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Is breastfeeding or pumping causing issues with your employment?

Most people are aware that women face workplace discrimination as a result of pregnancy and motherhood. Even though there are federal laws in place protecting pregnant women and their jobs, employers are often eager to force new or expectant mothers out of their companies.

Sometimes, this discrimination doesn't start until a woman returns to work after her maternity leave. Women who are able to nurse or pump a supply of breast milk for their newborn are federally protected in their right to do so. However, many employers refuse to accommodate these new mothers' needs at work.

Under law, nursing or lactating employees are entitled to take breaks as needed throughout the day to pump breast milk or nurse their infant. These breaks do not need to all be paid breaks, but the employee must be able to have 2-3 pumping or nursing sessions during a standard eight-hour workday. An employer should also be providing a sanitary and quiet space for pumping. Bathrooms are not an acceptable or clean space for nursing or pumping. An unused office or employee lounge will often suffice. Unfortunately, many employers would rather discriminate than support lactating employees.

Discrimination due to lactation is, unfortunately, common

All too often, employers fail to offer their lactating employees the proper accommodations. By refusing to allow for pumping or nursing, or by hassling or punishing an employee who does engage in breastfeeding or pumping while at work, these businesses violate the rights of their employees. The new mother may be bullied, denied promotions and raises or face more subtle discrimination.

All too often, when a new mother finds herself receiving worse or fewer shifts, referrals or leads, she quits her job. This is exactly what employers who harass or refuse to accommodate the needs of lactating women want. Don't give in to an employer who doesn't respect your rights! Speak with an experienced workplace discrimination attorney to discuss your best options for fighting back and protecting your career.

An attorney can help you recover from discrimination

When you lose a job as a result of pregnancy or lactation discrimination, it can have a long-term impact on your career. You lose wages and may have to start from an entry-level position with another company. An experienced discrimination attorney can help you recover from those losses and can help hold your employer accountable to prevent similar discrimination in the future. When you hold your employer responsible for discriminating against you, you are not only standing up for yourself. You are standing up for other current and future employees who will be subject to the same mistreatment.

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