EEOC loses first round of lactation harassment case — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

EEOC loses first round of lactation harassment case

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In a case the EEOC probably will appeal to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, a federal trial court has ruled that comments about a lactating mother’s breasts over a two-month period weren’t pervasive enough to create a sexually hostile environment.

Recent case:
Dr. Deborah Waechter worked for a medical clinic through pregnancy and for about two months after giving birth. She pumped breast milk at work, which precipitated  a series of comments from her supervisor. He allegedly told her to lick up some breast milk she had spilled and asked if he could pump her breasts personally. She quit.

The EEOC championed her case, suing on her behalf, alleging the clinic created a sexually hostile environment.

The trial judge dismissed the case, reasoning that the comments weren’t pervasive or severe. (EEOC v. Fairbrook Medical Clinic, No. 5:07-CV-94, WD NC, 2009)

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