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Lactating police officer faces discrimination and retaliation

Mothers in California and across the country are protected at the federal level from workplace discrimination through the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Affordable Care Act and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. These areas of employment law provide unpaid leave for a woman having a baby, as well as requiring employers to provide a sanitary place for nursing, and reasonable accommodations for pregnant and nursing mothers. However, many women feel their bosses do not provide these accommodations, and they even face retaliation for complaining about the discrimination.

One example involves an exemplary police officer in another state, who went on 12 weeks unpaid maternity leave. When she returned to work, she expected to be able to pump breast milk during her breaks throughout her shift. However, her supervisor refused to make those accommodations for her. When she complained about having to express milk in a public locker room or bathroom, he told her she had to stop nursing her baby or quit her job.

The officer soon learned that her supervisor and others had not been happy about her decision to go on maternity leave. She began to experience discrimination, such as a demotion, a decrease in pay and a change to unpredictable shift work. When the officer requested temporary desk duty to avoid wearing a bullet-proof vest and risk interfering with lactation, the supervisor told her not to wear a vest at all. The officer eventually quit the job she loved in favor of nursing her child.

Fortunately for this officer, she was awarded $161,000 in a lawsuit against the city, and she plans to be a voice for working mothers. California women who face similar circumstances have rights protected by employment law. For assistance in defending those rights, many seek the advocacy of a compassionate and dedicated attorney.

Source: The Huffington Post, "This Cop Had The Audacity To Have A Baby. So Her Bosses Got Rid Of Her", Emily Peck, Sept. 16, 2017

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