- Labcorp has published and advertised to employees an updated lactation break policy following a U.S. Department of Labor investigation, DOL said Jan. 4.
- DOL determined that supervisors at a Lynwood, California, location failed to provide a space for pumping that met the Fair Labor Standards Act’s requirements; specifically, an employee using the offered space was twice interrupted by co-workers. Labcorp agreed to provide a private space with a notification on the door to prevent intrusions and also revised its relevant policy.
- "Employers who fail to provide designated space as the law requires are creating a barrier for women willing and ready to return to the workforce," said Wage and Hour Division District Director Richard Blaylock in a statement. "Employers must provide nursing mothers a place — even a temporary one — to express milk."
The FLSA requires that employers with 50 or more employees provide reasonable break time for an employee to express milk for a nursing child for one year after the child’s birth "each time such employee has need to express the milk." Employers also must provide a place to do so that is not a bathroom and is shielded from view and free from intrusion from co-workers and the public, the law says.
Those requirements have been in place for more than a decade, and DOL has enforced them regularly. Bank of America agreed to make adjustments similar to Labcorp’s in 2020 following a DOL investigation; a year earlier, a Texas counseling company agreed in a settlement with the agency to pay $22,000 in back wages and damages to a nursing mother who quit after being forced to express milk in a parking lot accessible to other employees and the public.
Beyond compliance with federal (and sometimes state or local) law, support for breastfeeding and chestfeeding employees can go a long way toward improving equity and inclusion at work, experts previously told HR Dive.