Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital was recently named as a defendant in an employment discrimination lawsuit filed by a former female security supervisor. According to plaintiff Adrianne Russo, the security director at the hospital repeatedly engaged in sexually harassing conduct in the form of sexually suggestive text messages and emails. When Russo complained about the Manager’s unsolicited, inappropriate contact, the hospital’s Human Resources director – a co-defendant in the lawsuit – took steps to make it more difficult for the plaintiff to express her breast milk at work, an act the security director deemed “yucky.”
In New Jersey, no state law directly addresses breastfeeding in the workplace, but 2010’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) amended the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to guarantee certain federal protections for nursing moms. Among the ACA’s provisions are new rules requiring employers to offer “reasonable break time” to breastfeeding moms, South Jersey employment discrimination lawyers note. Moreover, the ACA – applicable to companies with 50 employees or more – goes one step further by mandating that those same nursing moms cannot be forced to express their breast milk in a restroom.
Russo’s complaint, filed in Middlesex County, New Jersey Superior Court, alleges that she was initially permitted to use her private office to express her breast milk. After airing her concerns about the security director with the manager of Human Resources, Russo was informed that she could no longer use her office and must instead visit a lactation room in an adjacent building when it became time to express her breast milk. Traveling from one building to another would prove time consuming, Russo complains, effectively compromising her ability to breastfeed. In addition, the plaintiff maintains that after returning from her maternity leave, she was denied opportunities to advance including a chance to fill the vacancy left by the former security director, who was fired by the hospital in June of 2015.
South Jersey Sexual Harassment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates Represent Victims of Sexual Discrimination
Pursuant to the ACA, no job should stand in the way of a mother’s ability to breastfeed her child. If you or a loved one has faced opposition at work or ridicule from co-workers in connection with a desire to express breast milk, contact South Jersey sexual harassment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates. Call 215-569-1999 or submit our online form to schedule a free consultation in our Philadelphia offices, where we serve clients throughout Southeast Pennsylvania as well as New Jersey.