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6/20/05



  

Breastfeeding And The Workplace

One concern many new mothers experience when they return to work is that they will not be able to continue to breastfeed their baby.  While returning to work after having a child requires many sacrifices, breastfeeding does not have to be one of them.  California law requires employers to accommodate a new motherís desire to breastfeed their baby.   

The full text of this law is found in California Labor Code section 1030-1033.  Unlike Family and Medical Leave, this California law applies to all employers regardless of size and protects all employees regardless of the length of time they have worked for a particular employer.

Essentially this law gives you the choice of whether or not you want to continue to breastfeed your child after you return to work.  If you choose to continue to breastfeed, your employer must accommodate this desire.  This means your employer needs to make a reasonable effort to provide you with the use of a room or other private space, NOT a toilet stall, to express your breast milk in private.  It is important to note that your employer can use this room for other purposes when it is not needed for breastfeeding. 

If you choose to take advantage of this law, you want to ensure that you are fully protected.  To do this, you should submit a signed and dated request to your employer and be sure to keep a copy for yourself.  With few exceptions, employers who fail to accommodate you may be subject to a civil penalty of $100 for each violation.  If you are working full-time, these violations can add up quickly.

In addition, your employer can not take any adverse action against you for utilizing this law.  If they do, they may be liable for retaliation. 

More information on this and other laws relating to pregnancy, family, and work can be found at www.pregnancylawyer.com or by contacting attorney Sarah B. Schlehr directly at (310) 492-5757. 

This Belly Scoop has been sponsored by Ms. Pregnancy Lawyer, Sarah B. Schlehr!

     


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