The myriad benefits of breast milk are well-documented. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more and more American mothers are choosing to breastfeed their newborns. The CDC additionally maintains, however, that only 49 percent of those same babies will be breastfed at six-months-old. Many mothers may opt to wean at the conclusion of their maternity leave, but there are protections in place for breastfeeding workers.
Breastfeeding at Work
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), women employed at companies with a workforce of 50 or more must be provided time and space – other than a restroom – to express their breast milk in the workplace. The FLSA is applicable for only one year after a child’s birth. Fortunately, where federal law falls short, local and state law have stepped in to fill the void.
The Pennsylvania Freedom to Breastfeed Act allows a mother to nurse her child anywhere, at any time, where mother and baby would otherwise be permitted present. The act of breastfeeding cannot be deemed a nuisance, lewd, or an act of indecent exposure, no matter how much of a mother’s breast is exposed. Breastfeeding women in Philadelphia receive similar protection pursuant to the Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance, which bars the practice of segregating or prohibiting nursing mothers within any public accommodation. The local statute also requires Philadelphia employers to accommodate breastfeeding employees by providing break time – paid and unpaid – for expressing milk in a private, sanitary place.
The end of maternity leave is a daunting time for most new moms. A return to work does not need to signal the end of the breastfeeding relationship, however, Philadelphia employment lawyers say. When an employer violates the FLSA, the Freedom to Breastfeed Act or the Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance, they can and should be held accountable in court.
Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Represent Nursing Mothers
If you or a loved one was denied their right to breastfeed in public, or express milk while at work, you may be entitled to compensation. For over 40 years, the Philadelphia employment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates have represented workers who have been treated unfairly. Call 215-569-1999 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation in our Philadelphia offices, where we serve clients throughout Southeast Pennsylvania as well as New Jersey and New York.