Pumping Breast Milk at Work in D.C. is Protected by Law

September 20, 2012

Are you a breastfeeding mother who works in the District of Columbia? Does your employer provide you with the break time that you need to pump milk for your baby?  Does your employer provide you with a clean, private space– other than a toilet stall or a bathroom– for you to pump breast milk?  If not, your employer may be in violation of the law.

In the District of Columbia, there is a law that protects the rights of breastfeeding mothers.  In almost all circumstances, employers must allow women reasonable break time in which to express breast milk in a private, sanitary area.  In 2007, the District of Columbia passed a law, entitled the “Child’s Right to Nurse Human Rights Amendment Act,” which provides that an employer shall provide reasonable daily unpaid break periods to an employee who wishes to express breast milk for her child to maintain milk supply and comfort.  In addition, the law provides that an employer shall make reasonable efforts to provide a clean room or other location in close proximity to the work area where an employee can express her breast milk in privacy and security.  Employers are exempted only if it would cause an “undue hardship” to the employer. An undue hardship is one that “requires significant difficulty or expense when considered in relation to factors such as the size of the business, its financial resources, and the nature and structure of its operation.”  Employers who violate the law commit an unlawful discriminatory practice under the D.C. Human Rights Law.

The law firm of Kator, Parks & Weiser, P.L.L.C. strenuously advocated for the passage of this law in 2007, and has advised breastfeeding mothers in D.C. about their rights to pump milk at work.  If you believe your employer may be in violation of the law, please contact Kator, Parks & Weiser today for a free consultation.

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