It doesn’t take much to get me fired up these days BUT I think many of you will feel the disappointment that I did when I read about the following story in the Wall St Journal a couple of weeks ago. As a nursing mom (of a 6 week old) the following story is particularly painful to me but I think it is one that needs to be known by all.
The company Totes / Isotoner recently fired one of their female factory workers, Ms. Allen, for taking unscheduled breaks to go pump. She is the mother of a 5 month old baby. She reported to work at 6 am, and since her scheduled break was not until 11 she repeatedly asked her boss if she could take an earlier break to pump (she would then skip her 11am break) so that she did not have to go through the leakage and discomfort that goes along with waiting too long to pump. She was repeatedly denied. Therefore, she began taking an unscheduled break at 10 am to go pump. She was fired soon after.
Ms. Allen sued Totes / Isotoner and the Ohio Supreme Court judge who heard the case favored with the company. The judge upheld the decision and Ms. Allen is out a job!!!!!
It is so unsettling that a woman who is trying to do it all, to do what is best for her family, and still hold down a job, could be fired for this unselfish act. Ms. Allen is a factory worker. The wages she makes probably don’t come close to covering the cost of what it takes to raise a family, let alone purchase formula. And even if she had all the money in the world, she should still have the indisputable right to nurse her child with the best source of nutrition there is, possibly preventing her child from various health issues, both immediate and long-term. There are many reasons that Ms. Allen may have chosen to continue breastfeeding. For anyone who has ever used a breast pump,you will agree with me, it is not to get a “free” unsceduled break at work. The 10 minutes of “milking” is not exactly fun or relaxing. Not to mention she probably had to set up in a bathroom stall.
It is disgraceful, embarrassing, and unacceptable that a nursing mother would be put through this situation.
There are so many ways that Totes / Isotoner could have made this work. Until there is public acknowledgement that this was a huge mistake on their part, I know I’ll be spreading this story and purchasing all my holiday gifts elsewhere this year.