The E.E.O.C. (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) issued a press release about an important decision coming from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
In this decision, the court held that the company unlawfully discriminated against a female employee when they fired her. In this case, the female employee was lactating or expressing milk. The female employee asked her employer if she would be able to pump breast milk at work. The company then fired the employee.
The court relied on the Title VII of Civil Rights Act, which was amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1987. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act provided that a company could not discriminate against a female worker on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the argument that “pregnancy-related conditions” ended on the day the mother gave birth. In its decision, the court explained that lactation was a physiological condition distinct to women who have undergone a pregnancy. In other words, women, not men, lactate or express milk. Therefore, a company discriminates based on sex when it fires a woman for lactating.