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Teacher claims she was let go for pumping breast milk

The difficulty of balancing motherhood with work responsibilities isn't always easy. Just to take one example, with recent research showing the benefits of breastfeeding infants, many mothers want to continue that practice beyond maternity leave. Unfortunately for many of them, this can be a challenge.

The Wall Street Journal reports that a public school teacher from Colorado was fired for insisting on her right to pump breast milk at work. She has filed a suit against the district alleging discrimination.

The teacher reportedly works at a charter school in Jefferson County, Colorado, and alleges in her complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that the school failed to renew her contract this year because of conflicts over her breast pumping schedule. That despite the fact that she had received consistent workplace reviews over a number of years.

According to her complaint, her pumping schedule caused her to miss class for around 20 minutes several times per week. During that time students were asked to do supervised deskwork. The situation reportedly sparked some controversy among the faculty.

According to the school district, the woman's firing doesn't have anything to do with her breast pumping.

Under federal law, employers are required to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for one year after a child's birth. Under Colorado law, employers must attempt to provide a room or other location besides a toilet stall, in which en employee is able to express breast milk privately.

There are many challenges to being a working mother. Struggling to find time and space to provide their newborn with optimal nutrition shouldn't be one of them.

Source: Wall Street Journal, "Breastfeeding Employee Alleges Discrimination," Nathan Koppel, August 16, 2011.

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