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Texas Judge: Firing Woman For Breast Pumping OK

Texas Judge: Firing Woman For Breast Pumping OK

A judge in Houston ruled that a Texas woman who was fired for pumping while at work is not sex discrimination since “lactation is not pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.”

Donnicia Venters, 30, went on maternity leave pursuant to her company’s policy of permitting employees to take open-ended leave for surgeries or other medical conditions. Venters said she “consistently” kept in touch with management to assure them she would be returning to work and said the president promised to keep a spot for her until her return.

When she called the president to schedule her return to work and asked if it would be okay for her to use a back room to breast pump she was notified that her spot had been filled.

Venters filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claiming she had been discriminated against as a woman and a mother.

According to the suit the floor manager told the president of the company that Venters was contemplating bringing a breast pump to the office which caused the president to respond “”No. Maybe she needs to stay home longer.”

The company claimed they hired a replacement for Venters because they assumed she wasn’t coming back to work after the birth of her baby and the judge agreed holding that even if that reason were false, “[T]he law does not punish lactation discrimination.”

It strains to reason how firing a woman because she wants to pump breast milk is not motivated by her gender. Texas has a pregnancy discrimination law that requires certain public employers to provide some accommodations. But those protections do not extend to private employers like this case.

Only in Texas will a judge decide that forcing women to have ultrasounds against their will is perfectly acceptable, but accommodating breast feeding is not.

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170 comments

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11:02AM PDT on Apr 22, 2012

Marginalizing the act of breastfeeding or breast pumping is the summum of male chauvinism. There is no reason why a woman should have to sit in a toilet to breastfeed her infant or pump her breastmilk. Legislators believe that women should be forced to carry pregnancies to term, and then these same lawmakers shriek when they see a woman's nipple being used for its intended purpose. Make no mistake about it people, these folks are doing their best to send us hurtling back into the Victorian era. Any third world country is more evolved about breastfeeding than the United States. I won't even comment on the blatant sexual discrimination involved in taking away this woman's job because she had a baby, it speaks for itself.

12:25AM PST on Feb 25, 2012

@Jane R:

It's just too bad that your "beloved" state won't just secede, with their backward views and interpretations of the law.

You gave us Bush, you tried to give us Perry ... and dagblast it, we won't stand for it!

BTW, take Oklahoma with you.

1:29PM PST on Feb 24, 2012

Yes, good old Texas just another way to keep women down. She actually tried to work with a company of men that are not educated to except that a woman could handle several jobs while they are unable to handle their own job. Rather sad & mean both from the company & judge. But after living in Texas this is the fight that all women face every day.

7:52PM PST on Feb 23, 2012

This is just another case where the law can't interfere because there is no law governing this situation.
I'm sick of all you people out there putting down the state of Texas. No state is perfect. They all have flaws in the law. The people living in all states have flaws. So LAY OFF MY STATE!!!!

2:07PM PST on Feb 21, 2012

Let me get this straight. Some Texans are doing all they can to force women to give birth rather than an abortion (which they are also trying to criminalize again) but if a woman DOES give birth and wants to breast feed --which is much healthier for the infant -- which means she has to collect the milk during work hours, she can't? Does this mean these Texans think women should stay home once they have children?

What if she's single and needs to work?
What if her partner doesn't make enough to support her and her children alone?
Will she get support to allow her to remain at home?

The answers are pretty clear.

We don't care
We don't care
Government support? No, the bitch is on her own

11:10PM PST on Feb 20, 2012

Wow, when will men understand that it really isn't their job to control women and keep them in serfdom? How does a judge, any judge, find that this is not pregnancy related discrimination?

11:46PM PST on Feb 17, 2012

Was she fired for squirting milk on company property?

4:55PM PST on Feb 15, 2012

Wow, the article left out too much info to know what really happened. However, if the issue isn't covered in the law, then it's not covered in the law.

1:29PM PST on Feb 15, 2012

And these fools wonder why religion gets a bad name.

11:20AM PST on Feb 14, 2012

If she's breast pumping in private (bathroom, etc.), this should be ok. If she is doing it in her office where anyone walking by can see, then I would have to agree that it's inappropriate and unprofessional.

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