Under federal law, since 2010, women returning from maternity leave who are breastfeeding, nursing parents – are entitled to a clean, private, non-restroom, non-bathroom space in which to express milk; to take a break and to lactate on a similar schedule to what your baby would be doing, nursing, if you were home, two or three times a day. Otherwise, it’s very painful, you can develop mastitis, it may interfere permanently with your ability to breastfeed, and it’s illegal.
There are at least five principle ways that you can be discriminated against at work based on your pregnancy.
This week’s the 40th anniversary of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act – the 1978 federal law designed and enacted to protect women who become pregnant while working, from being fired while pregnant and working.
Here’s one thing all pregnant working women in the United States now have in every State in the Union, and that’s the right not to be treated differently, not to experience hostility, backlash, a diminution, a degradation to the terms or the conditions or the privileges of your employment because of your pregnancy, because of your childbirth, or because of a related medical condition.
If you’re struggling with work-related, pregnancy related challenges while you’re working, just understand that it is illegal even if your employer doesn’t know it. And don’t give up, don’t despair.
Your company must have a conversation with you about your needs when you’re pregnant, and it has to “reasonably accommodate” you – that’s the phrase for having a little flexibility when you are pregnant.
The New York Times reviewed thousands of pages of court and public records and interviewed dozens of women, their lawyers and government officials. A clear pattern emerged. Many of the country’s largest and most prestigious companies still systematically sideline pregnant women. They pass them over for promotions and raises. They fire them when they complain.
if your company has at least 50 employees, you are covered for up to a year after your baby is born, you are permitted, and they are required to create, make this space for you to express milk and continue lactating during working hours. Unpaid time, but they can’t discriminate and they must permit you to do so. If your employer does not have 50 employees, approximately half of the states in the United States have their own lactation laws such as in New York, and Connecticut, where I practice law – both of those laws go farther than the federal law in protecting women who are lactating.
Pregnancy discrimination in the workplace is illegal, but it happens all the time. So you need to be proactive. It’s not as if your company’s gonna grow a heart, all of a sudden.
If your company doesn’t correct what they are doing that is discriminatory toward you as a result of your pregnancy, which is inseparable from who you are as a woman obviously, you wanna be in a position where they would have to make you happy in the separation. If you have to get a divorce from your company, you want to be able to leave with your head held high, and your shoulders squared.