Saturday, August 29, 2009

Court supports firing of woman for pumping breast milk at work  


LaNisa Allen was terminated from her job after she took "unauthorized" breaks to pump breast milk. As a result, she sued her former employers, claiming that the company violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Unfortunately, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled 7 to 2 that she was rightly terminated for taking extra breaks. But in his dissenting opinion, Justice Paul E. Pfeifer wrote:

The appellate court does not explain why Allen's trips to the restroom outside scheduled break times were different from the restroom trips other employees made outside scheduled break times. There is no evidence in the record about any limit on the length of unscheduled restroom breaks and no evidence that employees had to seek permission from a supervisor to take an unscheduled restroom break. There is evidence only that unscheduled bathroom breaks were allowed and that LaNisa Allen was fired for taking them. What made her breaks different?

New mothers simply have to pump breast milk if they choose to breastfeed their newborn(s). If a workplace can allow bathroom and cigarette breaks, they certainly can allow this. Ohio needs to launch the same initiative that Vermont has, which requires workplaces to provide private and comfortable accommodations for new mothers to pump breast milk. It's upsetting that women have to go through an extensive legal process to gain a right they should have in the first place.

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3 comments: to “ Court supports firing of woman for pumping breast milk at work

  • August 30, 2009 at 6:14 PM  

    This is a great site that you have here. I have a site myself where anyone can freely express their opinions on controversial debate topics.

    Please check out my site when you get the chance, and if you can provide us with some insight, feel free, because is where anyone can have their voice heard, 24/7.

  • August 31, 2009 at 9:13 AM  

    i am no expert but i cant imagine that a woman needs to pump breast milk with no notice.

    if a smoker can wait an hour or two for a cigarette, whats the issue with a woman waiting to pump her breast milk?

    what i got from this article was a comparison of breast pumping to explosive diarrhea. in other words, something that can wait till break time and something that cannot.

    if it is truly a situation where you cant wait the hour until your next scheduled break, take the maternity leave and quit bitching.

  • April 5, 2010 at 11:35 PM  

    In my opinion, Ms Allen should have explained her situation clearly before taking a break. Although restroom break does not require any permission, her breaks are frequent, thus a prior explanation would avoid all the misunderstandings. I'm sure that they would work something out because pumping breast milk is a common thing.

    However, I don't think that she should be FIRED, not to that extend. And it's pretty sad that the court does not support her. I wish the judge could feel how heavy it is to have milk filled breasts, dripping. Then maybe he would consider. Or maybe he's just being ignorant.