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New mother loses employment discrimination suit

Many Maryland women have had to deal with the challenges of going back to work after having a baby. Being away from a baby and trying to adjust to a new schedule can be overwhelming. On top of that, employers can sometimes be less than understanding. That was how one woman felt on her first day of work after maternity leave.

The woman, an employee for insurance company Nationwide, claims she was discriminated against and forced by her boss to resign from her position. She filed a lawsuit in 2012, claiming that she was not allowed to nurse her baby, just 2 months old. The company alleges that the woman had not filled out the paperwork required to use the lactation room, but that other resources were available had the woman communicated with management.

The woman not only felt the need to express milk but was also upset over the fact that she was told to complete her backlog of work within two weeks. Her boss even gave her a pen and paper and told her to fill out her own resignation letter. The woman filed a claim for pregnancy and sex discrimination and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission backed her up.

However, the court disagreed. The court felt that Nationwide tried to accommodate the woman. She was allegedly given an extra week of maternity leave and the company claims that the woman caused her own predicament by failing to communicate with staff.

The law states that employers must provide women a place to express milk. The company should have given the woman options instead of ignoring her requests. Plus, the actions of the boss indicate harassment. The woman may want to attempt an appeal or else be thankful she is no longer in such a negative work environment.

Source: Wall Street Journal, "Appeals Court Rules Against Breastfeeding Employee Who Claimed Discrimination" Jacob Gershman, Mar. 17, 2014

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