Returning to work after you have a baby is such a difficult transition. Many women return to work much sooner than they'd like, because they don't have adequate maternity leave or need to get back to pulling in an income to support their growing families. Returning to work becomes even more difficult if you're breastfeeding your new little one. Spending time away from your baby means you need to pump on a regular schedule to maintain your supply and keep a big enough stash for your sweet babe to eat while you're away. Federal law dictates that employees be allowed to take sufficient pumping breaks, and that they have a clean, private area in which to pump on their breaks. But sadly, we know that many employers don't make these allowances for their employees, and they have to take their cases to the courts. A new mom in Idaho was denied pumping breaks by her boss for an absolutely ridiculous reason, but when she sued her employer, a judge didn't see things her way.
Randi Allred returned to her job as an assistant manager at a Home Depot in Idaho after giving birth to her baby. When she returned to work, her doctor recommended she ask to not be scheduled for more than 5 days in a row, and that she not be required to lift more than 20 pounds. Her boss, Josh Hazlett, rejected her accommodations. But it got worse - when Allred requested adequate unpaid break time to pump breast milk for her baby (who was allergic to dairy and soy, two of the main ingredients in formula), Hazlett also denied that request. He said that her pumping was just a "diet plan to lose weight." Infuriating.
Allred sued her employer and boss, citing discrimination. But last month, a federal judge dismissed her lawsuit, despite the fact that the judge found sufficient evidence that discrimination has occurred. The judge said that because Allred rejected an offer from human resources and her district manager to work something out with Hazlett and also rejected an offer to transfer to another store, the judge disagreed that she was constructively discharged.
The judge also said that since Allread was allowed to pump once every 12 hours at work, it was sufficient (ha!). Allred's attorney, Shelly Cozakos, filed a motion for reconsideration last week, saying that no reasonable nursing mother would voluntarily stay in a job that refused to allow accommodations for her nursing. She also argued that not being allowed to pump more than once during her shift was negatively affecting her milk supply.
Hopefully, the motion for reconsideration is heard by a judge who knows what they're talking about, and Randi Allred wins her case.