Last week on Moms Pump Here, we talked about the five reactions many women receive when asking for a place to pump milk when they’re away from their babies. Last month, Assistant Public Defender Marissa Glatzer was representing a client in a DUI trial in Miami and she received response #2:
“Hmmmm, good question. I don't think so. Have a nice day.” Employers are usually not expecting a woman to desperately ask for a place to pump and they haven't been sufficiently trained in answering the question.
The surprising part of her experience is that she received this response from the judge presiding over the case, Judge Seraphin. She had a reasonable expectation that the judge would see the law is on the side of the woman who needs to use her breast pump, but that wasn’t the case here.
Ms. Glatzer had requested a 15-minute break from trial every three hours, and the request was made a day before the trial was scheduled to begin. She explained that she had a five-month-old daughter who needed her milk and she would need to take short breaks every 3-4 hours in order to pump the milk for her.
Seraphin first denied her request. When Glatzer objected, Judge Seraphin then told her to put someone else on the case. (See response #2, perhaps he thought this was a good option?) Ultimately, Administrative Judge Sam Slom intervened, called a meeting between the two to share their mutual concerns and Seraphin apologized to Glatzer for his reaction to her request.
What can we learn from this incident? We pumping women must know our rights so we can help educate and enlighten our employers. Section 7 of 1938’s Fair Labor Standards Act indicates the following, and we must assert this to our employers and co-workers:
An employer shall provide -- a reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child's birth each time such employee has need to express the milk; and a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.
Please refer to this section of the FLSA when speaking with your boss, your co-worker, your HR representative, or your officemate when you need a place (and time) to pump.
Meanwhile, we at Moms Pump Here will work on finding locations for moms (lawyers, defendants, plaintiffs, judges, jurors) to use their pumps while they’re at court.