Roy Gilbert

Pregnant and nursing mothers file cases against shipyard after being sent home witout pay

Nicole and Daniel Fahrnkopf hold their new baby Judah in Port Orchard. Nicole was unable to bank comp time because her supervisors said she couldn

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Nicole and Daniel Fahrnkopf hold their new baby Judah in Port Orchard. Nicole was unable to bank comp time because her supervisors said she couldn’t perform her regular job at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard while pregnant. She has filed a complaint. (Photo: Josh Farley / Kitsap Sun) BREMERTON – Kaylie Contraro not only wanted to work while she was pregnant, but she needed to. Her family was growing. She had a 1-year-old at home in addition to the one on the way. Though pregnant, she traversed ladders, stairs and even the tight confines of what’s called “shaft alley” aboard the USS Carl Vinson as part of the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard’s paint shop.

But in July, Contraro was sent home without pay after shipyard management found she could only do limited work because of her pregnancy — something she disputed.

“I was fully capable of working,” Contraro said. “But my rights as a mother, an employee and a woman were all violated when (they) made the decision that ‘it was not safe’ for me or the baby.”

Contraro is one of at least four women who filed cases against the shipyard, alleging their rights were violated under the federal pregnancy discrimination act. Two of the cases have already settled, and there may be more, according to the lawyer representing them.

The Bremerton Metal Trades Council (MTC), the union representing the workers, said the shipyard has been running afoul of the law for more than a decade. Union officials said they’ve been working […]

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