Breast-Feeding Mom Loses Appeal on Job Accommodation

Breast-Feeding Mom Loses Appeal on Job Accommodation J.Mittenzwey

When faced with a lawsuit, being able to demonstrate solid attempts to work with employees to provide accommodations can go a long way. Jon Hyman, a labor and employment partner at Kohrman Jackson & Krantz, discusses a sex and pregnancy discrimination suit on the Ohio Employer’s Law Blog in which the employer prevailed after attempting to resolve the employee conflict.

Hyman says plaintiff Angela Ames alleged that Nationwide Mutual Insurance discriminated against her by not providing a room where she could lactate. The company has a policy requiring employees to complete paperwork to gain badge access to its lactation rooms, which tooks three days to process. Ames never filled out the paperwork. He says a company nurse offered to expedite the request, suggesting she use a wellness room temporarily. Ames quit after being told there was a 15- to 20-minute wait for that room.

The trial court dismissed the case and the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed. Hyman says the company won because its policy was the same for every nursing mother, and it tried to accommodate Ames.

“As long as an employer can show equal enforcement of policies, coupled with an effort to work with an employee, most lawsuits will resolve in the employer’s favor,” Hyman writes.

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