Law Office of Nancy Grim

Northeast Ohio Employment Attorney

Nancy Grim, LLC
P.O. Box 108
Kent, Ohio 44240-9998
Phone: (330) 678-6595
Fax: (844) 270-7608

Nancy Grim Weekly

Topic of the Week  National Breastfeeding Month and Your Rights at Work

Workers who are nursing are protected under the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA) which took effect via the Affordable Care Act in 2010. This legislation requires that employers provide a reasonable break time for employees to express milk for up to a full year after the birth of a child and a private space to do so that is not a bathroom.

Employers are not required to compensate employees for the break time that they take to express milk, however, if an employer typically offers paid breaks to all employees, nursing workers can use the compensated break time for this purpose.

Since these protections may be limited, and may exclude some employers, it's important to know the law in your specific state. Learn more here.

1. How do I request a break to express breast?

There is no formal way to request a break to express milk. Employers are required to treat breaks taken to express breast milk the same as other breaks. Also employers are required to allow breast feeding moms to express milk as frequently as needed. Communication between the employer and employee can help to make this process a smooth one.

2. Does my employer need to provide a permanent space for nursing mothers to express breast milk at work?

No. Employers may designate a temporarily created or converted space for expressing milk. The space does not need to be permanent but it must be available when needed by nursing mothers. The space must be shielded from view, and free from intrusion from co-workers and the public. Employers may choose to create a permanent space dedicated for expressing breast milk.

3. How do I file a complaint for a violation of a breastfeeding break time?

Nursing mothers who feel their break time requirements have been violated can file a complaint with the Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division (WHD). The WHD staff would benefit from information such as the date of birth of your nursing child and a description of your concern; for example, lack of reasonable time or adequate space for expressing milk.

All services are free and confidential, and your employer cannot terminate you or in any other manner discriminate against you for filing a complaint with the Wage and Hour Division.

Thought of the Week

"We’re talking about basic protections like ensuring pregnant women have a stool or a water bottle so they can stay on the job, or that all nursing moms have the time and space they need to pump. We’ve been fighting for years to get these bills across the finish line. …With reproductive rights under attack — and with a formula crisis still putting stress on parents’ shoulders — the very last thing anyone should have to worry about is losing their job because they’re pregnant or nursing."

–Senator Patty Murray

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

Blog of the Week

The New ‘Lavender Scare’ Is an Attack on the Working Class

A new wave of attacks on queer and trans rights is here. The Working People podcast asks veteran LGBTQ+ labor organizers how workers can fight back.

Top Five News Headlines

  1. ‘Bizarre and Uncomfortable’: NYC Mayor Wants Photos of City Job Applicants
  2. Some Consumers are Cutting back on Restaurant Spending, But CEOs Say Not All Chains are Affected
  3. Snap is Planning to Lay Off Employees
  4. Workers in These Two Industries are the Only Ones Coming Out Ahead Right Now
  5. Why Jobs Data May Become Market’s Biggest Fear

List of the Week

from Pregnant@Work

Breastfeeding discrimination takes many forms, including:

  • denying pumping break requests from workers who are in pain and leaking milk
  • firing them just for asking
  • refusing to provide privacy or safe conditions 
  • crude comments on their body