisors inadvertently sent her an email intended for Frontier management accusing her of “baiting” them after she asked for accommodations and that her work email was abruptly cut off immediately after she received the message.
  • All of the women claim that they suffered from financial harm as a result of being forced to take an unpaid leave during the end of their pregnancies, without the option to seek a temporary job reassignment that would have allowed them to earn a paycheck.

“Each of us tried to work with Frontier to find a solution, but unfortunately our efforts went nowhere,” said Beck, a first officer at Frontier since 2003. “Because of Frontier’s failure to address the needs of pilots who are breast-feeding on a policy level, each of us has been left to figure out these problems on her own.”

The charges ask the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to require Frontier to take several steps to make it easier for pregnant pilots and pilots who are breast-feeding, including that Frontier provide women the option of taking a temporary alternative assignment that would permit them to continue working during pregnancy or breast-feeding; allow more than 120 days of unpaid  maternal leave to permit women to continue breast-feeding; designate places where a pilot who is breast-feeding can pump, including at airports Frontier uses; and allow pilots who are breast-feeding to pump on the aircraft when necessary.

Prior to filing these charges, the ACLU and Holwell Shuster & Goldberg LLP sent a letter to Frontier requesting that Frontier implement policy changes to adequately accommodate pregnant and breast-feeding pilots, but Frontier never responded.

Today’s complaint is at: https://www.aclu.org/cases/frontier-airlines-eeoc-complaint

For a blog by one of the pilots: https://www.aclu.org/blog/speak-freely/airline-pilots-should-not-have-choose-between-their-jobs-and-breastfeeding-their



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