Q An administrative staff member who recently gave birth is scheduled to return to work in a few weeks. She plans to have her mother bring the baby to the office several times a day so she can breastfeed. Our office manager says that’s not going to happen. Doesn’t Georgia law give women the right to breastfeed in the workplace?
A Not really. Under Georgia law, both mothers and their babies are granted the right to breastfeed, but this right may only be exercised in a “location where the mother and baby are otherwise authorized to be.” While the employee you’re referring to presumably would be authorized to be in the workplace (at least upon her return from leave), this may not be the case for her baby, especially given your office manager’s position on the issue.
On a related issue, Georgia law states that an employer “may” provide reasonable unpaid break time to employees who need to express breast milk for their children. The law also says employers “may” make reasonable efforts to provide a room or other location where the employee can express her milk in privacy, so long as it is “in close proximity to the work area” and is something “other than a toilet stall.” Such break time is not mandatory, however, and “shall, if possible, run concurrently with any break time already provided to the employee.”