I am a first-time mom from Philadelphia who nurses full-time when with my little boy (am, pm, all night, all weekend) and pumps 3x a day 9-5.
I am aware that the laws vary by state but I wanted to share something with you and get your input. I am a full-time employee who has her own office. My workplace put a lock on my door so I have been able to express milk since returning to work when my son was 3 months old (he is now 8.5 months). I am very gracious for this situation. Where it gets tricky is that my boss has been repeatedly inappropriate by rolling her eyes or saying "Oh gosh," if breastfeeding comes up in conversation. There is a conference coming up that I asked if it was imperative that I attend because it will be two full (unanticipated) days of travel for two days of meetings and my son cannot come with me for various reasons. I was extremely stressed about the situation (had 50 oz, needed 150 oz) and so I inquired if it was mandatory. This led to outrageous conflict and her telling me that, "You can't keep using breastfeeding as an excuse," but I never said that I would not attend. (I am registered for the conference, but I did not know at 3 months that I would still be nursing at 8.5 months and I am not willing to compromise my nursing relationship).
This happened before when there was an option to attend a morning or evening workshop months ago - I chose morning to be home to nurse my son at night. She saw that as me using breastfeeding as an excuse to get out of a mandatory employee workshop (but I went to the morning workshop).
After much turmoil, I resigned yesterday, for a multitude of reasons. I've been longing for more time with my little guy and my husband is traveling a lot (so it adds stress), I'd like to find something part-time for now, I'm stagnant in my current position and the list goes on. I'm energized and excited and my ideas keep getting crushed in the workplace by my boss. Plus this employer gave me so much grief with maternity leave (and are treating a pregnant colleague terribly) that I would never be pregnant here again. The change was inevitable, but I'm upset that it happened this way.
Do you think this is something HR should know about before I depart?
Your support and/or input is much appreciated.
I would research your state laws and make HR aware of the situation. I would probably put it in writing, so it cannot be miscontrued when repeated later. Your boss's behavior was/is reprehensible and I can only hope she will be reprimanded sternly for her actions. Expecting you to attend an unplanned overnight trip is unfair. I have attended overnight conferences since my DS was born in April, but it took extensive planning, and DH had to take vacation time to stay with the baby at the hotel so we could continue to nurse. I am not opposed to accomodating overnight work trips as long as they are planned well in advance-- you should have been afforded that opportunity. I'm sorry you had to leave you job under such circumstances, but your little guy will certainly benefit from his mama's strenght!
Best wishes to you :)
Married to overworked DH since 2003, happily mama to DD (01/09) and DS (4/12)
I agree in principle with the other members. The only concern I have is that you want to make sure you remain in good standing with this employer so that you can get a good reference for future work.
In many places there are policies related to "hostile work environments" that might apply here. While nursing moms are not a 'protected class', your perception is that she regularly said things that caused a lot of discomfort and seemed to be condescending and well, hostile. Most employers are trying to go in the other direction, to become more supportive of breastfeeding, if only because they know it will reduce their health care claims and therefore health care premiums down the road. So I would think that HR would be interested in this. I guess I would just be careful about how you present it.
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Katie - Married to Mike 06/02/01, Mom to Sydney Anne born 11/21/09 and Alice Maeryn & Oliver Thomas born 04/24/13
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