Teacher Fired for Pumping Breast Milk at Work (VIDEO)

Heather BurgbacherHeather Burgbacher taught for five years at the Rocky Mountain Academy in Evergreen, Colorado. She says she always had excellent reviews. When her first child was born, she pumped breast milk at work just fine, as the law for breastfeeding and working moms Colorado established in 2008 dictates.

However, with a new director, her experience with her second child has been much different. Not only does she claim she was told to switch to formula, but the ACLU is filing a lawsuit against the school on Heather's behalf because she believes that her asking for 20 minutes, three times a week to pump breast milk was a request that got her fired from her job.

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Heather says the director had to be taken through mediation to even allow her to pump. For a bit, having someone cover her 20-minute breaks was fine, but at some point, it became a problem. The director then told her she should "switch to formula."

Finally, she was laid off and claims he told her that it was because of the conflict she caused, though of course, the school says that "her job changed dramatically" and that's why she was laid off.

Honestly, it's hard enough for women who work full time, or even part time, to pump or breastfeed, or even supplement formula while at work, and breastfeed while at home ... there is already a distinct lack of support for breastfeeding moms in many workplaces, despite the laws there to at least allow them to do so. Most states requite a NON-bathroom location for the woman to pump milk, but sometimes this can mean a janitor's closet with a tiny stool, or some office with glass windows that means everyone walking by can see the mother -- and stress can inhibit letdown and therefore mean ineffective pumping.

 

For moms who return to work, any breast milk they can give their baby is still incredibly beneficial, but those who want to pump and not use formula need these laws to be able to provide enough milk for their babies. In fact, unless Heather Burgbacher had a huge frozen home supply, or made AMAZING amounts of milk in 20 minutes, I'm shocked she pumped as rarely as she did. It seems she was trying to work pumping around her work schedule. But whether you're pumping once a week or need to three times a day, just like bathroom breaks or, for some employees, cigarette breaks, it should really be a non-issue.

Every mom who WANTS to breastfeed should be able to do so, without worrying about losing her job or having to fight to even secure her law-given rights. Just like the mom who was fired for pumping at work (when she worked in a doctor's office!), this is just wrong.

Do you think her pumping had to do with her getting fired?


Image via FOX8

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