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Reviewing workplace rights for new mothers

While most people in California might only classify sexual harassment in the workplace as unwanted romantic advances from a coworker, in reality it can include any negative or disparaging behavior due to one’s sex. For many women, that can include harassment related to a pregnancy.

Fortunately, there are workplace protections in place to ensure that a woman’s pregnancy does not impact her career. Yet many might assume that those protections end with the completion of one’s maternity leave. That is not the case.

Post-pregnancy workplace rights

The demands on a new mother are many. This includes the need to express breast milk. According to the website WhatToExpect.com, new mothers typically need to express breast milk every 3-4 hours throughout the day. That might inevitably require a new mom to pump while at work. Given the sensitive nature of the task, one cane understand why this may be a cause of concern.

However, federal workplace laws require that employers respect the needs of new moms. Per the U.S. Department of Labor, an employer must provide a new mother in its employ with a discrete location where she can express breast milk at work up to one year following the delivery of her baby. This location must be somewhere other than a bathroom where she is free from the concern of discovery by others.

Exceptions to this rule

As with many federal regulations, however, there are certain exceptions to this statute. If a company employs fewer than 50 employees and is able to show affording the right to an employee to express breast milk while at work would place an undue financial hardship on it, then it may be exempt from adhering to this particular regulation.