In California, a mother was fired for breastfeeding her baby in her car during authorized breaks (the employer disputes that this was the reason for her dismissal). California law guarantees the right of nearly all women to pump on the job, but does not guarantee a right to actually breastfeed during breaks. I'm guessing that this is why a sex discrimination complaint was filed with the California Fair Employment and Housing Commission. The San Francisco Chronicle reports:
On her third night back, her boyfriend brought their newborn son to work and Chavez breastfed the child in their car during her lunch break.
The next night, she got a call from the company's general manager, Jaime Acosta, who, according to a state civil rights commission, told her he didn't want her back at work until she was done breastfeeding. When Chavez said she couldn't wait that long, Acosta replied that he didn't like her attitude and she was fired, the commission said.
Her dismissal has led to a precedent-setting ruling by the state Fair Employment and Housing Commission in San Francisco. The decision, made public last week, said punishing a female employee for breastfeeding during a work break amounts to sex discrimination.
"Breastfeeding, on her own break time, is an activity intrinsic to Chavez's sex, female, and also protected under California law," the commission said.
The Ohio case concerned a mother who worked at Totes/Isotoner who took unauthorized breaks to pump before her regularly scheduled lunch breaks. In an article in the Columbus Dispatch she explained that "her breasts ached five hours into her shift, when she was allowed a lunch break."
The Ohio Supreme Court viewed it differently, declining to rule whether a pumping mother is protected under the state pregnancy discrimination act, but instead finding that Totes/Isotoner was within its rights to fire Allen for "failure to follow directions."
I emailed with Jake Marcus about this (see my podcast interview with her on breastfeeding and the law), and she noted that the court didn't actually rule whether pumping is covered under the state pregnancy discrimination act.