Employers Must Provide a Location to Breastfeed
If you are a nursing mother who works for an employer with 50 or more employees, you are entitled to a private place to express milk. This is a legal obligation according to the Break Time for Nursing Mothers under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Smaller companies, businesses with less than 50 employees, may be exempt if they can demonstrate that doing so would result in undue hardship for the company.
New moms who return to work and have chosen to breastfeed may be committed to providing their child with breast milk for a set period of time. Some choose to provide breast milk for the first 12 months of their baby’s life, for example. When an employer provides the proper support, this is possible. If you are unsure of your rights as a working mother in Ohio, connect with a Columbus employment attorney.
Lactation Rooms Need to be Private and Clean
There are many different solutions for a lactation room but a bathroom Is not one of them. After all, lactation rooms should be a clean, sanitary place. While an employer is not required to provide all of the following, the list below is helpful as a guide when setting up a lactation room.
- Comfortable place to sit
- Door with a lock
- Microwave for pump pieces that need to be steam cleaned
- Counter or table to place breast pump
- Sink, paper towels, and soap to clean parts of the pump
- Supplies to clean surfaces, such as cleaning wipes
- Place to store expressed milk, such as a compact refrigerator
- Electrical outlets that are easy to access
If your workplace is looking to create a lactation room and are not sure where to start, they may benefit from a discussion between a representative from human resources and facility management along with a lactation consultant. There is some flexibility, the main requirement is a private, safe, sanitary room. A small fridge may not be needed, for example, because many nursing moms carry an insulated bag with their breast pump, one with a freezer pack designed to keep breast milk chilled and ready for use when they return home.
Laws Change Over Time
It is important to recognize that laws and attitudes change over time. When Ohio labor issues arise, talking to a Columbus employment attorney right away is a path to ensuring your rights are protected.
Before the lactation room law was in place, it was common for nursing moms to create their own spaces, such as using an unused office or pumping milk in their cubicle with a blanket covering them from the neck down. An uninformed employer may believe these solutions are acceptable, but they are not. If the business has 50 or more workers, an appropriate lactation room is a legal right.
Are you a nursing mom in Ohio who has questions about your rights in your workplace? Contact the lawyers at Coffman Legal LLC today. We are strong and committed advocates for all Ohio workers and use our experience and knowledge to help you. Call 614-949-1181 for a free and confidential consultation.