New mothers who are breastfeeding and return to work may need to pump and store breast milk during the workday. Employers that prohibit necessary lactation breaks or who retaliate against women for trying to take breaks may violate the sex discrimination provisions of Title VII.
Recent case: Serene, a medical assistant at the Temple Lung Center at Oaks, took FMLA leave when she gave birth. When she returned to work, she told her supervisor and the office manager that she would have to take breaks during the day to express milk. Because there was no private area to do so, and because she was frequently interrupted when taking breaks to pump, she used her car. After telling her co-worker she was taking a pump break, she went to her car.
But a doctor was looking for Serene and wasn't able to find her. When she got back from the parking lot, the employer fired her.
Serene sued, alleging sex discrimination. The employer argued since she hadn't told a supervisor about the break, she hadn't been fired for taking the break, but for being...