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Breastfeeding Discrimination

Breastfeeding is one of the most beneficial influences on the growth of a child as it does more than provide vital nutrition but strengthens the bond with the mother. But breastfeeding a child can pose some unfortunate challenges in the workplace and, while there have been many employment laws enacted to protect mothers from harassment and discrimination, some employers may take actions that are illegal to restrict or deny a mother’s right to feed her child in this environment.

If you believe you have been the victim of discrimination for the merely attempting to give your child the nourishment he or she requires, you have a right to file a claim against your employer for damages and compensation that you may be entitled to collect as a result of these actions. But what you should never do is file such a claim or negotiate a settlement with your employer on your own. You would be doing yourself a grave disservice. You are not well-versed in the employment laws yet your employer will have a team of attorneys and insurance adjusters who know the laws backward and forward. They are only interested in one thing: ensuring that your employer escapes all liability in this mater and you are left with little or no compensation whatsoever.

Your employer has attorneys working hard to win this case, you should be afforded the same luxury and at the Sasooness Law Group our legal experts have litigated, negotiated, and won cases like these for decades. Let us put our expertise and experience to work for you and get you the compensation that you deserve for the injustices that have been done.

Discrimination and Harassment in the Workplace

In the state of California there are laws in place prohibiting employers with five or more employees on staff from discriminating against employees due to their sex. In the case of breastfeeding discrimination, the term “sex” includes breastfeeding or any medical condition related to the act of breastfeeding. Therefore, if you work for an employer who has five or more employees, he or she is not permitted to discriminate against you because you wish to breastfeed your child.
Discrimination is just one part of the equation, harassment is another. The laws in place barring harassment of an employee for any cause directly or indirectly related to breastfeeding  are far more broad and wide-ranging than those barring discrimination. These laws are in place regardless of the size of the company in which you work or whether or not the subject of this harassment is actually an employee or works as a freelancer or some other part-time capacity.
These laws are in place to prevent women from being treated inappropriately or unfairly simply due to their intention to breastfeed a child, take a lactation break, or pump breast milk. In the case of the latter, these laws apply to whether a woman is at home or at work.

Breastfeeding in the Workplace

As per California law, a mother has the right to breastfeed her child in any location she pleases, whether it’s in public or in private. However there are some stipulations in place that govern that mother’s ability to exercise her rights under the law. The mother and her child must have permission to be in the location where they plan to breastfeed and that location must be anywhere other than a private home or residence of someone else. The owner of that residence may give permission to the mother but they must obtain it first.
For workplace environments, an employer that permits children on-site or offers daycare services must permit the employee to use lactation breaks for breastfeeding. But one very important thing to consider here is that no employer is legally obligated to allow children in the workplace or to provide daycare services on-site. As a result, the right to breastfeed a child at work comes with some limitations.
In addition, there is currently some gray area in the courts as to the right to breastfeed in public and how it relates to the right to take lactation breaks. The law suggests that breastfeeding is a right for a mother who brings her child to her workplace, but it is not explicitly specific in its indication.

Suitable Breastfeeding Accommodations

Under California law, an employer must take every reasonable precaution to provide mothers with a private area where she may breastfeed her child. The office bathroom is NOT a suitable place under these stipulations and if your employer is forcing you to take your child into a toilet stall to feed, you could be a victim of breastfeeding discrimination or harassment.
Suitable accommodations must include a safe and private area where a mother may feed her child and still serve the purposes of her employment position. Lactation is included under these laws and an employer must comply by offering suitable accommodations for lactation-related requirements which may necessitate a transfer of the employee to a position that is less hazardous or strenuous, if such a determination can be identified with that employee’s current position.
No employer may retaliate against any employee who requests suitable accommodations for pregnancy-related medical conditions. Whether or not the request is granted or denied, the employer may not dismiss that employee or unfairly discriminate or harass that employee as a result of the request.  If you believe your employer has treated you in a negative manner prior to or after submitting such a request for suitable accommodations under the law, you can file a claim for damages against that employer as a means to protect your rights.

Protecting Your Rights

If you have been discriminated against you may still refrain from protecting your rights. You might feel  embarrassed or ashamed to be a victim of this form of discrimination or harassment. Perhaps you are afraid of reprisal from your employer or you are concerned that you do not have the financial resources to fight for your rights. Many victims refuse to file a claim because they don’t know how to go about initiating one.
You have every right to file a claim without fear. If you don’t do it, who else will? How many other women in your company have experienced or are currently experiencing similar discrimination? You don’t need to go it alone, you have the Sasooness Law Group on your side to assist you in every step of the process and protect you from reprisal or retaliation from your employer while fighting to get you a the maximum compensation to which you are entitled.




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