Many people doubted the consequences of not following advice from my recent post, Nursing Moms Have Workplace Rights + Make Good Plaintiffs. But according to the Huffington Post, the Department of Labor (DOL) has already completed over 100 investigations of nursing mother complaints since Obamacare became law.
And once the DOL is in your workplace, the investigation can expand to a wall to wall audit of wage and hour compliance. Not to mention violations of these laws can lead to losing bids if you are a federal contractor.
But back to the point. Complying with the nursing mother requirements is relatively easy – so don't let it be the gateway to disaster.
Huff Post's Examples
A recent Huffington Post article exposed several companies' poor treatment of nursing mothers. Here are some of the #HRFail highlights, err downfalls:
- A fast-food worker first pumped in the public restroom but was then forced to walk to a nearby library to pump. Then, in retaliation for her DOL complaint, the manager dramatically reduced her hours.
- Retail employee forced to pump in break areas visited by co-workers and shoppers. Colleagues felt so bad for her that they sat nearby "to block customers or other co-workers" from seeing her. Then, her break time and working hours were cut, forcing her to find a new job.
- Call center employee terminated after complaining about not having ample break time to pump.
Remember - employers must give "reasonable" break times to nursing moms for up to a year after they've given birth and provide a clean, private location - not a bathroom.
As I tried to hammer home earlier, the fines imposed for these specific violation may not be huge. But bad PR coupled with the DOL in your workplace and a potential retaliation lawsuit make it worth the effort of training your management on nursing moms' rights. So get to making those clean private spaces.