A controversial lactation accommodation case will move forward in federal court. A California woman sued Marriott, alleging that it failed to provide her with proper lactation accommodations, as required by law.
Mary Gonzalez, a full-time accountant and cashier for Marriott, gave birth to a baby girl in 2014. Her regular schedule included one unpaid lunch break, as well as two brief, paid rest breaks each day. Marriott allowed her some degree of lactation accommodation immediately after she gave birth. It later changed its position, however.
Marriott alleged that Gonzalez’s pregnancy was different because she was a surrogate mother. Gonzalez had given birth under a gestational surrogacy agreement. The agreement required her to provide breast milk to the child’s family for some period of time. However, after this requirement ended, she continued to pump milk due to personal health benefits. She donated the milk.
Gonzales alleged that, at one point, her manager told her that Marriott would only allow 30 additional days of her standard break time for milk expression. She asserted that when she complained, her manager replied in an “angry and dismissive” way, telling her that she was “not disabled” and not feeding her own child. At that time, her manager told her that she was only permitted to express milk during her unpaid lunch break.
Gonzales alleged violations of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. She argued that she had physical problems because Marriott refused to allow her to express milk during the day. She said that she suffered from clogged milk ducts, severe breast pain, and soreness.
Marriott asked the judge to dismiss Gonzalez’s suit. It argued that the law only applied to mothers expressing milk for their own children and that it did not apply to employees who expressed milk for other reasons.
The judge refused to dismiss the case, finding no legislative intent to limit lactation accommodation to employees nursing their own children. Gonzalez will therefore get to present her case to a California jury. Contact Labor Law Office, APC today to speak with a professional discrimination attorney in Fairfield.
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