Laws that Protect Women in the Workplace

Analysis of State and Federal Law Document

California State Laws

Unlawful Discrimination: Breastfeeding included in definition of Sex 2012, Assembly Bill 2386, Allen, Government Code 12926

Expands the definition of sex discrimination to include pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding, plus any medically related conditions regarding pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. Examples of “related medical condition” include mastitis, gestational diabetes, pregnancy-induced hypertension, preeclampsia, post-partum depression, loss or end of pregnancy or recovery from loss or end of pregnancy.

Your Rights and Obligations as a Pregnant Employee

Lactation Accommodation 2001, Assembly Bill 1025, Frommer, Labor Code Chapter 3.8, Section 1030, 1031, 1032, and 1033

Requires every employer to provide a reasonable amount of break time to allow an employee to express breast milk for the employee’s child. The break time shall run concurrently with the work break time. The employer is not required to allow time to pump if doing so would seriously disrupt business operations.

Also requires every employer to make a reasonable effort to provide the employee with a place to pump breast milk in private and near the employee’s workspace. A toilet stall is not an acceptable place to pump.

 The Labor Commissioner investigates complaints. An employer in violation of this code shall be subject to a $100 fine for each violation. The procedures for issuing a violation are in Labor Code Section 1197.1.

Breastfeeding at Work 1998, Lempert, Assembly Concurrent Resolution No. 155

Strongly encourages all employers to support breastfeeding employees by accommodating employees and ensuring breastfeeding employees have adequate facilities for breastfeeding or expressing milk.

Requires employees of the State of California to provide adequate facilities for breastfeeding or milk expression.

Federal Laws

Section 7(r) of the Fair Labor Standards Act – Break Time for Nursing Mothers Provision

Effective March 23, 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act amended the FLSA to require employers to provide a nursing mother reasonable break time to express breast milk after the birth of her child. The amendment also requires that employers provide a place for an employee to express breast milk.

Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 207) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(r)(1) An employer shall provide—

A. reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express the milk; and

B. place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.

   (2) An employer shall not be required to compensate an employee receiving reasonable break time under paragraph (1) for any work time spent for such purpose.

  (3) An employer that employs less than 50 employees shall not be subject to the requirements of this subsection, if such requirements would impose an undue hardship by causing the employer significant difficulty or expense when considered in relation to the size, financial resources, nature, or structure of the employer’s business.

  (4) Nothing in this subsection shall preempt a State law that provides greater protections to employees than the protections provided for under this subsection.

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