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 and 2020 Senate Bill 142, Weiner Labor Code Chapter 3.8, Section 1030, 1031, 1032, 1033 and 1034

Lactating employees are entitled to private space and reasonable break time to express milk at work. The space must not be a bathroom, must be close to your work area, and must be shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public. In addition, the space must contain a place to sit and a surface to place a pump; have access to electricity or ways to operate an electric or battery-powered pump; and be located near refrigeration and a sink with running water.

The Labor Commissioner investigates complaints. If, upon inspection or investigation, the Labor Commissioner determines that a violation has occurred, the Labor Commissioner may issue a citation and may impose a civil penalty in the amount of one hundred dollars ($100) for each day that an employee is denied reasonable break time or adequate space to express milk.

An employer cannot fire or in any other manner discriminate or retaliate against, an employee for exercising or attempting to exercise any right to lactation accommodations.


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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