Nursing Mothers in the Workplace in Kansas City
Motherhood is a tough job on its own, and being a nursing mother and a working mother is a lot to have on your plate without proper support from your workplace. Many people who give birth while employed encounter discrimination. While being a nursing mother comes with its own responsibilities, you are within your rights to expect your employer to accommodate aspects of this new life event.
There is no legitimate justification for mistreating an employee who is nursing their child. If you are a nursing mother in the workplace, you are entitled to certain protections under state and federal laws. If you believe your employer is discriminating against you due to your status as a nursing mother, consult a pregnancy discrimination lawyer to evaluate your case.
Do Nursing Mothers Have the Right to Breastfeed in the Workplace?
In terms of labor rights, most nursing mothers are entitled to breastfeeding support at work under Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that entitles most workers to certain labor rights such as a federal minimum hourly rate and required overtime pay when employees work more than 40 hours per week. Section 7 of the FLSA is the federal Break Time for Nursing Mothers law.
For one year following the child’s birth, the federal Break Time for Nursing Mothers Act requires most employers to give adequate break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child each time the employee needs to express the milk. Employers must also provide a location, other than a bathroom, where an employee can express breast milk hidden from view and free from intrusion by coworkers and the public.
What Constitutes an Acceptable Breastfeeding Space at Work?
Employers are not expected to maintain a room permanently dedicated to breastfeeding mothers. An area can be temporarily utilized for pumping if:
- It is large enough to accommodate a chair and a flat surface for pumping equipment.
- It can be secured or otherwise kept private.
- It is not a bathroom.
- It is safe and sanitary.
- It has a light.
Many workplaces offer these lactation facilities to nursing women at work, regardless of whether or not she is covered under the FLSA.
Can I Be Paid for Time Spent Pumping or Expressing Milk at Work?
Employers are not legally required to compensate women for breaks to express milk. For workers covered under the FLSA, your employer must provide you with the break time you need to express milk, but this is typically unpaid. You can only be compensated for this time if your workplace already provides paid breaks.
The law states that if all employees are given paid breaks, those breaks must be paid even if nursing mothers utilize them to pump at work. If you require more time beyond the regular paid break time, your employer may refuse to compensate you for it.
What Should Nursing Mothers Do If They’re Not Getting Breastfeeding Support at Work?
FLSA requires most employers to provide reasonable break time and space for breastfeeding employees to express milk at work. If you and your employer are covered under FLSA, but your employer is not providing the break time or private lactation space you are entitled to, you can talk to your human resources manager or supervisor.
If no progress is made after going through the official channels at your workplace, you can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor. Continued inaction may be considered discrimination, in which case you might be able to take legal action.
Consult a Skilled Kansas City Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer
Employers should respect your time and effort as a nursing mother in the workplace. Nursing mothers have rights in the workplace, and those rights need to be maintained. Taking legal action against an employer is never easy, but it can be a lot easier with the right legal support. If your employer is making it difficult for you to nurse or if they are discriminating against you for needing to nurse, you may be within your rights to take legal action against them.
With the support of the lawyers at Hollis Law Firm, you can be empowered to fight against pregnancy discrimination. Our Kansas City lawyers know how important it is for a mother to be there for her child. We will fight for your rights as a nursing mother in the workplace. Call us now at (800) 701-3672 or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation.
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