The case of a female employee, who was fired from her job for taking ‘un-allowed’ toilet breaks to express breastmilk for her newborn in 2005, took over the internet and management world as the woman sued and Supreme Court withheld her termination in 2009, terming her breaks as unauthorized (Gorud, 2014). The case of breastfeeding belonged to Totes Isotoner Corporation, Ohio USA that is involved in making footwear and accessories. Allen, mother to then-5 month’s old son was fired as the supervisor caught her pumping her breast during work hours. She sued the firm stating that lactation is a natural-outcome of pregnancy, and thus, the pregnancy law also protects her against any workplace discrimination.
The decision that termed the firing right was ruled by trial court, an appeals court, as well as the highest court of the state. Moreover, the justices were of opinion that even if the law did not cover lactating mothers, Allen could have asked to accommodate her needs instead of taking unauthorized breaks (Breastfeeding Law, 2015).
The law that protects the pregnant women at workplace does not provide any protection to the lactating mother at workplace, and as there is no separate law regarding the lactating mothers, the highest court of the state decided to rule out her plea. The court termed the firing as legal as the employee ‘snuck off’ an hour before the scheduled break to pump. The decision was criticized by one of the justices terming it as discriminatory. I think that the decision taken by the court was right, as Allen made use of working hours to pump. She could pump during scheduled break. Moreover, she could have asked the HR manager to accommodate her needs.
Gorud, C. (2014). Legislative Action to Promote Breastfeeding. Breastfeeding Medicine, 140721133632000. doi:10.1089/bfm.2014.0083
Breastfeeding Law. (2015). Lactation and the Law Revisited. Retrieved 13 July 2015, from http://breastfeedinglaw.com/articles/lactation-and-the-law-revisited/