Bill Would Expand Female Employees’ Rights Regarding Breastfeeding In The Workplace

On January 9, 2014, the Senate reintroduced a bill (S218), which would amend the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination to make it a civil rights violation for an employee to be fired or otherwise discriminated against because of breastfeeding or expressing milk during breaks. The bill also would require employers to provide reasonable break time each day to an employee, as needed, for the employee to express breast milk (as long as it would not unduly disrupt the employer’s operations). The bill would further require employers to make reasonable efforts to provide a location (other than a toilet stall) where the employee can express milk in private, and imposes a civil penalty (from $500 to $1,000, depending on number offenses) for failing to do so. (It should be noted, however, that New Jersey employers already are subject to similar requirements under 2010 amendments to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.) Previous versions of this bill were unsuccessful in the 2002, 2004, 2008, 2010, and 2012 legislative sessions.

Note: This article was published in the February 2014 issue of the New Jersey eAuthority.