Can My Employer Terminate Me For Pumping Breast Milk? Let’s talk about breasts. For women that are in the post childbirth phase, breast milk pumping is essential. Instead of attacking a natural physiological act that happens after childbirth, we should look at what makes breast milk and lactation so amazing. In as little as two weeks a woman’s body starts to produce milk ducts. Fats and connective tissues protect the milk that is produced in the cells. Isn’t the human body marvelous? And just like a snowflake, no women’s breast milk is the same. But unlike a snowflake, women’s employment rights are the same as men’s. If our laws and regulation strive for equality in the workplace, why do we continue to see discrimination, termination, or harassment based on pregnancy?

Woman’s legal writes regarding breast pumping at work

Pumping breast milk is an act that mimics breast feeding, which in turn, stimulates a woman’s body to produce more breast milk, which will then ultimately help provide for their newborn. In order to avoid pain from engorged breasts, women need to breast pump every two to three hours. From an employment standpoint, a physically in pain employee does not make for a productive employee. Also, breast pumping can be advantageous for the future in the fact that once a woman has accumulated enough breast milk; they no longer have to be on call for their baby, which may open up time to do other things such as work.

Before we address a woman’s legal writes regarding breast pumping at work, let’s give a hand to all the moms that manage to do it all: work, raise a child, breast pump on breaks, cook for the family, and so much more. A literal human being was produced in their uterus, which they carried inside of them for 9 months, and now essential nutrients for a baby’s life are coming out of their body; this is nothing short of a superhero feat. Not all heroes wear capes nowadays, they wear breast pumps. And while we are at it, let’s give a shout out to those women whose full time job is being a stay-at-home mom. Some of the strongest, most resilient, and determined women are stay at home moms who take on the responsibility of the household. So to all moms out there: we commend you- don’t sell yourself short when it comes to your legal rights.

What Are My Rights For Breast Pumping At Work?

Section 1030 of California’s Labor Code, and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) specify that every employer must provide a reasonable amount of time for an employee to pump breast milk. A reasonable amount of time to breast pump is vague, but it usually will be at least 20 minutes since that’s the average amount of time it takes to pump. While it’s recommended employees use their usual meal breaks to pump, if they are not able to, an employer must still provide a lactation break. If you decide to pump during a normal break where you would usually get paid, the employer must still pay you. However, if you need additional, different times to express breast milk, you will not get paid for them. Employers must make the effort to supply a designated area for the woman to pump that is away from the work area and is not a bathroom stall.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. The 1978 Amendment to this act, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), expands the definition of sex discrimination under Title VII to include pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions. Under the PDA, you cannot be fired or be denied a job or promotion because of the earlier stated conditions. All companies with at least 15 employees must adhere to these laws. Pumping breast milk is an aspect of pregnancy that is protected from discrimination under the law. As a woman that breast pumps, you are also protected from retaliation by your employer. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act is stricter than Title VII, and prohibits sex discrimination in the work place for companies with a minimum of only 5 employees. Any kind of harassment related to breast feeding is also prohibited, so know your rights and make sure that as a mother in the workplace, your rights are not being infringed upon.

Title VII, FEHA, and FLSA all prohibit retaliating in response to a complaint of yours rights being violated. One form of retaliation may be firing, so if you were fired because you were breast pumping or a related scenario, you will want to speak to one of our sex discrimination lawyers at California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group. Possible outcomes may be compensatory damages, punitive damages, and attorney and court fees. Also, if an employer does not provide you with breaks to breast pump, they may have to pay up to $100 for each violation. This is an opportunity to monetize the discrimination you may have faced as a working mother.

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Every ounce of breast milk pumped burns about 20 calories. That’s average of an extra 500 calories burnt a day as an inherent consequence of being a lactating mother. Calories, simply put, are units of energy. It literally, in scientific terms, takes more energy to be a mother. Tack on a job and other essential daily activities and we can see life as a mother can be exhausting. So why do employers continue to discriminate, harass, or terminate women because of their pregnancy? Instead of reprimanding, everyone should be commending women for quite literally sustaining life as we know it. Our lawyers at California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group acknowledge working mothers and want to employers who unlawful behavior to fully face the penalties of the law.

Having a new born can take a financial and emotional toll on a family. Supporting another human being takes time and money. The loss of a job only depletes these areas more. Our attorneys with expertise in pregnancy rights don’t want to add to this. That’s why we offer a free consultation and zero-fee guarantee. It will not cost you a thing to come in and talk to one of our experienced lawyers. We will take on your case free of charge, and there is only a fee if we win your case. If you are already working with a lawyer on your case, you can also see us for a free second-opinion. Our goal is to provide you with information to make the best, most informed decision about your case. California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group is in the business of changing lives, so who do you want handling your case when it comes to your rights and privileges as a working mother?