Women Fired for Pumping Breast Milk
An Ohio court rules against new mom LaNisa Allen who took “unauthorized” breaks to pump milk for her baby, while a California woman is awarded damages after being fired for the same thing.
-Julie Ryan Evans
If you’re pregnant, a new mom or even just in mere possession of a womb, you can’t escape the message that “breast is best.” Everyone from your doctor to your father-in-law to the World Health Organization will impress upon you the benefits of breast milk. But when it comes time to do what you need to actually produce the magical elixir … you get fired?
That’s what happened to LaNisa Allen of West Chester, Ohio, in the “Got Milk? Get Fired” case when she took an “unauthorized” break to express milk for her son who was 5 months old at the time. While there’s a state law prohibiting discrimination against pregnant women that Allen cited in her lawsuit against her then-employer – Totes/Isotoner – the Ohio State Supreme Court recently ruled that it doesn’t apply to new mothers if they take unauthorized breaks … even if it’s to provide food for their child.
As someone who exclusively pumped for four months with my first child, and gave up in defeat after a couple of months breastfeeding my second because it was SO HARD, I am outraged that an employer would respond in this manner. No more Isotoner gloves will be gracing my hands, that’s for sure. (Yes, I do live in Florida, and no, I don’t wear gloves anyway, but it’s the principle here.)