A recent lawsuit has ordered a Kentucky Fried Franchisee to pay $1.5 million in damages in a breast-feeding discrimination case. Pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers are prohibited from firing, harassing or retaliating against workers for breast feeding or pumping at work. Additionally, the Fair Labor Standards Act provides that hourly workers have the right to pump on the job. The Affordable Care Act sets forth that nursing woman are entitled to take reasonable break time for up to a year to express milk. They must also be provided a place “other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public” to express milk. Many jurisdictions may have additional state law protections. However, despite these laws, for scores of new mothers, finding a place to pump milk while at work can be challenging, create unnecessary embarrassment, and may lead to prematurely stopping a practice beneficial to both mother and child.
In the recent breast-feeding discrimination matter, the woman alleged that she was neither provided a space nor privacy as need to pump breast milk. The fast food restaurant had numerous windows so she initially pumped in the single-stall bathroom. However, she was asked to pump instead in the manager’s office. She still did not have privacy as the office had a surveillance camera which could not be turned off. Further, despite recommendations that she pump every two hours, she was only allowing to do so once during each 10-hour training shift.
The woman filed a claim for workplace harassment and discrimination, as well as violations of the FLSA’s breast feeding provisions. The jury found in favor of the mother, finding that she suffered from discrimination and a hostile work environment.
Unfortunately, despite legislative efforts to accommodate breast feeding women, in reality, many barriers still exist at work places across the United States, including Georgia. For more information or if you believe you have suffered any type of gender discrimination, please contact the dedicated Atlanta employment discrimination lawyers at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP for an immediate case evaluation.