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Thread: Legal Advice on Pumping in Workplace

  1. #1

    Default Legal Advice on Pumping in Workplace

    Hi! I just wanted to know if its worth pursuing Legal action against my employer regarding pumping at work. I live and work in NYC, where they passed a law in 2007 (Section 206-c, wording below).

    Here is a synopsys of what happened:

    Prior to Maternity leave, I requested a lock for my office door so I could pump. I never heard back from the Office Admin and when I did, a week before I returned she said that it would need to be approved, but I could use the handicap bathroom.

    After numerous emails with our HR person and Office Admin's Manager I was denied a lock (even with their knowledge of a co-worker walking in while I was pumping - I had a Do Not Distrub sign on my door and a chair to block the door from opening). She denied it because it would cost $300 to install the lock by a locksmith in NYC. However, before they realized I lived in NYC they approved the lock thinking I worked in an office where my company is headquartered in a different state.

    In the end, I wasn't offered any substitute office space for my pumping and I ended up having to spend 1 morning actually switching my door knob with a co-worker's door knob that had a lock. This was done without approval or knowledge.

    Would you pursue this?

    It just gets me so upset that people in this day and age would be so unsympathetic to a new mom who is pumping. What's even worst is that all people were female!


    =================================



    New York Labor Law Section 206-c, the Rights of Nursing Mothers to Express Breast Milk passed in 2007:

    Section 1. The labor law is amended by adding a new section 206-c to read as follows:

    S 206-C. RIGHT OF NURSING MOTHERS TO EXPRESS BREAST MILK.

    1. AS USED IN THIS SECTION "EMPLOYER" SHALL MEAN AN INDIVIDUAL, CORPORATION, PART- NERSHIP, LABOR ORGANIZATION, UNINCORPORATED ASSOCIATION OR ANY AGENCY OR POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THE STATE.

    2. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW, AN EMPLOYER SHALL PROVIDE REASONABLE PAID BREAK TIME OF AT LEAST FIFTEEN MINUTES, AND AT LEAST TWO SUCH BREAKS DURING ANY SIX HOUR PERIOD, DURING WORK HOURS FOR AN EMPLOYEE TO EXPRESS BREAST MILK FOR HER NURSING INFANT FOR AT LEAST TWO YEARS FOLLOWING CHILD BIRTH. THE EMPLOYER SHALL PROVIDE A PRIVATE ACCOMMODATION SUITABLE FOR THE PURPOSE OF EXPRESSING MILK, LOCATED IN CLOSE PROXIMITY TO THE WORK AREA, NOT INCLUDING A BATHROOM STALL OR STORAGE AREA. NO EMPLOYER SHALL PENALIZE OR DISCRIMINATE IN ANY WAY AGAINST AN EMPLOYEE WHO CHOOSES TO EXPRESS BREAST MILK IN THE WORK PLACE.

    3. AN EMPLOYER SHALL HAVE THE RIGHT TO REQUIRE VERIFICATION FROM A HEALTH CARE PROVIDER THAT AN EMPLOYEE IS EXPRESSING BREAST MILK FOR HER NURSING INFANT.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Legal Advice on Pumping in Workplace

    That sucks that you had to encounter those difficulties. I hate it when people assume you would be willing to pump or nurse in a bathroom.

    I probably wouldn't legally pursue the matter. I guess it depends on what you want to get out of it. You've currently got a locking door (even though you did it without approval) so there's not really anything more they can do for you as far as that goes. You could potentially help another pumping mother down the road by pushing for changes in your company's policy as far as providing a suitable place to pump. Maybe you could advocate for a designated pumping room. I don't know that that would be something you could acheive via legal action, though.

    Good luck to you whatever you decide. You definitely have a right to be upset about it.
    “We are not put on earth for ourselves, but are placed here for each other. If you are there always for others, then in time of need, someone will be there for you.”
    --Anonymous

  3. #3

    Default Re: Legal Advice on Pumping in Workplace

    I forgot to mention, my company is always on the Fortune 100 Best Companies to work for and always in the top on the Best Companies for Working Mothers. The whole reason I went to work for this company.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Legal Advice on Pumping in Workplace

    Did you print and show the law to the people who denied your request? If not, I'd probably start there. IMO it is important to advocate for yourself.
    I'm Wendi.
    Mom to:
    DD1 7/28/07 for 21 mos and weaned with
    &
    DD2 12/16/09

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Legal Advice on Pumping in Workplace

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*norasmommy View Post
    That sucks that you had to encounter those difficulties. I hate it when people assume you would be willing to pump or nurse in a bathroom.

    I probably wouldn't legally pursue the matter. I guess it depends on what you want to get out of it. You've currently got a locking door (even though you did it without approval) so there's not really anything more they can do for you as far as that goes. You could potentially help another pumping mother down the road by pushing for changes in your company's policy as far as providing a suitable place to pump. Maybe you could advocate for a designated pumping room. I don't know that that would be something you could acheive via legal action, though.

    Good luck to you whatever you decide. You definitely have a right to be upset about it.

    Molly

    Loving mama to JP (DS, 1/03 ~ nursed 6 mos), EL (DD1, 9/05 ~ nursed 4 yrs), EJ (DD2, 3/08 ~ nursed 3 yrs 9 mos), and
    JM (DD3, 6/12 ~ currently nursing), all born naturally
    Devoted wife to SAHD P, my hero
    A few of my favorite things that I've discovered on the forum: co-sleeping, baby-wearing, tandem nursing, baby-led solids, cloth diapering, APing, selective vaccination...the list goes on

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Legal Advice on Pumping in Workplace

    I say you should bring this to their attention. Not only that let them know they are risking their reputation of being best for moms.

    If that doesnt work, I would say you should pursue the lawsuit bec its clear according the the law that they should be providing you.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Legal Advice on Pumping in Workplace

    jerks!!!!!!!!!!

  8. #8

    Default Re: Legal Advice on Pumping in Workplace

    I understand wanting a lock on your door to prevent folks from barging in I really do I just don't think it's necessarily the definition of a private place to pump, and that you'd be let down if you pursued this legally. Do check with your lawyer if you want though.

    I, personally, don't think you could win a lawsuit, because your company is allowing you to use your office to pump in, which is private, they just have declined to expend funds to hire a locksmith to add a lock to your door. They may have suggested the handicapped bathroom stall, which is deplorable, but you did also have your private office to pump in in the meantime. You were the one who didn't feel that was enough. It's not that the bathroom was all they allowed you iykwim.

    You also now have a lock on your door, which makes your office even more private, and means that you are not hardshipped by their decision. Basically, you're not out anything...you aren't harmed. Does that make sense?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Legal Advice on Pumping in Workplace

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*babyys View Post
    If that doesnt work, I would say you should pursue the lawsuit bec its clear according the the law that they should be providing you.
    I wouldn't say it's exactly clear. The law states they are required to provide a private place. It doesn't specifically mention a lock. A lawyer might argue that the lock is necessary for privacy given the history of someone walking in on her, but another lawyer could argue that since it's not specifically mentioned it's not legally required.

    And what would she stand to gain from a lawsuit? A lock on the door? She's already got that. Financial compensation? Does anyone think that's necessary? A point made? Is it really worth it to make the point that way when there are other possible avenues to go down to make the same point? On the other hand it might create resentment toward her in the workplace and foster an attitude toward pumping that is even more negative than it is now.

    I just think there may be other, more productive means of improving company policy than a lawsuit.
    “We are not put on earth for ourselves, but are placed here for each other. If you are there always for others, then in time of need, someone will be there for you.”
    --Anonymous

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Legal Advice on Pumping in Workplace

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*nycmommymurrayhill View Post
    Hi! I just wanted to know if its worth pursuing Legal action against my employer regarding pumping at work. I live and work in NYC, where they passed a law in 2007 (Section 206-c, wording below).

    Here is a synopsys of what happened:

    Prior to Maternity leave, I requested a lock for my office door so I could pump. I never heard back from the Office Admin and when I did, a week before I returned she said that it would need to be approved, but I could use the handicap bathroom.

    After numerous emails with our HR person and Office Admin's Manager I was denied a lock (even with their knowledge of a co-worker walking in while I was pumping - I had a Do Not Distrub sign on my door and a chair to block the door from opening). She denied it because it would cost $300 to install the lock by a locksmith in NYC. However, before they realized I lived in NYC they approved the lock thinking I worked in an office where my company is headquartered in a different state.

    In the end, I wasn't offered any substitute office space for my pumping and I ended up having to spend 1 morning actually switching my door knob with a co-worker's door knob that had a lock. This was done without approval or knowledge.

    Would you pursue this?

    It just gets me so upset that people in this day and age would be so unsympathetic to a new mom who is pumping. What's even worst is that all people were female!


    =================================



    New York Labor Law Section 206-c, the Rights of Nursing Mothers to Express Breast Milk passed in 2007:

    Section 1. The labor law is amended by adding a new section 206-c to read as follows:

    S 206-C. RIGHT OF NURSING MOTHERS TO EXPRESS BREAST MILK.

    1. AS USED IN THIS SECTION "EMPLOYER" SHALL MEAN AN INDIVIDUAL, CORPORATION, PART- NERSHIP, LABOR ORGANIZATION, UNINCORPORATED ASSOCIATION OR ANY AGENCY OR POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THE STATE.

    2. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW, AN EMPLOYER SHALL PROVIDE REASONABLE PAID BREAK TIME OF AT LEAST FIFTEEN MINUTES, AND AT LEAST TWO SUCH BREAKS DURING ANY SIX HOUR PERIOD, DURING WORK HOURS FOR AN EMPLOYEE TO EXPRESS BREAST MILK FOR HER NURSING INFANT FOR AT LEAST TWO YEARS FOLLOWING CHILD BIRTH. THE EMPLOYER SHALL PROVIDE A PRIVATE ACCOMMODATION SUITABLE FOR THE PURPOSE OF EXPRESSING MILK, LOCATED IN CLOSE PROXIMITY TO THE WORK AREA, NOT INCLUDING A BATHROOM STALL OR STORAGE AREA. NO EMPLOYER SHALL PENALIZE OR DISCRIMINATE IN ANY WAY AGAINST AN EMPLOYEE WHO CHOOSES TO EXPRESS BREAST MILK IN THE WORK PLACE.

    3. AN EMPLOYER SHALL HAVE THE RIGHT TO REQUIRE VERIFICATION FROM A HEALTH CARE PROVIDER THAT AN EMPLOYEE IS EXPRESSING BREAST MILK FOR HER NURSING INFANT.
    Well, I think the word "private" and the part I bolded are key in your situation. The handicaped stall is insufficient, but your office with a door...that may or may not be sufficient to comply with the statute. I guess my point is that it's an uphill battle for what? What are your damages? What did you lose what a court could look at as a wrong against you, qualtifiably (sp?)

    Sorry to be a wet blanket, but I think it would be an expensive suit for possiblynothing. I would however draft a letter explaining the situation to the CEO and Director of HR for the record.
    Mommy to Maxwell 10-9-07 weaned with love (a party and a remote control monster truck) on his 4th birthday
    My Boy 3-16-10
    And my sweet pea Sam 2-12-11

    Watch Your Language

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