Discrimination and equal employment laws provide protections for pregnant mothers. They also protect mothers after the birth of their children by offering rights to breastfeeding mothers.
If you breastfeed, then you know that you must either feed your baby or express your milk regularly to keep your milk supply flowing. If you return to work, you will need time throughout the day to express milk, which the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment explains is a right afforded to you by both state and federal laws. You have protection under both sets of laws, but when they conflict, your rights fall with the one that offers the best protection.
The law pertaining to breastfeeding mothers is the Workplace Accommodations for Nursing Mother Act. This law requires employers with more than one employee to provide break time without pay or allow the use of paid breaks to express breast milk up to two years after you have your baby.
Your employer should provide you with a room, other than a bathroom stall, for breastmilk expression. The law does state that providing such a place must be within reason for your employer and not cause undue hardship, such as costing too much or requiring adjustments that could harm the business.
The law applies to all employers, private and public, that have at least one employee. If you want to claim a violation of your rights under this law, then you must go through mediation prior to bringing a lawsuit.
The federal law in this situation is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which requires employers to provide break time to express milk up to one year after your baby’s birth. Your employer must provide you with a location, other than a bathroom, that is out of view and private for milk expression. Your employer must also provide you with breaks for expression.
The law applies only to employees who are not exempt from overtime pay. Employers with less than 50 employers may not have to provide breaks if it poses an undue hardship.