Fired for Pumping at Work ... at a Doctor's Office!

Michele Zipp

you're fired noteAn NYC woman was fired for pumping at work and, get this, she works at a doctor's office. This kind of thing enrages me.

Yadiris Rivera was a receptionist at Medical Imaging of Manhattan -- where they do ultrasounds and mammography -- for almost six years. She returned from maternity leave in April of last year and was forced to pump in the bathroom. Her employer also told her to switch her baby to formula and was pressured to stop pumping when her daughter turned 1.

I pump at work and it isn't easy, but it's a commitment I made and one I've made with my twins in mind. It's not like I'm on a smoke break enjoying a coffee and chatting up a coworker. Pumping is seriously business. It's feeding your child kind of serious business people shouldn't mess with.

I'm happy to report that the New York Civil Liberties Union has filed a charge with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on this mom's behalf.

"I was just trying to do what's best for my baby, and I was badgered, bullied, and eventually fired because of it," Rivera said. "No one should have to go through what I went through."

Her employer was required to accommodate her pumping schedule under New York state's labor law. The law says that breastfeeding mothers have the right to pump milk at work for three years after giving birth. In addition, they should accommodate an employee's request for a private place to pump and they can't discriminate or retaliate against women who assert their rights to pump.

And in case you're wondering about this mom's performance at work, all her reviews were positive and she received performance-based raises from 2004 through December of 2009.

It was only after she asserted her right to pump at work that her supervisors began reprimanding her for conduct that other employees were permitted to do.

As her daughter's first birthday started to roll around, her bosses put more pressure on her to stop pumping when that date came, which was against her wishes, but she needed to keep her job, so she began weaning to meet that deadline.

Only to be fired the day after her daughter's first birthday.

"There are laws out there to protect people like me," Rivera said. "Women need to know their rights and employers need to learn the law."

I really hope justice prevails here. This makes me want to go into this office and pump right there in the waiting room in protest. Who's with me?

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