In the workplace, breastfeeding can become a hot topic issue. While breastfeeding mothers have to express milk, some employers try to restrict them from pumping.
Often, women do not realize their rights regarding breastfeeding. If an employer or colleague expresses discomfort, they may believe that they have no rights to pump during the workday. In reality, employers cannot discriminate against breastfeeding mothers.
A woman’s protections as a mother
According to the EEOC, discrimination based on pregnancy or breastfeeding is sex discrimination. Some employers, colleagues and supervisors may try to make women feel bad for breastfeeding. They may try to shame or humiliate the woman. In some cases, employees may face demotion because of her breastfeeding schedule.
None of these actions against breastfeeding mothers can stand up in court. If they face harassment from anyone at their workplace or feel as though it became a hostile environment once they began breastfeeding or after giving birth, they can file a claim.
The employer’s obligation
Working mothers may choose to use a breast pump during the workday. Your employer has to allow you the time and space to do so. The Department of Labor states that federal law requires employers to provide reasonable break times for at least one year following the child’s birth. These breaks allow the mother to express milk.
The employer also has to provide a private space for the woman to pump, other than the bathroom. There should be no risk of intrusion from colleagues or clients.
Most women need to express milk at least two to three times over the course of an eight-hour workday.