Lactation education

Labcorp revises lactation policy following DOL investigation

Diving Brief:

  • Labcorp released and announced to employees an updated lactation interruption policy following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor, DOL said on January 4.
  • The DOL determined that supervisors at a site in Lynwood, California, failed to provide space for pumping that met the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act; specifically, an employee using the space provided was interrupted twice by co-workers. Labcorp has agreed to provide a private area with door notification to prevent intrusions and has also revised its policy on the matter.
  • “Employers who do not provide designated space as required by law create a barrier for women who are eager and ready to return to the workforce,” said the district director of the wage and hour division, Richard Blaylock, in a statement. “Employers must provide breastfeeding mothers with a place – even temporary – to express their milk.”

Overview of the dive:

the FLSA requires that employers with 50 or more employees provide reasonable downtime for an employee to express milk for a nursing child for one year after the child’s birth “whenever that employee needs to express the milk” . Employers must also provide a place to do so that is not a bathroom and is out of sight and safe from intrusion by co-workers and the public, according to the law.

These requirements have been in place for over a decade and the DOL regularly enforces them. Bank of America agreed to make adjustments similar to Labcorp in 2020 following DOL investigation; a year earlier, a Texas consulting firm agreed in a settlement with the agency to pay $22,000 in back wages and damages to a nursing mother who quit after being forced to express her milk in a parking lot accessible to other employees and the public.

Beyond compliance with federal (and sometimes state or local) law, supporting employees who are nursing and breastfeeding can go a long way to improving workplace equity and inclusion, experts say previously said HR Dive.