Breastfeeding is an important part of raising a newborn child. Mothers have historically encountered issues with breastfeeding in public or pumping breast milk at work. Fortunately, the Colorado legislature has passed two breast-pumping laws to help protect new mothers from discrimination.
What Are My Rights to Pump in a Public Place?
In Colorado, a woman may breastfeed wherever she has a right to be. Thus, a woman may breastfeed at a public park or at a museum without fear of violating public nudity or indecency laws.
What Are My Rights to Pump Breast Milk at Work?
For two years after giving birth, a woman has a right to pump breast milk at work. Her employer must reasonably accommodate her by giving her breaks to pump and by providing her a clean and private location to pump. Her employer cannot force her to pump in a bathroom and must attempt to provide her location close to her work area.
However, her employer does not necessary have to accommodate her choice to breastfeed if it causes the employer undue hardship. Undue hardship is determined by a totality of circumstances test, in which the court will factor the size of the business, the financial resources, and nature and structure of the operation.
For example, if you work at a medical office, then your boss will most likely have private areas such as an exam room for you to express breast milk. But if you work at an oil rig drilling oil, your boss may have difficulty transferring you off site every couple hours to pump. Further, constantly transferring you and moving heavy machinery may be a threat to public safety.
Do I Need an Employment Lawyer?
If you believe your employer is discriminating against you for breastfeeding, then you should contact an employment lawyer. Even if your employer is making it difficult for you to express breast milk whenever you need to, it may be a form of discrimination. An experienced employment lawyer can help you assess your case and can help your seek legal recourse.