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Employers must accommodate nursing mothers

Few life events are more exciting than welcoming a new baby into the world. If you have a career, though, you may have some concern about how your employer may react to your pregnancy. Fortunately, pregnant women and new mothers enjoy a variety of legal protections in the workplace. 

Generally, employers may not take adverse employment action against workers because of their pregnancies. Your legal protections likely do not stop there. You also have some fundamental employment rights after giving birth. These may include both breastfeeding and expressing milk. 

The right to breastfeed anywhere

In Oklahoma, you have a legal right to breastfeed your infant anywhere you have a right to be. If your employer allows you to bring your child to the workplace, you can probably breastfeed there. Nevertheless, your employer can probably prevent you from bringing your new baby to work. 

The right to reasonable break time

If the Fair Labor Standards Act applies to your employer, your manager should give you reasonable break time to express breast milk. Because you may need more than 15 minutes for your pumping breaks, your employer may track your break times and not pay you for abnormally long breaks. 

The right to a private space

Finally, provided the FLSA covers your employer, you should be able to access a private space to pump milk. This space cannot be the restroom, though. Rather, it should be a private area your colleagues and others cannot enter or see. 

Remember, having both a private space and enough time to express breast milk may help you navigate your return to work without jeopardizing either your career or your overall health.