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Employee rights extend to breastfeeding mothers

A recently proposed bill would, if passed, would protect the rights of New Jersey breastfeeding mothers at work. Lawmakers are hoping that this proposed bill will eliminate workplace discrimination against these women and protect employee rights by requiring employers to provide a place for mothers to pump throughout the day. Under this new law, it would be illegal to fire a woman for breastfeeding or pumping.

Women who work full time are often faced with complications if they choose to return to the workforce after having babies. Despite the many health benefits of breastfeeding, some mothers feel that their work environments are not conducive to this choice. Some women may feel shamed for choosing this path or be prevented from doing it either by a lack of private space or fear of retaliation.

All workers are entitled to certain rights in the workplace, regardless of skill level, gender, occupation or job title. It is illegal to discriminate based on gender, religion, ethnicity or disability, and it stands to reason that it should also be illegal to discriminate against working mothers for choosing to breastfeed after returning to work. It is already legal to breastfeed in public in New Jersey.

Working mothers may find it necessary to advocate for their own interests and speak out if their employee rights have been violated in any way. If a woman has been fired, harassed or discriminated against because of her choice to breastfeed, she would be wise to seek the help of a lawyer. A case evaluation can identify the legal option most appropriate for the situation.

Source: CBS New York, "New NJ Bill Would Protect Rights Of Breastfeeding Mothers At Work", Oct. 23, 2016

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