TX Judge:"firing someone because of lactation or breast-pumping is not sex discrimination." #parents #kids #moms #prolife
Posted Feb 08 2012 1:30pm
Is this judge out of his mind? First we have the HHS administration,under President Obama, who thinks pregnancy is a disease and wants all employers, including religious institutions to offer contraception,sterilization and abortifacients, ie: morning after pills, in insurance policies to women who conceive and now a judge in TX thinks nursing/breastfeeding is not a medical condition related to pregnancy and child birth;despite the fact that women who do not nurse can get mastitis , which causes pain&fevers if the milk is not removed and pediatricians recommend nursing to strengthen a newborns immune system.
A judge in Houston has ruled in favor of an employer who allegedly fired a woman who wanted to use the bathroom to breast-pump.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a complaint on behalf
of Donnicia Venters against debt collection agency Houston Funding.
Donnicia Venters, 30, alleges the company violated Title VII of the
Civil Rights Act of 1964, which makes it illegal to discriminate against
a woman "because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition
related to pregnancy or childbirth."
Judge Lynn Hughes found that the EEOC's claim in the lawsuit was not
recognized under Title VII and dismissed the lawsuit last week, writing
in the opinion, "firing someone because of lactation or breast-pumping
is not sex discrimination."
Venters said she was "shocked" by the judge's opinion and hopes the EEOC appeals the judgment to obtain "justice."
"I just hope no other employer does that," she said. "It's just milk.
It's actually a great thing to do. I just hope it can be an easy thing
to talk to your employer about for your child."
Joan Williams, law professor and director of the Center for Work Life
Law at the University of California, Hastings, said, it "makes no sense
at all" to say lactation is not a medical condition related to pregnancy
"Everybody knows that breastfeeding is a medical condition related to childbirth," Williams said.
First, Williams said, pediatricians have long recommended women should
breast feed babies for a certain time after birth to help transmit a
mother's immunity system.
Second, if mothers can't pump or nurse, they are at risk of mastitis, a
breast infection which can be "extremely painful" and sharply spike
temperatures, she said.
According to the report, the mother who was fired for wanting to return to work and breast pump had made arrangements that she would be returning to work and kept in regular contact with her employer.
Venters went on maternity leave Dec. 1, 2008 pursuant to the company's
policy of permitting employees to take open-ended leave for surgeries or
other medical issues. She said she "consistently" kept in touch with
management to assure them she would be returning to work. While on
leave, Venters, who joined the company in March 2006 as an account
representative, said the company president promised to save a spot for
her until her return.
However, upon wanting to return to work she learned she was fired after she mentioned in the call she wanted to return to breast pump and would need accommodations. After hearing this the manager then paused on the call, and according to the lawsuit, Venters says, "while Cagle had been friendly at the beginning of the
call, he paused for several seconds after she mentioned the breast pump,
and then stated, 'well, we filled your spot.'"
The floor manager relayed to the president that Venters was
contemplating bringing a breast pump to the office. According to the
claim, the president responded to the floor manager, "No. Maybe she
needs to stay home longer."
Venters asked what he meant by telling her that her spot had been
filled, and he stated "well, we thought you were not coming back."
This case seems pretty obvious to me the manager made his decision out of discrimination and that she didn't abandon her position to have her child. She simply requested accommodations to breast pump and was fired instead. Since this case occurred in Texas, it would seem she has a strong case to repeal since
Texas and Alaska have pregnancy discrimination laws that require certain
public employers to provide some accommodations for pregnant workers to
keep their jobs. California, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana,
Minnesota, New Hampshire and Michigan, have passed laws requiring
private employers to provide at least some accommodations. Legislators
in New York introduced a bill last week related to the issue.
Do you think the judge made a fair decision? Or was it discrimination? Do you think she should be reinstated?