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Wellness

Breastfeeding Discrimination Lawsuits Rose 800% in the Past Decade

May 17, 2016

New mothers aren’t afraid to fight for their rights, a new study finds. There has been an 800% increase in breastfeeding-related discrimination lawsuits in the last decade, according to a new report from the Center for Worklife Law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. The spike is part of a larger trend of rising caregiver discrimination lawsuits.

Lactation discrimination cases are a subset of employment discrimination cases that center around a woman’s right and ability to breastfeed or pump in the workplace. As of 2010, employers are required to provide a nursing mother break time to express breast milk after the birth of her child, and employers must also provide a place for mothers to express breast milk. Subsequent laws in some states have allowed for those places to not be restrooms. But some employers have punished women for taking time out of the workday to pump or nurse—or failed to provide adequate places in which to express breast milk.

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Recent rulings may further increase the number of breastfeeding-related cases that go to court. In the 2014 ruling Allen-Brown v. District of Columbia, the federal court determined that breastfeeding is a medical condition related to pregnancy, which means employers are therefore required to accommodate it under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.