Most women in California understand that pregnancy is a covered condition under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which ensures that their job will be waiting for them after maternity leave. Not as many women realize that their lactation and right to breastfeed or pump for their new baby is also protected. Under state law, California employers must provide lactating women with a private space not in the bathroom and breaks for pumping breast milk or nursing a new infant. Unfortunately, it isn’t uncommon for companies to ignore or willfully violate the law when it comes to new mothers.
Pumping milk for your infant or nursing them can provide a stronger start to life. Babies that receive breast milk instead of formula tend to have better health. The mothers also receive health benefits, from faster loss of the baby weight to slightly reduced risk of breast cancer. Being unable to express or pump breast milk can reduce a mother’s production. It can also be physically painful. New mothers who choose to return to work deserve to be accommodated by their employers. If your employer has refused to comply with the law, you should speak with an experienced California employment law attorney.
Lactation is a medical condition that must be accommodated
While it is a personal choice to nurse or pump milk for your infant, lactation itself is a medical condition that results from pregnancy and the delivery of a child. New mothers deserve accommodations by their employers. It is unfortunate that some businesses view these accommodations as unnecessary and penalize the women requesting them. In some cases, an employer may simply refuse to provide a private space. In others, businesses may refuse to give mothers adequate breaks. These breaks do not have to be paid, and they can overlap with existing break schedules if desired.
It can be difficult to return to work after maternity leave, particularly if you are nursing or pumping for your infant. In general, new mothers need time roughly every three hours to pump or nurse. This means that the average employee with an eight hour work day will need at least two, possibly three breaks to accommodate their lactation. If your employer won’t accommodate your medical needs as a new mother, you need to speak with an employment law attorney who understands your rights. You won’t just be standing up for yourself, but for all future employees who eventually become mothers.
An attorney will fight for your rights
Your employer isn’t above the law. If the company you work for won’t accommodate your lactation as required by California law, you need to take legal action to assert your rights. An attorney can advocate on your behalf and try to negotiate with your employer. If that fails, you can file a lawsuit to hold your employer accountable.
Nov. 30, -0001