Can I Sue My Employer For Not Letting Me Breastfeed
It is recommended by the American Academy for Pediatrics that mothers breastfeed exclusively for 6 months and continue to breastfeed for another 6 months after the introduction of solid foods. In fact, it is well documented that breastfeeding provides newborns with essential proteins and nutrients, is linked to higher IQ later in life, and leads to other benefits as well.
But allowing mothers to breastfeed or pump milk at work has benefits for the employer also. Giving employee mothers the opportunity and privacy to express milk decreases workplace absences and also encourages productivity because mothers are less stressed about family-related issues.
However, more and more employers are discriminating against the most vulnerable class of people, mothers who need to breastfeed or express milk for a newborn child.
What Are My Breastfeeding Rights at Work?
It is often against the law for your employer to discriminate against you on the basis of your pregnancy. Accordingly, your boss cannot demote you, harass you, or otherwise take some adverse employment action against you because of your pregnancy. However, since breastfeeding is an essential part of your pregnancy, it is also illegal for your employer to restrict your ability to express milk for your newborn. Under California law, breastfeeding discrimination is a form of sex discrimination.
Expressing milk for a newborn is an important aspect of nursing a newborn. When you are at work you should be given:
- The opportunity to express your milk in sanitary conditions
- Adequate breaks to express milk, with ample time
- The privacy to express your milk without interruption
There are numerous legal protections for mothers expressing milk to do so without the anxiety of a looming boss.
For example, there is the Reasonable Break Time for Nursing Mothers Act, which was an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) under the U.S. Department of Labor. Under this act, “employers are required to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express milk.” Employers must also provide “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.”
Some key requirements federal law has in place against breastfeeding discrimination include:
- Your boss has to provide a place other than the bathroom for you to express milk
- You must be given adequate time to express milk, not just a couple of minutes
- When expressing milk, you should be given privacy, meaning your coworkers can’t see you
- If your employer has less than 50 employees, they may not be required to give you the break to express milk if it would cause an undue hardship
Under California law, however, women are provided much more protection. California law says that a mother may breastfeed her child anywhere in public or private, except the private home or residence of another. California law requires that employers provide a room within close distance to the employee’s working area to express milk without being intruded upon by coworkers. In other words, California treats breastfeeding discrimination and the restrictions on expressing milk as a form of sex discrimination
Some Questions You Are Asking Yourself
- Am I allowed a rest break to pump milk for my baby?
- Is my boss supposed to give me a private room to pump milk for my newborn?
- Is my employer allowed to fire me for pumping milk?
- Can my boss retaliate against me for expressing milk?
Talk To A Lawyer Today!
Free Consultations and You Pay NOTHING Unless We Win!
Talk to a Lawyer Now! Free Consultations and No Fee Guarantee. You should immediately contact a lawyer in the event you have denied the opportunity to breastfeed your newborn. The sooner you speak to a lawyer the better your case will fare.
On the other hand, the longer you wait, the more you limit your damages and risk the potential of missing the deadline to file a lawsuit. Contact the lawyers at Miracle Mile Law Group at (888) 244-0706 or contact us online to get more information about your rights. There are absolutely no fees unless we win.