In November 2016, Lisette Paulson filed a pregnancy and sex discrimination claim against her former employer, music streaming service Tidal. Her claim alleged that the company refused to provide her with a private room for pumping breast milk and then fired her a week following the refusal. Paulson worked as a label and artist relations consultant from March 2015 to September 2015.
In her claim, Paulson alleges that her rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the New York Civil Rights Act, the Affordable Care Act and New York State Labor Law were violated. She is seeking compensation for her damages caused by emotional distress over the refusal and firing and the breach of her oral contract.
Tidal’s Alleged Denial of Paulson’s Request
Allegedly, Tidal COO Desiree Perez offered Paulson the option to pump breast milk in the building’s bathroom and that she would work out a solution with Human Resources after denying Paulson’s request to use an office for this purpose.
According to the claim, Perez then held a meeting to determine how to accommodate Paulson’s need for a private area to pump. Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant, lactating, and disabled employees so they can continue to perform their job duties.
Paulson also claimed that Perez asked her to confirm whether the company was actually required to provide her with a space to breastfeed and that her plan to return to work in May 2015 after her child’s birth included discussions with Perez about her salary, her hours, and the possibility of working from home alongside the discussion of pumping her breast milk. She claims that she was fired as an act of retaliation for seeking these accommodations.
Legal Precedents for the Claimant
Paulson claims that her right to “reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express the milk,” as guaranteed by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, was violated when her original request to use an office as an area to pump was denied. This Act was an amendment to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, which also includes language requiring employers to provide “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.”
Work with an Experienced New York Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer
As an American worker, you have certain rights in the workplace. These rights include the right to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave following the birth or adoption of a child and the right to request reasonable accommodations in your workplace during your pregnancy or while your child is an infant. To learn more about recognizing and taking action against pregnancy and sex discrimination in the workplace, contact our team at Ricotta & Marks, P.C. and call (347)-464-8694 to schedule your initial consultation with an experienced gender discrimination attorney.