A new mom was fired from her job after she refused to return to work after maternity leave when she was told she was not able totack an extra 15 minutes onto her break in order to breastfeed her baby. Kate Abra Frederick
worked as a child support officer with the New Hampshire Department of
Health and Human Services, and normally, she was allowed a 15-minute
break. But being that her son refused to take a bottle, Kate wanted a
little more time so she could run over to a daycare that was two minutes
from her job. Her employer said no, and now Kate has filed suit with
the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
think that moms deserve special treatment or extra rights just because
they have kids. But I do think that, while we're constantly being
bombarded with messages of how "breast is best", the United States sure doesn't make it easy for nursing moms. Especially nursing moms who have jobs.
The pressure of returning to work after you have a baby is enormous.
It's a low-grade anxiety that constantly sits in the back of your mind
during your maternity leave. And I can't imagine how a mother whose baby refuses a bottle
would feel. The stress is unimaginable. Some women are blessed with
employers who are understanding and helpful to breastfeeding mothers,
but many aren't. And in the case of Kate Abra Fredrick, she basically
was forced to choose between her job and her child. And when faced with
those two options, the decision is easy. But it had to have been
If Kate's employer had granted her the extra 15 minutes
and she began taking advantage of it, that wouldn't have been right. I
assume her intent in asking was to help make her return -- for both
herself and her baby -- easier. When her son eventually learned to eat
from a bottle, I'm guessing she would have just given him pumped breast
milk. Offering no leeway on something like this is just ridiculous and
gave her no other choice but to quit. She was asking for 15 minutes, not
Breast may be best, but it sure isn't easiest. Wow.
Do you think Kate should have been granted the extra 15 minutes?
It would have been nice for her employer to allow her the fifteen minutes, but it's not required. She should have given up part of her lunch in order to make the time up she's be missing. As a nation we need to make it a little easier for breast feeding moms.
If you can't do the job you were hired for then you get fired, it's just that simple. Requiring extra break time, for whatever reason, is a breach in your employment, "contract". Employers have certain needs and guidelines and there is no need to bend the rules.