Got Milk? Eleventh Circuit Holds That Discrimination Because of Employee’s Breastfeeding is Unlawful Discrimination

From Verdict Justia authored b

“What’s to be done with a police officer who has a baby, returns to work, and wishes to continue breastfeeding her baby? If you’re the Tuscaloosa Police Department (TPD), you might suddenly start giving her poor evaluations, refer to her behind her back with gendered slurs, or tell her could just patrol the streets without a bullet-proof vest if the assigned one could not be used while she was lactating. You might deny her the light-duty that she could have performed safely and which was offered to other officers with temporary limitations. You might make her life a living hell until she quits—and goes from working as an active-duty police officer to catch-as-catch-can work cleaning houses, taking photographs for friends, and teaching fitness classes. And if you did all these things, would you have committed actionable discrimination? A jury said yes, and the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, in Hicks v. City of Tuscaloosa, just affirmed the verdict. In its ruling, the appellate court joined a growing chorus of courts that seem to recognize the inextricable connection between pregnancy and lactation—and thus the need to protect lactating women against discrimination.”

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