What to Do if You Have a Workplace Pumping Issues With Your Employer

Having the proper support as you return to work and continue to provide breastmilk for your child is key to success. We salute all moms who are balancing a career with breastfeeding and want to cheer you on! Hopefully you are coming to this page to arm yourself with knowledge, and not because you’ve had a bad experience. We have put together some information designed to help you acheive your workplace pumping goals, whatever they may be.

First off, get educated about what is required of your employer to do and what your rights are. In general, Federal law requires employers to provide you with break time to pump and a place to do it. Know your state laws as well. State law can build upon and strengthen requirements for your employer, but never take away from federal laws. Most states have no additional workplace pumping legislation, while other states have great additions to federal law.

Unfortunately, not all employers are supportive nor do they quite understand what it’s like to be a nursing mom in the workplace. If you have a situation where your employer is not providing you with required break times or pumping accomodations, here are some pointers to help you educate your employer and negotiate a peaceful resolve.

Talk calmly and respectfully to your employer to see if there’s simply a misunderstanding, such as wanting you to move to a different area instead of saying you can’t pump at all and so on. Ask calm but pointed questions so you know exactly what their problem is and see if there is any compromise or changes that can be easily made. Take notes so you remember exactly what was said.

Also, find out if your employer is even aware of pumping laws that are currently in place. You would be surprised that many employers aren’t being unkind or inconsiderant to your needs, but they simply lack information or knowledge of breastfeeding and the law. Bring some information for your employer like your individual state’s laws (if helpful), the Business Case For Breastfeeding and the Surgeon General’s Call to Action.

When all efforts of education and negotiation have been exhausted, the next step is to begin filing complaints against your employer through the proper enforcement avenues.

  • File complaint for sex discrimination with your state civil rights or human rights commission. Do a Google search and you will find that not all states have them, but some states have great ones that can be an enormous help.
  • File complaint with the Department of Labor on the federal level.

Find some support! Here is a great resource:

For more information check out some of our previous blogs:

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