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Milk Money
International Security Services Inc., based in Santa Clara, is the recipient of California's first citation – carrying a fine of $4,000 – for failing to provide private accommodations for an employee to express breast milk for her newborn.

The citation, issued by California's Labor Commissioner in the summer of 2008, was the first reported administrative penalty since the lactation accommodation law took effect in 2002.

California's Labor Code requires every employer to provide new mothers a reasonable amount of time for expressing breast milk. Additionally, employers must make reasonable efforts to provide employees with the use of a room, other than a bathroom, to express milk in private.

"Under the law, employers are obligated to accommodate employees who wish to provide breast milk for their infant children," said Labor Commissioner Angela Bradstreet. "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 began an investigation after receiving a complaint from the employee on March 4. The investigation revealed the employee was not provided an appropriate room. Instead, company managers suggested the new mom use a computer server room that was monitored by security cameras.

According to the Labor Commissioner, "this offered an inadequate level of privacy needed to perform the milk expressing process."

The Labor Commissioner urged women who are not being provided appropriate accommodations to contact her office. "This is not the type of law that we can address with enforcement sweeps," said Bradstreet. "Filing a complaint is important so that we can correct the violation and educate the employer."

For information on this topic tailored to your company profile, request Memos:
5615 Accommodating Pregnancy & Maternity
2320 Duty to Provide Rest Breaks
2002 Employment Law Update for 2002

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