Lactation: I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

Though what this judge thought it meant is beyond me.  The awesome Barry Roseman posts a quote of the day for a bunch of us civil rights lawyer types.  Here was today’s:

The commission says that the company fired [Donnica Venters] because she wanted to pump breast-milk.  Discrimination because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical discrimination is unlawful.  Related conditions can include cramping, dizziness, and nausea while pregnant.

Even if the company’s claim that she was fired for abandonment is meant to hide the real reason — she was wanted to pump breast-milk — lactation is not pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.   She gave birth on December 11, 2009.  After that day, she was no longer pregnant and her pregnancy-related conditions ended.

Firing someone because of lactation or breast-pumping is not sex discrimination.*

Hold on.  You may have missed the last line, so I’ll re-WordPress-special-quote-function it:

Firing someone because of lactation or breast-pumping is not sex discrimination.

Makes total sense:  none of the men were permitted to lactate or pump breast milk at work either.  QED!

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* EEOC v. Housing Funding II, Ltd., 11-cv-02442 (S.D. Tex. Feb. 2, 2012), slip op. at 2.

3 thoughts on “Lactation: I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

  1. Amy Adams

    I am laughing only to keep from crying. Seriously? I thought we had gotten farther than this by now. How discouraging, and how ignorant of basic physical facts. Do you suppose this judge (male, I assume) thinks breast pumping is some kind of masturbatory activity, and thus (presumably) elective?

    Geez. Maybe only female judges should be allowed to hear pregnancy discrimination claims. Female judges who have given birth within the past 3 years even. So they don’t have a chance to forget.

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  2. Amy Adams

    Absolutely do not Google this issue. Apparently there have been NO cases where discrimination against breast feeding has been found to be sex discrimination. This is not one ignorant decision, but apparently the legal brain trust of our country has determined that since lactating women can’t prove they are treated differently from the subclass of “lactating men,” they can’t prove discrimination based on sex.

    Oh, there is no such possible subclass? Well, then you fail to meet the McDonnell-Douglas test for evidence of discriminatory intent and you are fired.

    Arrrrrrrgh.

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