DENVER – DISH Network is violating state and federal law by persistently failing to provide reasonable accommodations to nursing mothers, according to a complaint sent to the company this morning by the ACLU of Colorado.
The ACLU complaint documents multiple failures to accommodate nursing mothers at DISH Network’s corporate headquarters in Englewood, where employees are forced to pump breast milk in front of their co-workers and supervisors without privacy screens or curtains, and at a DISH Network call center in Littleton, where the lactation room is located inside a bathroom in direct violation of federal and state law.
“There is a state and national campaign to encourage women to make a healthy choice to breastfeed their babies,” said ACLU Staff Attorney Rebecca Wallace. “Yet, new mothers often return to work and face significant obstacles to breastfeeding when employers, like DISH Network, refuse to provide a private, hygienic, readily accessible place to express breast milk.”
According to the ACLU, the lactation room in one of the buildings at the DISH Network headquarters was so small and crowded that women were forced to pump while sitting on the floor.
“To continue breastfeeding, employees at DISH are forced to bare their breasts to multiple co-workers, and even supervisors,” said Wallace.
The Workplace Accommodations for Nursing Mother’s Act, passed by the Colorado legislature in 2008, as well as the federal Fair Labor Standards Act as amended by the Affordable Care Act in 2010, require employers to provide sufficient private spaces, other than a bathroom, for nursing employees to express breast milk, shielded from the view of all other co-workers and the public. Private spaces may be created in a large room through the use of privacy screens between nursing mothers.
“Failure to accommodate breastfeeding mothers in the workplace is not only illegal, it’s also bad for Colorado families and businesses because it forces women – an invaluable part of the workforce – to choose between breastfeeding their babies or returning to the workplace after giving birth,” added Wallace.
The ACLU is calling on DISH Network to provide adequate space and privacy in all of its lactation rooms for multiple nursing employees to pump privately at the same time, training for all supervisors and facilities managers about accommodations the law requires, and posted notice in all lactation rooms detailing the rights of nursing mothers.
The ACLU has requested a response from the company by March 19, 2014.
For the ACLU case page, including a photo of the DISH Network Littleton call center lactation room:
Read the ACLU complaint:
The ACLU of Colorado is the state’s oldest civil rights organization, protecting and defending the civil rights of all Coloradans through litigation, education and advocacy.