Breastfeeding discrimination lawsuits have grown by 800% in just a decade.
For many women, the concept of breastfeeding discrimination may seem unreal until it hits you.
Picture this: It’s 7am in the morning and you’re rushing to work after having less than three hours of sleep due to your new-born.
9am, your phone’s alarm went off with the note “breast pump” – here comes the tricky part – the joy to find an empty room to pump breast milk within 10 minutes' time and worrying someone may accidentally barge in.
This is the day-to-day life of many working moms.
According to a recent survey by Slater and Gordon, 2,000 women who have breastfed in the past five years, more than half have had to pump in an unsuitable place — including the staff room, their car, or at their desk.
As a result, nearly a third of respondents said they have experienced problems while trying to express, including issues with their supply, infections, and anxiety.
However, working moms are not settling with this.
Paramedic Carrie Clark, for example, recently won a breast-pumping discrimination case after she was ridiculed, singled out to perform drills and received mocking comments from her male coworkers when she complained about the inadequate breastfeeding accommodations at her workplace.
Clark is not fighting a lonesome battle – breastfeeding discrimination lawsuits have grown rapidly in recent years, by 800% in just a decade, according to our study from the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California, Hastings Law.
In light of the needs of nursing parents and the myriad health benefits to both the mother and child, Congress passed the Break Time for Nursing Mothers law in 2010.
However, some challenge the effectiveness of the law – especially given how some employers in male-dominated sectors don’t comply with this law.
This problem is evident in Clark’s case, who works as a paramedic at the City of Tuscon Fire Department
Moreover, not all work environments are legally obliged to comply under federal law. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees may argue that allowing break times for breastfeeding parents poses “undue hardships” within the company, and can thereby be exempt.
The enormous benefits of breastfeeding have long been triumphed. Not only does it reduce the risk of developing type-2 diabetes as well as breast and ovarian cancers, it also helps to increase metabolism, and boost quicker postpartum healing.
The breastfeeding benefits for babies are plentiful, too, and include reduced risk of disease and illness, reduced risk of childhood obesity, enhanced cognitive function, and defense against certain types of cancers, including lymphoma and leukemia, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.