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ACLU Announces Settlement on Behalf of Grand Junction Mother Fired for Breastfeeding at Work

May 28, 2015

DENVER – The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado and the ACLU Women’s Rights Project announced a settlement today with Big League Haircuts on behalf of Ashley Provino, a nursing mother in Grand Junction who was fired from her job in 2013 for asserting her right to pump breast milk at work.

According to the settlement, Big League Haircuts will make significant policy changes to ensure that nursing employees are informed of their legal rights and have the time and space they need to privately and comfortably pump breast milk at work. Big League Haircuts has also agreed to provide Provino monetary compensation.

“The ACLU of Colorado commends Big League Haircuts for making significant changes to its personnel policies and for taking the necessary steps to protect the rights of nursing employees,” said ACLU of Colorado staff attorney Rebecca Wallace. “We hope that this settlement sends a clear message to all employers on the Western Slope and throughout Colorado that no mother can or should be forced to choose between breastfeeding her baby and keeping her job.”

Provino had requested permission to take a short break every four hours in the back room of the salon to express breast milk, as is her right under state and federal law.  Provino alleges that Big League Haircuts denied her request and cut her hours dramatically.  Provino further alleges that after she requested to be returned to a full-time schedule with breaks so she could pump breast milk and continue breastfeeding her child, she was fired.

“Losing my job at such a critical time was devastating for my family, and something I never imagined would happen simply because I needed to pump at work,” said Provino. “I’m thankful that the company has agreed to make it right and, most importantly, to make changes so that no other woman will have to go through what I went through.”

The ACLU of Colorado filed a lawsuit on behalf of Provino in December, citing Colorado’s Workplace Accommodations for Nursing Mothers Act, a 2008 statute that requires employers to make reasonable accommodations to allow new mothers to express breast milk at work, as well as multiple federal laws prohibiting sex discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, and retaliation for protesting such discrimination.

“This settlement serves as a reminder to all Colorado employers that firing a woman simply because she asserts her legal rights has serious consequences,” said ACLU of Colorado cooperating attorney Paula Greisen of King Greisen LLP. “Big League Haircuts deserves recognition for resolving this matter in a way that is compliant with the law and protects new mothers in the workplace.”

In September 2012, the ACLU of Colorado and the ACLU Women’s Rights Project successfully negotiated a settlement with a Jefferson County charter school on behalf of Heather Burgbacher, a teacher who lost her job after she requested accommodations to express breast milk at work.  The ACLU of Colorado also worked with DISH Network in 2014 to vastly improve accommodations for nursing mothers at the company’s corporate headquarters in Englewood following complaints from employees that the conditions provided by the company lacked adequate space and privacy.

Resources:

View the settlement agreement at: http://static.aclu-co.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Provino-v.-Muster-Settlement-Agreement.pdf

For more information on this case, visit: http://aclu-co.org/court-cases/provino-v-big-league-haircuts/



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