Pregnancy discrimination is a widespread issue. Although federal law and Wisconsin state law prohibit sex-based discrimination and discrimination based on medical conditions, expectant mothers often have to deal with mistreatment from their employers.
The sad truth is that such discrimination does not end when someone has a baby. The company may continue discriminating against a new mother when she returns to work. Lactation discrimination can negatively affect the careers of breastfeeding mothers or force them to choose between going back to work and doing what they think is best for their child.
What does lactation discrimination involve?
Wisconsin state law protects the right of a lactating or breastfeeding mother to nurse her child in any public space where she has the legal right to be. Federal law also requires that employers accommodate breastfeeding mothers returning to work after giving birth.
The accommodations you should expect include adequate breaks at appropriate intervals to express milk or to meet with your infant and nurse them. The company can request that you use your existing breaks, like your meal break, for nursing or pumping, but they should approve additional breaks as necessary for you to express adequate milk and maintain your supply.
Additionally, the company should provide you with a private space that is not a bathroom in which you can nurse or use a breast pump. All too often, companies simply refuse to give workers breaks or to provide them with a private space where they can nurse or pump without embarrassment or distraction. Some companies agree to accommodate a breastfeeding mother and then quickly find reasons to discipline her and possibly terminate her from the company.
Fighting back isn’t just for you
If your employer has violated your rights as a new mother, you can take action to protect yourself and other women who will work at the company later. Some women find that by retaining an attorney and approaching their employer, they can finally get the accommodations they need. Other times, especially if the company has already terminated a new mother, pursuing a discrimination lawsuit may be necessary.
Fighting back against pregnancy and lactation discrimination will benefit you as the victim of such misconduct and future mothers who may work for the company later. Working with an experienced lawyer who advocates for victims of workplace discrimination could help you hold your employer accountable. Contact Alan C. Olsen & Associates for help here on our website or by calling 262-785-9606.