The Totes/Isotoner Corp. in suburban Cincinnati has been added to the companies which I will NOT do business. This manufacturer that pitches those handy little umbrellas, gloves and slippers to women fought all the way to the Ohio Supreme Court against a woman they fired for pumping breast milk for her 5 month old child at the point in time that her breasts were engorged, rather than on her scheduled break an hour later.
LaNisa Allen waited the five hours to pump for some time, even though she was uncomfortable and her milk was beginning to decrease in volume due to the delay. When she observed other employees taking bathroom and smoke breaks outside the designated break schedule, she decided she would pump when she needed to and take her break early. She made sure she was covered and went to the bathroom to pump. Her supervisor came into the bathroom, discovered her there and she was fired later that day.
The Totes company did not accept the premise that breastfeeding was a pregnancy or gender right under the law. The Ohio courts agree:
Allen gave birth over five months prior to her termination from [Isotoner]. Pregnant [women] who give birth and choose not to breastfeed or pump their breasts do not continue to lactate for five months. Thus, Allen's condition of lactating was not a condition relating to pregnancy but rather a condition related to breastfeeding. Breastfeeding discrimination does not constitute gender discrimination.
Bottom line for me is not that the Ohio courts and legislature are behind the times (more than half the states in the country protect a woman's right to breastfeed during work hours.) It is that Totes/Isotoner, a company which markets it products to women, would be so dispassionate about the needs of their female employee that they would spend the hundreds of thousands of dollars it cost them to take this case on.
Will the company come tumbling down if the break schedule is adjusted to the needs of a new mother.? Will chaos ensue? Corporations can and do survive with respectful, moral and common sense human resource policies. I prefer to give my business to those companies.