A former Kentucky Fried Chicken employee was awarded over $1.5 million on Friday in a breastfeeding lawsuit. Autumn Lampkins of Delaware claimed that she was demoted after trying to pump breast milk during a shift.
Hired just months after giving birth to her son in 2014, Lampkins, who had been told that her nursing wouldn’t be an issue, was only allowed to pump once per 10-hour shift. The lawsuit also explains that she was forced to do so in an office with a surveillance camera, where she didn’t have any privacy.
As a result, the franchise in Camden, Del. where the incident occurred has been ordered to pay Lampkins $1.5 million in punitive damages plus an additional $25,000 in compensatory damages.
Unfortunately, breastfeeding discrimination in the workplace, like that which Lampkins experienced, is not only fairly common but it also comes with severe consequences.
A study conducted last month by the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California, Hastings College of Law found that in two-thirds of breastfeeding discrimination cases, the mothers ended up losing their jobs and three-quarters of the women suffered some sort of financial penalty, like unpaid breaks or reduced hours.
But some are hopeful that Lampkins’ win will set a new precedent. “It’s a great day for women’s rights,” Patrick Gallagher, one of Lampkin’s attorneys, told Delaware Online. “The jury sent a message that employers cannot treat lactating women differently in the workplace.”