[author: Beth P. Zoller, XpertHR Legal Editor]
California employers should be prepared to extend even greater protection to breastfeeding women in the workplace in light of legislation recently signed by Governor Jerry Brown explicitly prohibiting discrimination against breastfeeding women. Specifically, AB 2386 amends the California Fair Employment and Housing Act and clarifies that the term sex includes breastfeeding or medical conditions related to breastfeeding in addition to gender, pregnancy, childbirth, and medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth. +2011 Bill Text CA A.B. 2386; +2011 Bill Tracking CA A.B. 2386. The law will take effect on January 1, 2013.
This new law supplements existing California law addressing breastfeeding in the workplace and heightens employer obligations. California law provides that a mother may breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, except the private home or residence of another, where the mother and the child are otherwise authorized to be present. Civil Code § 43.3. California law further requires that employers provide breastfeeding mothers with a breastfeeding break as well as a room within close proximity to the employee's working area to express milk in private. +Cal. Labor Code §§ 1030 et seq.
In light of this new law, California employers should revisit and if needed, revise their workplace policies and practices to prohibit discrimination, harassment and retaliation against breastfeeding women. Employers should also be prepared to make reasonable accommodations. It is important that all supervisors and managers are aware of this new law and work to accommodate the needs of breastfeeding women and ensure that they are not discriminated against.
Employee Management > EEO - Discrimination: California