Each state has its own laws that handle discrimination in the workplace. New Jersey protects breastfeeding workers from discrimination by giving breastfeeding mothers time and privacy to express milk while at work. The law was signed by Chris Christie shortly before the end of his term. The law aims to help breastfeeding mothers return to work comfortably. Unfortunately, many mothers feel uncomfortable returning to work while breastfeeding because they are shunned to the bathroom to express milk. They may face discrimination for taking frequent breaks or for carrying their breast pump. This discrimination law expansion aims to prevent this.
The enactment of the discrimination law expansion occurred in January 2018. The law emphasizes the importance of time and privacy for breastfeeding employees. The law expansion protects breastfeeding workers from being fired, demoted, or having their hours cut. Employers must give breaks to breastfeeding workers to express milk, regardless if the infant is in the workplace. Similarly, breastfeeding workers are entitled to a private area to express milk, which does not include bathroom stalls and must be near the work area and have a lock.
Although providing breaks is required, the employer does not have to pay the breastfeeding worker for their breaks. However, if non-breastfeeding workers are paid for their breaks, then breastfeeding workers must also be paid. If an employer does not want to fulfill the accommodations, they must prove that doing so would present a hardship on their business operations. However, this would be difficult, since breastfeeding workers only need small breaks throughout the day.
According to a survey, more than 10 percent of breastfeeding workers do not believe they have any rights for expressing milk at work. The same survey also found that over 50 percent of participants were unaware about the mandate that entitled them to a private room to express milk. It is important for breastfeeding workers to stay informed about their rights because employers might not make an accommodation without the worker first expressing the need for one. If a breastfeeding worker knows about their rights, they can make sure that their employer is fulfilling their required duty of providing a comfortable space and frequent breaks. This allows for a breastfeeding mother to feel more comfortable returning to work.
If you or a loved one faced discrimination for breastfeeding at work, you need to contact a Long Branch employment lawyer at Fox & Melofchik, L.L.C. Our lawyers help clients take legal action against workplace discrimination. If you are interested in talking to one of our lawyers, contact us online or call us at 732-493-9400 for a free consultation.
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