Woman Sues After Being Harassed and Denied Space to Pump Breast Milk at Work
A Pennsylvania woman filed suit against her employer this week stating that she was discriminated against and harassed because the new mother wanted to pump breast milk at work.
Bobbi Bockoras returned to work at a Port Allegany, PA glass factory after giving birth, only to be ridiculed and denied the right to pump breast milk in a safe and clean environment. "Rather than help me follow my doctor's recommendations, I believe my employer ignored its legal obligations, allowed me to be bullied and harassed, and then retaliated against me for standing up for my rights," said Bockoras. "No employee should have to go through that."
Bockoras has worked at the glass factory for 6 years. When she returned after the birth of her child and and needed to pump breast milk, her employer first suggested she pump in the bathroom. She was then told to pump in the first aid room, but Bockoras was frequently interrupted. Her employer then told her to pump in an old locker room. The locker room was furnished with only one chair, the temperature sometimes reached 106 degrees, and the floor was covered in dead bugs.
"I was completely disgusted, but what could I do?" said Bockoras. "I only had a short break before I had to be back on my shift, and my baby has to eat, so I pumped there anyway."
According to Bockoras, her co-workers subjected her to harassment while she tried to pump, including pounding on the door demanding to enter and greasing the door handle with grease containing metal shards. When she complained, Bockoras was moved from her consistent day shift to a rotating shift, against the recommendation of her doctor. Working this shift, which required her to switch frequently between day and night shifts, impacted her breastfeeding schedule, causing her breast milk production to decrease by 50 percent.
Bockoras filed a federal civil complaint against her employer on Wednesday as well as a complaint with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Media Resources: ACLU 10/22, 11/6; ACLU Blog 11/6; NWLC 11/7
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
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This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .