Randi Allred was working for a Home Depot in Nampa when she claims when wasn’t allowed to “take breaks to pump breast milk” after her maternity leave. She has since filed a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit against her now former employer.
Breastfeeding is hard enough without the extra pressure and stresses that fall into the picture when a woman returns to work from maternity leave. Even though many pediatricians continue to recommend that new mothers attempt to breastfeed their babies until they’re at least six months old, many workplaces make it difficult on women to find a place to pump and store milk. Fortunately, over the past few years, laws and legal protections have been introduced to help protect breastfeeding women in the workplace, but discrimination and retaliation against women for even requesting breaks and a space to pump breast milk still happen. For example, Randi Allred was working for a Home Depot in Nampa when she claims when wasn’t allowed to “take breaks to pump breast milk” after her maternity leave. She has since filed a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit against her now former employer.
Before filing the lawsuit, Allred “worked at Home Depot for four years, including in Meridian and Nampa.” However, shortly after returning to work after the birth of her child, she began feeling “compelled to quit, citing intolerable work conditions.” According to the lawsuit, Allred “was not allowed to take breaks to pump her breast milk despite providing her supervisor with a medical note that recommended the breaks.”
To Allred, the regular breaks to pump breast milk for her son, Cayden, were especially important because he was “diagnosed with soy and cow milk allergies and needed to be breastfed.” Unfortunately, Allred alleges that her “manager at the time, Josh Hazlett, did not let her take breaks to pump her breast milk for storage and scheduled her for 10-hour shifts, seven days a week.” She even allegedly attempted to negotiate her pumping schedule with her manager, but “Hazlett refused to accommodate her need for regular breaks,” which is a “violation of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act,” according to the lawsuit.
What was so frustrating to Allred was that she even had a doctor’s note that supported her “need for additional breaks to pump her breast milk,” which were to occur every three hours for about 30 minutes. When she submitted her doctor’s note to Home Depot’s Medical Health Management after returning from maternity leave, she was instructed to “work with Hazlett to incorporate the accommodation in her schedule,” according to the lawsuit. However, the manager “denied the request,” and “was unwilling to discuss any modifications to her schedule and did not respond to her texts requesting accommodations.”
As a result, she had no choice but to continue working, despite the pain and discomfort that comes with going long periods of time without pumping milk or breastfeeding, and eventually, her milk “began drying up.” When this started to happen, Allred arranged a meeting with Hazlett on Jan. 27 to explain what was happening and mentioned her discomfort. During the meeting, Hazlett “expressed no real understanding or concern for the seriousness of her condition.”
Seeing no other alternative, Allred quit her job on January 30. As a result of her troubles, she is seeking “$75,000 in damages and $2,340 in accrued vacation wages that she claims the company has refused to pay her.”
At the moment, Home Depot has denied the allegations, and has “until Dec. 19 to respond to the complaint.”