New Protection for Nursing Moms

6 Aug

Laquer, Urban, Clifford & Hodge, LLP, advises both organizations and individuals on employment and labor litigation issues in California and other states. Among other areas of focus, Laquer, Urban, Clifford & Hodge also practices in real estate and Taft-Hartley trust funds.

While California law has long protected against employment discrimination on the basis of sex, 2013 brought important new changes for women employees in the state. Now, breastfeeding and related medical conditions are protected under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). This new mandate builds on existing legislation requiring California employers to provide space for mothers to pump milk and adequate break time for expressing breast milk.

For nursing mothers, the new legislation makes them a “protected class of persons.” This means they are protected against all kinds of employment discrimination, including changes in terms of employment or unlawful termination, as a result of their breastfeeding status. Women’s advocates have praised the new mandate as a breakthrough for breastfeeding rights.

For employers, the revised FEMA provisions mandate careful attention to the treatment of breastfeeding mothers. Employers must take care not to enact any questionable practices, such as docking a woman’s pay for nursing breaks or limiting her access to promotion opportunities.

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