A federal judge in Houston, TX, recently ruled against a local working mother who claims she was fired from her job after asking for a place to pump breast milk.
In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes said that Donnicia Venters’s claims of sex discrimination were unfounded. He claimed that lactation was not pregnancy-related and, as a result, "firing someone because of lactation or breast-pumping is not sex discrimination."
Venters, 30, had worked at Houston Funding, a debt collection agency, for almost three years. She kept in touch often during her 10-week maternity leave and contests the company’s claim that she was fired for “job abandonment.”
Under current federal law, employers at most companies (there are some exceptions based on the size of the company) are required to give new mothers a break to nurse, but it doesn’t specifically protect women from being fired if they ask to do so.
Houston Funding followed up with a statement saying it welcomed the court's ruling. It also denied discriminating against Venters and would comply with new laws protecting women's rights to breast feed in the workplace.
What do you think of the court’s ruling? Have you found it difficult to pump at work? We’d love to know your thoughts!