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Breastfeeding Support in the Workplace Lawsuit Attorney

Breastfeeding has many nutritional and emotional benefits for babies during the first year of their lives. According to the Center for Disease Control, babies that are breastfed have lower rates of asthma, obesity, and type 1 diabetes, and are less prone to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). For mothers, breastfeeding can lower their risk for type 2 diabetes, ovarian cancer, breast cancer, and high blood pressure. These benefits have been known for many years, but women of past generations were forced to choose between going to work and feeding their baby. Fortunately, the laws have changed regarding lactation accommodations in the workplace, with California being a forerunner in the rights of breastfeeding employees.

However, many women still face harassment and retaliation when they try to assert their right to breastfeeding accommodations. If you’ve been fighting for lactation support at your workplace, you are probably searching for answers to the following questions:

  • As a breastfeeding mother, what are my rights in the workplace?
  • What steps do I take if I was terminated after filing a complaint with HR for lack of breastfeeding breaks or facilities?
  • How much can I receive from a breastfeeding discrimination lawsuit?
  • How long does it take for these cases to settle?

Legal actions are available to help you recover damages as a result of your employer’s actions. However, these cases are challenging to win without help from a failure to provide accommodations for breastfeeding at work lawyer. To learn more about your workplace rights as a nursing mother, contact the lawyers of Normandie right away.

California Laws for Lactation Accommodations in the Workplace

According to the California Department of Industrial Relations (CDIR), employers are required to provide lactation breaks so that working mothers can express their breast milk. Additionally, they must set up an appropriate room or designated area that meets the following conditions:

“…your employer must provide you with the use of a room or other location, other than a bathroom, in close proximity to your work area, shielded from view, and free from intrusion while you are expressing milk in private.”

The CDIR has additional requirements for the room or space that’s designated for lactation purposes:

  • The space or room must be “safe, clean, and free from hazardous materials.”
  • The room must have access to electricity and sufficient room for the worker to sit down while pumping milk.
  • The room / space must have a surface for the placement of bottles, breast pumps, and other supplies. 
  • The worker must have access to electricity and enough room to sit comfortably.  
  • There must be a sink with running water inside the room, or in close proximity to the room.
  • The employer must provide a fridge or cooler for the purpose of storing breast milk.  

Breastfeeding mothers must also be given break times throughout the day, known as “lactation breaks.” There’s no specific rule on the frequency or duration of these breaks, so most employers refer to recommendations from the worker’s pediatrician. If possible, lactation breaks should be scheduled around the employee’s normal break and meal times, but some jobs do not provide regularly scheduled breaks. In that case, the employer is still required to provide break times and accommodations specifically for lactation purposes.

For more information on breastfeeding laws in the workplace, contact our office and schedule a free consultation. Our lawyers can help you if you are facing discrimination or retaliation from your employer, but you must act quickly to protect your right to monetary compensation.

What do I do if I was Denied my Right for Accommodations for Breastfeeding in the Workplace?

If you are a nursing mother who is being denied lactation time and facilities by your employer, make sure to speak with your Human Resources department right away. You are legally entitled to breastfeeding breaks and facilities, and most HR managers are fully aware of this. They should step in and address the issue with your supervisor and co-workers, and ensure that a proper schedule and space is set up for your lactation needs.

Sadly, some HR administrators fail to take the appropriate measures, thereby putting the employee in a vulnerable situation. Lack of action by HR enables bad conduct from employers, who often demote or fire the employee for speaking up. So what can you do if your employer retaliates against you for asserting your right to breastfeeding accommodations?

What are my Rights if I was Fired after filing a Complaint for Lack of Lactating Support in the Workplace?

Have you been demoted or fired after complaining to HR about your company’s lack of support for breastfeeding mothers? This is a clear violation of California’s labor laws, and you have several options if you are in this situation:

  • File a wage claim through the CDIR website to request one hour of pay for each violation of breastfeeding rights in the workplace.
  • For retaliation from your employer, go to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing website and file a retaliation / discrimination complaint.
  • Call or visit your local Bureau of Field Enforcement office and file a labor law violation report. If your employer is found to be in violation of the state’s breastfeeding in the workplace policy, they may be ordered to pay $100 for each day you were denied lactation time or accommodations.
  • Find an attorney and file a lawsuit for lost wages, emotional distress, and other damages.

To find out which of these options are in your best interest, contact our office and speak to a California workplace discrimination lawyer. You must seek legal advice right away, since labor agency claims have tight deadlines. You will also need to consider the amount of time you have for filing a lawsuit (statute of limitations) if you can’t negotiate a settlement with your employer. To learn more about your rights and get started on a claim for damages, contact Normandie Law Firm as soon as you can.

Average Value of a Breastfeeding in the Workplace Lawsuit

Juries are beginning to recognize a woman’s right to lactation accommodations in the workplace, and the harm that mothers and babies can suffer when employers refuse to comply with state laws. It’s difficult to come up with an average value of these cases, but the following verdicts should provide you with hope and inspiration:

  • A New Jersey plaintiff was fired after she retuned from maternity leave and asked for breastfeeding accommodations. The employer retaliated by excluding her from meetings and projects. After the plaintiff declined to go on a 2-week overseas trip due to her infant’s needs, she was fired. The case was eventually settled for $195,000.
  • A nursing mom in Texas sued for back pay and other losses after she resigned from her job. Though she wasn’t fired, the agency overhearing her case agreed that she was forced to quit due to her company’s refusal to provide adequate time and facilities for pumping milk. The agency ordered the company to pay her $22,000.
  • After 5 years, an Arizona firefighter received $3.8 million through a jury verdict. The mother was subjected to various forms of discrimination, including being told by her HR manger that her “excessive” lactation breaks meant she was “not fit for the duty.” The plaintiff suffered emotionally and had problems producing enough milk for her baby.
  • A Delaware KFC was ordered to compensate an assistant manager, who was denied an appropriate room for pumping breast milk. She was harassed by co-workers for taking lactation breaks and was eventually demoted to shift supervisor. The plaintiff was awarded $25,000 in economic damages and $1.5 million in punitive damages.

Please bear in mind that we provide these examples for general purposes only. For an approximate value of your own case, give us a call and speak to a lawyer with experience in breastfeeding in the workplace lawsuits.

Average Length of Time to Settle a Breastfeeding Discrimination Lawsuit

The duration of a breastfeeding discrimination case can be anywhere from a few months to a few years. Frankly, it depends on the number of actions that we will need to take in order for you to receive compensation. Workplace claims have to start at the state level, typically with a wage and/or retaliation complaint with the appropriate agency. Once a complaint is filed, that may be enough for your employer to take you seriously and make a settlement offer. The first offer is usually insufficient, which means you will negotiate back and forth for a fair amount of compensation. If you reach an agreement before the hearing date, your claim should be settled within the first 6 months of your complaint.

If you can’t come to an agreement, you will have to wait for a hearing with the Labor Commissioner’s Office. Hearings are supposed to happen within 120 days of your complaint. Unfortunately, it may be longer before you are scheduled for a hearing due to the excessive case load that the agency is currently dealing with. We know for a fact that the Labor Commission is still dealing with cases that were filed at the height of the COVID pandemic, when they were struggling with staff shortages and insufficient technology. Many claimants give into the pressure during this time and agree to a low settlement.

Whether or not you agree to a settlement is always up to you, but you should make an informed decision after speaking to an attorney. Your lawyer can also represent you at the state hearing and give you the best possible chance against your employer. And if you can’t settle your case at the hearing, your attorney will start the lawsuit process and prepare for the possibility of a trial. However, there’s a good chance of negotiating a settlement even at this point, so it’s unlikely your case will go to trial. But if it does, it may take 2 or more years from the date of your initial complaint before you are compensated for your losses.

Contact a Breastfeeding in the Workplace Lawyer

The choice between motherhood and a fulfilling career should not be a decision women have to make nowadays. Yet, many working mothers are forced out of their jobs or subjected to discrimination simply for asserting their right to breastfeed their children. Failing to accommodate breastfeeding mothers in the workplace is unacceptable to us, and we will fight aggressively to uphold your rights if you are facing retaliation from your employer.

We know that the idea of a lawsuit is scary, but breastfeeding discrimination verdicts all over the country are proof that such cases have merit. The key is having skilled legal representation from an attorney that will fight tirelessly on your behalf. That’s what we can promise you when you work with the lawyers of Normandie. Another promise is our Zero fee guarantee, which means you pay us nothing upfront for any of our services. The only way we get paid is if we win your case, and if we lose, you will not have to pay us a single penny.

We are committed to you every step of the way and will not rest until you receive the compensation you deserve. If you’re a mother whose breastfeeding in the workplace rights were violated, contact our office and schedule a free consultation.

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