When a New Jersey mother requested breaks at work in order to pump breast milk for her newborn daughter, she was fired, the mom claims.
Since giving birth to her daughter in May, Ariana Gossard was ready to return to work as a front desk receptionist at the Hampton Inn in Bordentown. But last week she was fired because the hotel said there was no position available that could accommodate her requested breaks.
“The fact that I got fired for trying to do one of the best things I could do for my daughter is pretty messed up,” Gossard said.
Her maternity leave started in March because of complications with her pregnancy and two months later on May 4th, her daughter was delivered via cesarean section. Because she needed to recover, she needed to extend her maternity leave from six weeks to eight.
After Gossard’s temporary disability ran out on June 28th, she was still protected for 12-weeks under the Family Medical Leave Act which began the next day.
At the end of July, Gossard contacted management to see if she could resume work in August. She told them she would need to take two or three 15-20 minute breaks over the course of her 8-hour shift in order to pump breast milk to take home to her daughter.
The manager said that the front desk reception job doesn’t accommodate breaks and he would need two staffers at the desk in order to accommodate her request.
Gossard said she would be willing to work part-time or take a job in housekeeping. They never called her back. When she reached out more than a week later, they said there were no positions available for this new mother.
The 2010 Affordable Care Act states employers must provide “reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child’s birth.”
Under this law, employers, “are also required to provide a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion.”
Gossard turned to Facebook to air her frustration in a lengthy post.
“So now on Friday, August 7, 2015 I am unemployed due to being a breastfeeding mother who wants her breaks during work to express breast milk,” she wrote. “How unfair is that? I bring a beautiful baby into this world, want to feed her the best way I can and in return get fired from my job!”
“What just happened to me was 100% illegal and people need to be aware,” she wrote. “Share this post & help get my story out.”
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