It is important that the law makes easy for new mothers to re-enter the workforce. One way it does that is by giving new mothers the right to breast feed or express breast milk at work. The New York pregnancy discrimination attorneys of Phillips & Associates have a deep understanding of state and federal laws that protect pregnant women and new mothers. If you have not been allowed to pump breast milk at work in New York, your employer has likely broken the law.New York Moms Can Pump Breast Milk at Work for up to Three Years
New York law gives every working mother in the state the right to express breast milk for up to three years after the birth of a child. Employers must provide a reasonable break time for their employees to do this. Employees can use the time from their paid breaks or meals, or they can choose to take an unpaid break.
Further, with some limitations, employers must provide a private room or other place where new moms can express their breast milk. The room must be out of view from other co-workers, and bathrooms do not qualify. Employers with fewer than 50 employees may be exempted from providing the private room if doing so would create an undue hardship for the employer. This is defined as causing significant expense or difficulty when considering the employer’s resources. But employers with fewer than 50 employees still must make a reasonable effort to provide such a room.
New York law also prohibits employers from discriminating in any way against employees who choose to express breast milk at work. And employers may not retaliate against any worker who files a complaint about not receiving a legally mandated break.Federal and State Laws Protect New Mothers
There are two primary laws that provide women the right to pump or express breast milk in the workplace.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was amended in 2010 by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to provide a break for mothers to express milk for one year after a child’s birth. This basic right is afforded to all women in the Unites States, but the provision applies only to employers with 50 or more employees. Employers with fewer employees are completely exempted from the pumping law requirements if they would pose undue hardship. Further, employees exempt from overtime rules are also not covered by the new FLSA provisions.
Fortunately for many of the New Yorkers who would not be covered by the FLSA, § 206-c of New York labor law provides many of the same rights. New York mothers have a right to take a break to express breast milk for three years after their child’s birth. And employers must make a reasonable effort to provide a private room for employees to take such a break.
New mothers should also remember that New York state has a general breast-feeding law that allows a mother to breast feed in any public or private place where she is authorized to be.Exercise Your Breast-Feeding Rights at Work
If you are a new mother, you likely have the right to take a break to express breast milk at work. The New York pregnancy discrimination lawyers of Phillips & Associates help New Yorkers understand their workplace rights and sue employers who break the law. If you have been denied the right to pump breast milk at work, your employer may have broken the law. Call (212) 248-7431 or email us to schedule a free consultation.