This company and this state that just don’t have their priorities straight.
An Ohio woman was fired for taking unauthorized breaks for pumping breast milk. She sued, stating that the firing was sexual discrimination. Here’s a story on the matter.
While the Ohio supreme court ruled against her, it was a close call. One judge, Justice Paul E. Pfeifer, disagreed with the ruling, and 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?”
I agree. A milk pumping break is no different than a bathroom break.
Here in Colorado, we have a law that requires any employer of more than two employees to provide reasonable break time for nursing mothers to pump breast milk, as well as a private place to do it that isn’t a bathroom stall. We have enacted this law because it is best for public health and workplace efficiency. Mothers who nurse their children miss less work because their children do not get sick as often. The mothers also get sick less often, they are less likely to suffer from post partum depression and some studies suggest that nursing reduces your chances of developing breast cancer. Children who are nursed, in addition to getting sick less often, are less likely to become obese, develop allergies, get cavaties, are less picky eaters (and therefore more likely to eat healthy as adults). Breastmilk is also cheaper than formula, which frees up mothers to spend money on more important things, such as better health care, healthier foods, better education for her child, etc.
Mothers who nurse and children who drink breast milk are healthier. This equals less work missed by the mother, less school missed by the child later in life, and less of a burden on our health care system. Both mother and child are able to be more productive members of society and more productive workers in the long run. Encouraging mothers to nurse creates better citizens and making it easier for them to continue nursing after going back to work makes their lives and jobs happier and easier, meaning they will be more productive.
It is in our nations best interest to encourage mothers to nurse and to do what it takes to make it easy for them. Apparently the State of Ohio and the company this woman worked for (Isotoner) were too short sighted to see that.
Many mother’s groups are calling for a boycott of Isotoner and I agree. I don’t buy their products anyhow, but I certainly never will now.