HEY! Which one of you just threw that breast pump at my head?
[annnnnnnd cue music]
** Dons sensitivity invisibility cloak **
Nearly two years ago, I wrote here about how the The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act amended the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to require companies to afford employees a “reasonable break time” in a private room (but, not a bathroom — ick!) to “express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child’s birth.”
But if an employer violates the law by not provide what the FLSA now requires, can an employee sue? The answer, according to an Iowa federal court is: Corn! No.
In Salz v. Casey’s Marketing Company, the court held that since: (1) employers are not required to compensate employees while they are expressing milk; and (2) the FLSA limits recovery to unpaid wages, there is nothing for a private litigant, deprived of a place to express breast milk, to recover from an employer. Plus, the Department of Labor, in this Guidance, limits an employee to filing claims directly with the Department.
For some tips on what employers can do to avoid the wrath of the Department of Labor, check out my tips.
UPDATE: The plaintiff’s FLSA retaliation claim survived the employer’s motion to dismiss.