Federal law has safeguarded workers against sex-based discrimination for decades. However, in recent years, it has been made abundantly clear that sex-based discrimination manifests in so many ways that it has proven to be a hydra – as soon as the law chops off one head, the monster finds a way to grow at least one more.
Such has been the case with discrimination related to lactation. First, sex discrimination was explicitly outlawed. Then, these protections were extended to pregnant workers. Then, those protections had to be extended to govern “conditions associated with pregnancy.” And still, employers continued to discriminate against workers, so discrimination based on lactation and lactation-related accommodations needed to be codified.
This kind of discrimination is, indeed, outlawed at the federal level now but that doesn’t mean that the practice of discrimination has been eliminated from the American workforce.
Seeking legal guidance
If you have been discriminated against in the workplace as a result of lactation-related issues, you may benefit from seeking legal guidance. Although you may be understandably concerned about retaliation, it is important to understand that if your employer were to engage in any adverse action against you for exploring or exercising your legal rights, that conduct would be unlawful.
When you speak with a legal professional about the discriminatory treatment you’re facing, you will also gain insight into how you’ll need to respond if your employer tries to retaliate. In this way, seeking legal guidance may protect you and help to keep you informed in a myriad of ways. Just keep in mind that you have rights under the law and that by speaking up, you may benefit from justice on your own behalf and on behalf of other lactating workers as well.