Judge Backs Firing of Houston Breastpumping Worker


Judge Hughes wrote: "Even if the company's claim that she was fired for abandonment is meant to hide the real reason - she wanted to pump breast-milk - lactation is not pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition."

"The law does not punish lactation discrimination," the three-page opinion states.

Houston Funding denies it discriminated, according to Mark Oberti, attorney for the company.

"The judge's ruling is consistent with other courts' rulings on this same issue," the company said in a statement. "Finally, Houston Funding notes that, in 2010, after the events relevant to this lawsuit occurred, President Obama signed into law protections for women who desire to breast-pump in the workplace. Houston Funding complies with both the letter and the spirit of that law, and all other applicable laws."

President Obama's healthcare bill gives women rights to pump.

"This case involves someone who just wanted to use a backroom to pump milk," Williams said. "She wasn't asking for a lot."

Bowne said that even if the company did not believe she was going to return, which the EEOC disputes, there is evidence that Venters was a "good and hardworking employee."

"Had they not been motivated by her pregnancy, childbirth or related conditions, they could have had a spot for her," he said. "There is no reason to believe they would have legitimately preferred someone off the street rather than someone with a proven track record like Donnicia had."

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