If you have welcomed a new baby into your family, you may be anxious to end your family leave and return to work. Along with the normal stress that comes with leaving your baby and rejoining the workforce, you may have some anxiety about expressing breast milk during the workday.
In Oklahoma, most employers must accommodate nursing mothers. If your employer fails to do so, you may have grounds to file a complaint. Knowing your rights under both state and federal law, though, may help to put your mind at ease as you continue with your career.
Oklahoma law encourages private employers to provide accommodations for nursing mothers. This includes giving nursing mothers reasonable break time to express milk. If you work for a state agency or in a state-owned facility, though, accommodating the expression of breast milk is likely mandatory for your employer.
If the Fair Labor Standards Act applies to your employer, which it does to many employers in Oklahoma, your employer must accommodate the expression of milk. To do so, your employer must give you reasonable break time as frequently as you need. Furthermore, you must have access to a private place to pump. This place cannot be a restroom.
If you ask for break time or other reasonable accommodations to express breast milk, your employer likely cannot retaliate against you. That is, your employer cannot take adverse employment action against you for exercising your legal right to express breast milk.
While termination of employment is a common type of impermissible workplace retaliation, your employer does not have to go that far to run afoul of the law.
Punitively changing your work schedule, excluding you from work events, removing or adding job duties or any other retaliatory actions may be sufficient to support a retaliation claim.