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California’s Breastfeeding at Work Laws

Posted on in Employment

breastfeeding at work laws, San Jose nursing mothers rights lawyersIn California, breastfeeding is legal in all public locations, thanks to the California Civil Code, section 43.3. The code states that a mother is allowed to breastfeed her child in any place, except for the home of another, where the mother and her child are otherwise allowed to be present. In other words, if a mother and her child are in a public space where they are legally allowed to be, then the mother is within her legal rights to breastfeed her child.

But what about breastfeeding in the workplace? Do working women in California have the right to breastfeed while at work? In California, yes, the right to breastfeed at work is protected under California law.

The California Labor Code: Breastfeeding in the Workplace

Several subsections of the California Labor Code address a woman’s right to breastfeed while at work. Key provisions are briefly outlined below:

  • Section 1030: According to section 1030 of the California Labor Code, every employer in California is required to provide an appropriate amount of time away from work to accommodate an employee who wishes to express breast milk for her child. If possible, breastfeeding break times should coincide with any break time that is already provided by the employer. However, section 1032 notes that an employer is not required to provide breastfeeding employees with breastfeeding breaks if doing so would “seriously disrupt the operations of the employer.”

  • Section 1031: In addition to affording nursing mothers time during the workday to breastfeed, California law also requires employers to provide nursing mothers with facilities adequate for breastfeeding. Section 1031 of the California Labor Code states that employers have to take reasonable measures to provide … [nursing employees] with the use of a location, other than a toilet stall, close to the employee’s work area in order for her to breastfeed in private. 

A California employer who violates either of the breastfeeding in the workplace laws outlined above can be subjected to a civil penalty of $100 for each violation.

It is Also Illegal to Discriminate Against a Nursing Employee in CA 

Please note that it is entirely possible for an employer in California to abide by the labor laws listed above and to still illegally discriminate against a nursing employee. For example, an employer who provides a nursing employee with a reasonable amount of time to breastfeed while at work and makes reasonable efforts to provide that employee with a private area to breastfeed is still violating state law if they then fire the nursing mother, pass her over for a training program, or discriminate against her in the workplace in some other way because of the employee’s status as a nursing mother.

Reach Out to Us for Legal Help

If you are a working California mother whose right to breastfeed at work has been infringed upon, contact the experienced San Jose nursing mothers rights lawyers of Jachimowicz Law Group without delay. Our firm is committed to zealously protecting the rights of working mothers who face discrimination throughout Northern California, and it would be our pleasure to fight for you.

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