Breastfeeding discrimination has cost KFC $A2.1 million after it failed to provide a worker a place to breastfeed or express milk.
A court ruled the fast-food outlet discriminated against Autumn Lampkins by making it so hard for her to breastfeed, that her milk dried up.
Breastfeeding discrimination costs KFC
Lampkins told the district court in Delaware KFC did not allow her to breastfeed as often as she had to.
Additionally, she said the company failed to provide her with privacy to pump breast milk because of windows and surveillance cameras.
A jury subsequently found she had suffered harassment and gender discrimination.
Therefore it awarded her $A35,000 compensation, and $A2.1 million in punitive damages.
KFC first hired Lampkins a few months after she gave birth in 2014.
However, management only allowed to express milk once during her shift, instead of every two hours as recommended.
After first pumping in a toilet cubicle, Lampkins’s manager directed her to do it in his office where a surveillance camera is located.
The company then transferred the young mother to another store, where management demoted her.
Co-workers complained that the company gave her special treatment by being allowed “breaks” to express breast milk.
Lawyer Patrick Gallagher described the court’s decision as a “great day for women’s rights”.
“It was a great and long fought victory.
“The jury sent a message that employers cannot treat lactating women differently in the workplace.”
What the experts say
Miles Heffernan from Discrimination Claims say it is unlawful to discriminate against someone on the basis of breastfeeding.
“You cannot treat someone less favourably if they are pregnant, breastfeeding or expressing milk,” he said.
“So, managers can’t ask a woman to leave their cafe or a restaurant for breastfeeding their baby.
“And furthermore, she cannot be refused employment, or demoted or sacked, because she is breastfeeding.”
Mr Heffernan said women can breastfeed in public places, for example, on public transport, or in shopping centres or hotels.
“Most mothers work out where and how they can feed their babies when they are out, so that they are comfortable, and that includes when they are at work” he said.
“Employers need to allow mothers the time to breastfeed or express milk, and they must provide a quite private place to allow them to do this.
“Employers who fail to accommodate young mothers will end up in court and paying a huge compensation bill, just like KFC.”
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