Even with the right to maternity leave granted by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), many women find it difficult to balance family and work, especially when they are expected to return to work soon after giving birth. While the act thankfully protects women from pregnancy-based discrimination throughout their pregnancy, it fails to explicitly require employers to accommodate the needs and conditions of workers post-pregnancy.
However, following the resolution of a recent case in Alabama, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit established that failing to accommodate an employee who is breastfeeding was a violation of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. During the trial, the plaintiff’s employer tried to argue that lactation is not a condition related to pregnancy, since PDA does not address the conditions following pregnancy. However, the federal court ruled that employers are obligated to accommodate pregnant and breastfeeding workers accordingly.
This ruling currently applies only to Alabama, Georgia, and Florida, but other employers should still be cautious about refusing to accommodate breastfeeding employees. To read more about the case and the adjustment in the law, refer to this article by Attorney Tom Spiggle from the Spiggle Law Firm.