New Moms Finding Discrimination in the Work Place Maloney Bill Would Give Breastfeeding Moms a Break

Mar 24, 1998
Press Release
Laura Sullivan was in a bind. Her six week old son was allergic to formula. She needed to continue to pump milk after returning to work. But her employer refused to give her the time or space. Laura was fired eight days after she asked for the breaks.

The Sullivan case is just one of the dozens that have flooded the Maloney office recently. Many women have been discriminated against in the work place because they wanted to use their breaks to express milk, or take a few extra minutes from their work day to provide the best nourishment for their newborn child.

That's why Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney is today introducing the New Mothers' Breastfeeding Promotion and Protection Act.

"We know that men run most of the nation's big corporations. I guess they're just uncomfortable with the notion of a woman doing something so intimate at work," commented Maloney. "But it's just a simple fact of life that women give birth and women can provide the best nourishment for the child. But they're also now a large part of the work force. Corporate America just needs to wake up to the facts."

The bill does a number of things to help new moms cope as they head back to work:

1. It clarifies the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 to ensure that breastfeeding is protected under civil rights law.
2. Provides a tax credit for employers who set up lactation rooms and/or provide equipment and/or counseling.
3. Grants working moms unpaid breastfeeding breaks of up to an hour per day.
4. Requires the FDA to develop minimum standards for breast pumps.
5. Expands support for WIC's breastfeeding promotion and education programs.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently recommended that mothers breastfeed for up to one year after the birth of a child. Breast milk is known to be the first line of immunization defense. It helps protect against a host of childhood diseases like ear infections, juvenile diabetes, allergies, and other more serious illnesses, like meningitis, and lymphoma.

"Working moms could use a break. Breastfeeding moms REQUIRE one," says Maloney. "And an employer should have NO part in a woman's decision regarding her child's nutrition."

The bill will be introduced today. There are 12 original co-sponsors.