A new mother faces many new changes, both at home and at work. Just coming back to work is a challenge. When a nursing employee does return to work, she should be welcomed and protected. While at work, the employee has the right to accommodation for lactation purposes. Accommodations include reasonable time for an employee to take a break to express milk, protected by California Labor Code section 1030. At a minimum, the employee should receive the same ten-minute rest break that non-exempt employees receive. She may also receive additional, unpaid breaks to pump breast milk. Accommodations may also include an employer using reasonable efforts to provide an employee the use of private space, other than a toilet stall, to express milk, protected under California Labor Code section 1031. The private space must be safe and clean and contain an area to sit and to place the breast pump.
Employers throughout California often ignore or do not understand their obligations to employees who are nursing. They fail to adopt an employee policy, in writing, regarding lactation accommodation. They also deny accommodation to employees who need them. When a Diamond Bar resident was forced by her employer to pump her breast milk in a public restroom, she hired employment lawyer Jesse Singh to file a suit against her employer in Orange County, California. In the public lawsuit, it was discovered that the employer refused to grant the employee’s reasonable lactation accommodation request. She was forced to pump her breast milk in a public restroom where, on multiple occasions, the equipment and the milk became contaminated. If you are an employee who was denied lactation rights or breaks or an employer without a lawful written accommodation policy, contact our Brea law office today.Labor Attorney Jesse Singh Protects Employees Against Retaliation for Nursing Employees
Not all employers have the same duty to provide lactation accommodations. California and federal law require an employer with 50 or more employees to provide a lactation break. A California employer with less than 50 employers may not have to provide a lactation break if doing so would “seriously disrupt” its business. To show serious disruption to a business, the employer will need to prove more than inconvenience or a minor financial hardship. There will likely need to be significant difficulty or expense to avoid providing lactation breaks.
If an employee in Los Angeles or Orange County is not provided a lactation break when she is entitled to it, the employer may be exposed to serious penalties and damages. The employer may be subject to a civil citation of $100 per violation, under California Labor Code section 1197.1. The employee may file a retaliation complaint with the Labor Commissioner in Santa Ana, Long Beach, or another branch in California. The employee may also file a civil lawsuit against the employer for sexual discrimination, pregnancy disability discrimination, or some other violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.
Contact labor and employment lawyer Jesse Singh to schedule a free consultation.