HR Strange But True!
July 24, 2008

The state of California has accused a company of violating state law by designating a computer server room (complete with security cameras) as the location where a female employee could express milk for her newborn.

In California, state law requires every employer to provide a reasonable amount of time to accommodate expressing of breast milk and to make reasonable efforts to provide the employee with the use of a room or other location, other than a bathroom, in close proximity to the employees work area to express milk in private.

The state accused Santa Clara-based International Security Services, Inc., of failing to provide private accommodations for the employee. The state said the company initially provided a computer server room with security cameras as the room where she could express milk.

The labor commissioner received a complaint from the employee on March 4, which prompted an investigation. After the investigation, the state issued a citation, the first of its kind since the law took effect in 2002. The state also assessed a fine of $4,000.

"Under the law, employers are obligated to accommodate employees who wish to provide breast milk for their infant children," said California Labor Commissioner Angela Bradstreet. "This employer failed to provide a reasonable amount of break time and a private room for an employee to express milk for her baby as required."

Bradstreet urged women who are not being provided appropriate accommodations for milk expressing to contact her office and file a complaint.

"This is not the type of law that we can address with enforcement sweeps and filing a complaint is important so that we can correct the violation and educate the employer," added Bradstreet.

Source: California Department of Industrial Relations

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