• Injured female police officers suing OPD over discrimination against female officers

    By: Shannon Butler , Katlyn Brieskorn

    Updated:

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Two female Orlando police officers are suing the Orlando Police Department because they believe they are being treated differently after they were injured in the line of duty.

    Cheryl Middleton and Elizabeth Waba-Daniels said they are fighting to get their disability pensions.

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    The women call it an intentional, agency-wide pattern of discrimination against female officers at the Orlando Police Department.

    Last year, Waba-Daniels was thrown from a horse while on mounted patrol. She said the injuries were so severe, she will never be able to have children.

    Waba-Daniels said she applied for a disability pension with Orlando police, but the city has not taken steps necessary to follow through with the application.

    When officers are injured, they go on alternative or limited duty until they can return to work or leave with a disability pension. 

    However, it's the process that is under fire in these new lawsuits filed by Waba-Daniels and Officer Cheryl Middleton.

    The women said they are treated differently not only because they are disabled, but also because they are women. 

    The lawsuit states, "OPD has a pattern, practice of denying its female employees' medical pension applications while granting its male employees' medical pension applications for the same or similar injuries." 

    Waba-Daniels said she believes the delay is because she filed an EEOC complaint against the city and has openly criticized the department's policies. 

    But she only filed for the pension a few months ago and it can take up to 18 months for the process to be completed.

    The two women said while on leave for their injuries, they were subject to menial jobs, however, injured men were not. 

    "Injured or disabled females are assigned tasks that are mainly administrative/secretarial in nature whereas males are afforded less restrictive and more prestigious positions," the lawsuit states.

    The city and the police department have not commented on the lawsuit as it is ongoing litigation.

    The lawsuit comes after Orlando police Chief Orlando Rolon said he is getting rid of long-term alternative duty positions for everyone.

    Several officers will go in front of the pension board Thursday. 

    Middleton is one of the officers who will likely get the pension, which will be unclear what that means for the lawsuit.

    Waba-Daniels is still in process and her case will not be heard.

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