If you’re a mom who’s breastfeeding, you may be worried about workplace discrimination when you return to the office. What will the boss and coworkers think if you need to take a break to pump? Will you get privacy to express milk? These are just some of the questions you may have.
They’re legitimate questions. Don’t assume you will be treated fairly. It’s unfortunate, but many breastfeeding mothers who return to work do face different types of on-the-job discrimination. Some of them might try to shrug it off. They might think they did something wrong and should expect second-class treatment at work.
Don’t blame yourself or put up with discriminatory behavior. It is important to understand that discrimination against breastfeeding moms should never be tolerated. Breastfeeding workers have legal rights.
What are types of discrimination breastfeeding mothers face?
According to Psychology Today, women who breastfeed have experienced discrimination in the workplace that includes:
- Being denied pumping break requests when they are in pain and leaking milk
- Getting fired simply for asking if they can get break time for pumping
- Asking and then being refused privacy to express milk
- Hearing rude comments from co-workers or bosses about their breasts
Psychology Today cites a recent Pregnant@Work report which finds that many breastfeeding workers have been terminated, forced to resign or subjected to other negative economic impacts.
The report summarizes many of the rights nursing mothers now have. They include a right to break time and private space to express breast milk. In addition, Title VII, a federal employment statute, prohibits discrimination based on breastfeeding and lactation. More than half of all states have created laws providing additional rights.
Take legal action if your rights are violated
While nursing mothers have rights in the workplace, it can be difficult finding justice on their own when faced with discrimination. According to Psychology Today, about one-quarter of women of childbearing age who work are not covered by the federal Breaktime for Nursing Mothers law. The professions include registered nurses, kindergarten teachers and farmworkers. What’s more, technicalities make it hard to enforce the law.
That’s why it’s important to contact an experienced employment lawyer if you have faced workplace discrimination related to breastfeeding. The attorneys at Klie Law Offices can explain your rights and explore the legal options available to you.
We understand how workplace discrimination can have a devastating impact. You may have been fired, forced to quite or your health may be suffering because of you can’t address your needs as a nursing mother. You don’t have to go it alone. Trust us to handle your claim.