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Women denied the right to pump file discrimination claims

The idea that all women stay at home and do not return to work post pregnancy has become outdated. More women than ever are going back to the work force to help provide for the family. Women in Texas are increasingly looking toward taking a more natural approach to health with their children, and one of those ways is by breastfeeding. However, this parental act of love is now becoming a discrimination nightmare in some places of employment.

Under the Affordable Care Act, women are to be provided with a clean and private space to breastfeed upon request. This includes allowing them adequate break time to do so. Prior to this law, a woman could lose her job or be denied the ability to pump. However, just because the law says that it is required does not mean that all places of employment are abiding by it.

In some instances, women have been fired for requesting to pump milk on the job. Others have been denied a reasonable accommodation and given something far less sanitary. There have even been cases in which women were terminated for taking the breaks necessary to breastfeed.

A recent lawsuit involved a woman who lost her job because she had asked to pump at work. The judge denied her claim, saying that her desire to breastfeed was not a medical condition of being pregnant or having a child and hence did not protect her under pregnancy discrimination. That ruling was eventually unanimously overturned in favor of the mother.

Women have the right to breastfeed their children in the workplace and should be provided a reasonable accommodation. If the needs are not met or if the request is denied, a mother can search applicable laws about her rights and information on filing a claim. A Texas woman who suffers discrimination in this matter may be awarded compensation, reinstatement or lost wages based upon her individual case.

Source: witn.com, Pumped Up: Breastfeeding Mothers Fight For Rights At Work, No author, Jan. 11, 2014

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