FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New York Civil Rights Lawyer Eric Sanders, Esq., of The Sanders Firm, P.C., announces New York City Teacher Shannon O’Leary files federal complaint against the DOE for allegedly refusing to accommodate her legal right to ‘Express Milk’
NEW YORK, April 25, 2020 – Today, after repeatedly disregarding her legal right to ‘express’ milk,’ Mrs. O’Leary on behalf of herself and others similarly situated files a federal lawsuit.
According to the federal complaint, the New York City Department of Education failed and refused to provide her and other similarly situated female employees who are nursing mothers with a proper location to express milk.
O’Leary alleges that under The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148, known as the “Affordable Care Act”) amended section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) to require employers to provide “reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express the milk.”
Under the Affordable Care Act, employers are also required to provide “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.” See 29 U.S.C. 207(r), says O’Leary.
Under the Affordable Care Act, the FLSA requirement of break time for nursing mothers to express breast milk does not preempt State Laws that provide greater protections to employees (for example, providing compensated break time, providing break time for exempt employees, or providing break time beyond 1 year after the child’s birth), according to the complaint.
O’Leary claims that under New York State Labor Law Section 206-c guarantees nursing mothers break time to pump breast milk at work.
According to the complaint, the New York City Department of Education as an employer is required but, is not in compliance with the Affordable Care Act or New York State Labor Law Section 206-c.
O’Leary alleges that the New York City Department of Education as an employer is required but, DOES NOT inform female employees who are nursing mothers returning to work following the birth of a child about their right to take unpaid leave for pumping breast milk by placing a public poster in the workplace, promulgate a policy within the workplace or employee handbook or notifying the individual female employees in writing.
O’Leary claims that on each occasion when she returned from maternity leave to the Edwin Markham Intermediate School 51 located in Staten Island, the New York City Department of Education have failed and refused to provide her and other similarly situated female employees who are nursing mothers with a proper location to express milk she has experienced severe engorgement, Mastitis, emotional distress and a significant reduction of her milk supply.
Additionally, the New York City Department of Education has failed and refused to provide her and other similarly situated female employees who are nursing mothers with a proper location to express milk she has to pump in an available bathroom, transgender student bathroom, empty classroom or other office area, according to the claims.
On more than one occasion, O’Leary claims that while meeting with Principal Nicholas Mele and Assistant Principal Jesse Ann Pirraglia have told her “There are no areas available, do it in the bathroom.”
On other occasions, O’Leary claims that while expressing milk, co-workers and students interrupted her.
“The legislators decided it’s good public policy to protect the legal rights of nursing mothers in the workplace and with this and similar legal actions we intend to hold employers accountable for failing to follow the law,” said lawyer Eric Sanders.
Eric Sanders, Esq., of The Sanders Firm, P.C., filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Docket No.: 20 cv 1911, on April 25, 2020.
ABOUT THE SANDERS FIRM, P.C.
The Sanders Firm, P.C. offers those in the New York City area legal services related and connected to civil rights, civil service rights, criminal law and discrimination. We firmly believe in everyone’s individual rights that are described and guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America. We understand that our freedoms and liberties are sacrosanct and that they have been won in many and various hard-fought battles. We are committed in every way to protecting your civil rights.
Eric Sanders, Esq.
President and Owner, The Sanders Firm, P.C.
Business Phone: 212-652-2782