Tag Archives: wrongful termination

Fifth Circuit Holds Title VII Protects Nursing Mothers From Being Fired For Expressing Breast Milk

Recently the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that Title VII, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act,  protects nursing mothers from being fired for lactating or expressing breast milk.  The plaintiff was allegedly fired after asking to use a breast pump at work.  In reaching its decision the Court held that firing someone because of lactation or breast pumping is sex discrimination.

This is a big victory for the EEOC, who brought the case on behalf of the plaintiff.  This win also highlights one of the EEOC’s priorities in its Strategic Enforcement Plan, which is to identify emerging areas in equal employment law, including pregnancy-related issues.

Most employers know that the Fair Labor Standards Act was amended in 2010 to require them to provide both a reasonable break time and a place, other than a bathroom, for an employee to express breast milk for up to a year after a child’s birth.  The Fifth Circuit has now made it clear that Title VII also protects employees who are fired for expressing breast milk.

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Employee Who Posted FIRE ME on Facebook Gets Her Wish

The NLRB recently held that the termination of an employee because of disparaging comments she posted about the employer  in a group message on Facebook did not violate the NLRA.  The comments contained derogatory language and expletives, and included “FIRE ME” and “Make my day”.

The NLRB held that the comments reflected the employee’s personal contempt for her co-worker and her supervisor and not shared employee concerns about terms and conditions of employment.  Therefore, the employee did not engage in concerted activity under Section 7 of the NLRA.

Before taking action against an employee because of  comments on social media, employers need to consider several factors.  These include, but are not limited to, the following: What is the content of the message? Are the comments based on the terms and conditions of employment?  Is the employee acting alone or with or on the authority of other employees?  Is there a legitimate problem at work that needs to be addressed?

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