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Five Massachusetts state troopers filed a lawsuit against the Massachusetts State Police, accusing the agency of discriminating against troopers who went on maternity leave or for other personal reasons.

The troopers allege in their suit that they lose their seniority when they take time off to give birth or to deal with medical issues, according to the Boston Globe. This in turn makes it more difficult for them to get better work assignments and overtime shifts.

A trooper’s seniority is based on their rank in their graduating class at the academy, the Globe noted. However, the suit accused Massachusetts State Police of lowering seniority when troopers went on leave, pushing them farther down the line for better assignments, shifts and vacation time.

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The disproportionate impact this practice has on women who have given birth, experienced a miscarriage, or other medical issues related to pregnancy is blatantly discriminatory, Matthew Patton, the lawyer representing the troopers, said.

It is a direct violation of the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act for the State Police to take this seniority away when Troopers are once again making the personal sacrifice of caring for a loved one, he added.

One trooper, Serena Trodella, said that her seniority fell from 112 in her class to the very bottom on her first day of leave when she gave birth to her child in 2021.

The Globe reported that one male trooper had been hoping to go on paternity leave in 2021 when his son was born, but decided against it upon learning he would lose seniority.

The Hill has reached out to Massachusetts State Police for comment.

In a statement to the Globe, president of the State Police Association of Massachusetts, Patrick McNamara, expressed his support for the troopers and criticized Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R).

It is unconscionable that the Baker Administration would punish Troopers for using legally protected time off to tend to serious medical, family, or personal issues, said McNamara. “It is clear to the Association that while the State Police are attempting to diversify our ranks, Governor Baker continues to obstruct our much needed growth.”