ACLU, Breasts, Education / Schools, Feminism, Food, Gender, Kids, Women's Issues

Udderly Deplorable

When I was a child, my mom’s friend visited the house and brought her newborn baby with her. Without warning, the woman whipped out her boob and began feeding the newborn in front of me and all of God’s creation. I stared for an uncomfortably long ten seconds at the parasitic orgy, then quickly scampered behind the curtains located less than five feet from the feeding frenzy. As I stood behind the curtains, my face beet red with embarrassment, my mother and her friend tried to coax me out, assuring me that everything would be okay. After an unusually long time behind those curtains, I stomped past the horror and made a beeline to the kitchen. I had to conquer my fear. I was also determined to salvage what was left of my 14th birthday party.

Segue.

And so it was that a lady filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, claiming that she was fired from her job as a teacher because she had to leave the classroom to suck milk out of her boob.

Moooooo-re after the jump!

The lactating lassie’s name is Heather Burgbacherand yesterday, the WSJ Law Blog picked up her story of sorrow. Apparently, Heather was chugging right along in her duties as a teacher when she was unceremoniously dumped. In her EEOC complaint, she claims that the school district failed to renew her contract because she left her classroom three times a week for 20 minutes at a time to evacuate her moo juice. It’s this claim that leads to the following archetypal ACLU utterance:

“In order to achieve full equality for women, our workplace policies must take into account that breastfeeding is a reality in the lives of many women workers,” said Galen Sherwin, staff attorney with the ACLU Women’s Rights Project.

I’m tempted to lob some minor league snark at this grandiloquence, but I think this is probably true. True equality won’t be achieved until we make certain accommodations for new moms. In the alternative, a dystopian future where men give birth like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Junior might also achieve the same effect. I’m really just spitballing here.

The WSJ post notes that there is a pretty solid amount of law on the topic of breastfeeding at work. In addition to Obamacare’s requirement of break time for the activity, Colorado has its own regulations devoted to milking:

Burgbacher’s complaint cites the Workplace Accommodations for Nursing Mothers Act, a 2008 Colorado law that provides that employers must try to provide a room or other location, other than a toilet stall, where an employee can express breast milk in privacy.

I’m unclear on why a toilet stall is not adequate enough for this task. Those militant milkers have no problem giving you the stink eye while they sit on the bench in the mall with their pup dangling. Don’t know why a bathroom stall would be any more demeaning. At the very least, a bathroom stall protects dudes like me who… well, are juvenile pricks hellbent on marginalizing a natural and beautiful and life-affirming striptease. And obviously it is my own discomfort that is the most important consideration here.

It is probably important to note that this case is no different than any other employment discrimination case. The employer denies that its decision was based at all on the facts alleged by Ms. Burgbacher. It was the general sucking at her job that did her in, not the specific… erm, sucking.

In the comments, feel free to discuss boobs, what kind of milk you prefer (I’m a skim man, myself), women’s equality, the hottest teacher you ever had, or this absolutely true, no bulls**t email sent from Lat when he found out I’d be writing this post:

“That would be DDelicious.”

Oof. That guy. The worst.

Breastfeeding Employee Alleges Discrimination [WSJ Law Blog]

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