In 2002, the California legislature amended the Labor Code to mandate that employers provide “lactation accommodation.” Yes, we cover it all here in the Golden State. In the six years following enactment of the law, no known enforcement actions had been initiated. Hopefully the reason is because employers have been complying with the law.
Apparently at least one employer did not take note of the law. The California Labor Commissioner, Angela Bradstreet, has announced the issuance of a citation to a Santa Clara-based International Security Services, Inc. for failing to provide private accommodations for an employee to express breast milk for her newborn. The citation is the first of its kind since the law took effect in 2002. A fine of $4,000 has been assessed.
“Under the law, employers are obligated to accommodate employees who wish to provide breast milk for their infant children,” Bradstreet said. “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.”
The labor commissioner received a complaint—the first lodged as a result of the 2002 legislation—from the employee on March 4, which prompted an investigation. The investigation revealed that the employee was not provided an appropriate, designated room. Initially the room that was provided was computer server room with security cameras. This offered an inadequate level of privacy needed to perform the milk expressing process.
Labor Code sections 1030-1033 became law in 2001 and mandates every employer, regardless of size, 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.
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.
Find the press release here.