New moms who want to breastfeed face many challenges that force them fall short of their goals. Research has shown that it is especially difficult to keep nursing while you work out of the home. Kristen Joseph a waitress from Seal Beach, Calif. faced a particularly insurmountable barrier when her baby turned 6 months old.
CBSLA reports that Joseph had a conversation with one of her managers at Hennessey’s Tavern in which she requested privacy to pump and he said no.
“He said it was disgusting. He said he didn’t want me to spray all over his office. I was just appalled at what he had to say,” Joseph told the news outlet.
Prior to the incident, Joseph says she never had a problem with pumping at work. She took ten-minute breaks throughout the day, KTLA reports.
Her manager's response crushed Joseph.
"I went outside and I was freaking out and crying ... my co-workers tried to calm me down," she told KTLA. And though she was told she could leave for the day, she decided to finish her shift -- with breast milk leaking through her shirt.
Now, the mom of 6-month-old Wrigley is speaking out to educate other mothers and employers. “They have to provide me a safe, sanitary private place. When I told (the manager) it was against the law for him to deny me of that, he kind of just went off,” she told CBSLA.
And, she's right. In January, a law was passed as part of Obama's health care reform legislation which federally mandates employers to provide breastfeeding moms with breaks and a place to pump at work. According to the Wage and Hour Division fact-sheet:
"[Employers are required to provide] reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child's birth ... [as well as] a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public."
Related on HuffPost:
Amy Zvovushe Was Asked To Resign
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/07/pregnant-woman-fired_n_1260979.html" target="_hplink">Amy Zvovushe</a>, 31, had a new job (as a senior program manager at a marketing company in Connecticut) and a new baby on the way. Zvovushe says that when she announced her pregnancy at work, she was asked to resign. The company didn't offer her maternity leave. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/07/pregnant-woman-fired_n_1260979.html" target="_hplink">(For the full story and video, click here.)</a>
Jiongqui Ye "Caused An Inconvenience"
In July 2009, Jiongqui Ye, 36, told her boss, Xio Yu Zhang at the Wongtas printing company in Sydney that she was pregnant and planned to work until Christmas, then take maternity leave. According to the <a href="http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/company-fined-for-dismissing-pregnant-worker-20120202-1qubw.html" target="_hplink">Sydney Morning Herald</a>, Zhang told Ye that should would not be paid while she was gone and her position as a clerical worker might not be available upon her return. Ye then suffered complications during pregnancy and had to take sick leave early. Sadly, she lost her baby. When she returned to work, she was allegedly told she "caused a lot of inconvenience" and was given a new job performing manual labor for less money. She complained to the Fairwork Ombudsman, and then was fired from her job. On February 2nd, Justice Dennis Cowdroy found the directors of the company "guilty of grossly breaching its obligations and fined [them] more than $20,000."
Veronica Kloeten Was Fired By Her Aunt
In January 2012, Auckland Now in New Zealand reported that a spray tan specialist Veronica Kloeten was fired by her own aunt who said her pregnancy would be "disgusting and repulsive" to clients. The Employment Relations Authority awarded Kloeten maternity leave, lost wages and an extra $3,000 compensation. <a href="http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/6282842/Aunt-fired-niece-for-being-pregnant" target="_hplink">http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/6282842/Aunt-fired-niece-for-being-pregnant</a>
Christa Dias Was Artificially Inseminated
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/28/christa-dias-fired-artificial-insemination-catholic_n_1173139.html" target="_hplink">Christa Dias</a>, former technology coordinator at Holy Family and St. Lawrence Catholic schools in Cincinnati, Ohio, claimed she was fired for becoming pregnant using artificial insemination in October 2010. <a href="http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20111226/NEWS010702/312270011" target="_hplink">According to Cincinnati.com</a>, the schools said she broke her contract as a Catholic. "This is not the classic pregnancy discrimination case in which pretexts must be evaluated and discriminatory intent must be divined," the school's attorneys wrote. But Dias said this contract is invalid because it isn't applied equally to men. So, she sued the schools in April 2011, and the case is currently on hold.
Jennifer Cox Worked In A Nuclear Arms Plant
<a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/8964847/Woman-fired-from-nuclear-arms-plant-for-being-pregnant.html" target="_hplink">Jennifer Cox</a>, 33, said she lost her job as a website manager at the Atomic Weapons Establishment in Aldermaston, Berks when she experienced morning sickness. Her employment ended on July 12, 2010 and, her employer maintains that her pregnancy had nothing to do with it -- her dismissal was one of many cuts made during the recession, the Telegraph reported. A decision from the judge is expected some time this year.
Jennifer Paviglianiti Was No Longer "Sexy"
<a href="http://articles.cnn.com/2010-03-06/justice/pregnant.exotic.club.bartender_1_pregnant-woman-bartender-pregnancy?_s=PM:CRIME" target="_hplink">Jennifer Paviglianiti</a>, a bartender in Suffolk County said was fired from a gentlemen's club because, according to her boss, "Customers don't wanna come in and see a pregnant woman behind the bar!" Her employer's attorney argued that she wasn't fired and was allowed to return after maternity leave as a cashier - for much less money, CNN reported in March 2010.
Jarretta Hamilton Got Pregnant Out Of Wedlock
A fourth grade teacher at a Florida Christian School <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/14/jarretta-hamilton-teacher_n_611590.html" target="_hplink">Jarretta Hamilton</a> told her boss she was pregnant in April 2009. He asked when she conceived, and her answer -- just three weeks before her wedding -- she was fired. "Jaretta was asked not to return because of a moral issue that was disregarded, namely fornication, sex outside marriage," administrator Julie Ennis wrote in a letter to Hamilton's lawyer. <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Business/Media/teacher-fired-pregnant-wedlock/story?id=10878802#.TysOD4WA7UY" target="_hplink">ABC News reported</a> that Hamilton then sued the school for lost wages and emotional distress. The school asked that Hamilton drop her case and "consider the testimony of the Lord."