Woman Fired for Requesting Breastfeeding Rights Okayed because “Men Lactate, Too”
For the 15 months or so that I've written for EverydayFamily, I've gotten a pretty good feel for what moms are passionate about. One thing that seems to be a common theme is the right to accommodations for breastfeeding and pumping. I think it's perfectly fine, but there are others who don't necessarily agree.
Like the department head and supervisor at a Nationwide Insurance branch. You know, the same insurance company that released the depressing Super Bowl ad about the dead kid.
Yup. Same people.
Yeah, these employees weren't too thrilled about the whole breastfeeding thing — the feeding a human child thing.
Angela Ames, a former employee at Nationwide, was just returning from an eight-week hiatus because of the birth of her second child. For obvious reasons, she needed somewhere to pump, so she started asking around for where within the office she would be allowed to do that. So she tracked down her department head and asked where she could pump, and was told it was “not her job,” meaning, “not my problem.”
With absolutely no help from her department head, she was sent to the nurse, who informed her that they did indeed have a place for her to pump but that she wasn't allowed to use it for several more days because there was still some paperwork that she needed to fill out — paperwork that was related to her maternity leave and her return.
To make matters even worse, the nurse (the nurse, for crying out loud!) sent her to a room that was the regular hangout place for employees that decided to roll into work with a bit of a cold or a bit of the flu — really any sickness — which, 1) is in no way fit for a breastfeeding mother and 2) was occupied by someone else at the time.
By this time, Angela's options were becoming, like herself, exhausted. So she decided to go to her department head and solicit help. And the response? Anyone? Yeah. She was told, and I quote, “Just go home to be with your babies.” (Not to mention that the company informed her they would be holding her accountable for the eight weeks' worth of work that she missed while she was with her baby. In two weeks' time.)
To further the help, the department head helped her write a resignation letter, presumably so the company wouldn't have to shell out anything that resembled a severance package.
When she took this to the Supreme Court, they said two things:
- You didn't even get fired from your job; you resigned.
- Even if you had been fired, there's no way it could be challenged legally as sex discrimination because men can lactate, too.
Men lactate, too.
With that being said, I just want to open it up for you? What do you think about this? Fair? Unfair? Absolutely absurd?