Friday, January 30, 2009

Expressing myself

California Labor Code 1030. Every employer, including the state and any political subdivision, shall provide a reasonable amount of break time to accommodate an employee desiring to express breast milk for the employee's infant child. The break time shall, if possible, run concurrently with any break time already provided to the employee.Break time for an employee that does not run concurrently with the rest time authorized for the employee by the applicable wage order of the Industrial Welfare Commission shall be unpaid.1031. The employer shall make reasonable efforts to provide the employee with the use of a room or other location, other than a toilet stall, in close proximity to the employee's work area, for the employee to express milk in private. The room or location may include the place where the employee normally works if it otherwise meets the requirements of this section.

Apparently federal agencies don't need to abide by California labor laws. I asked for a private room for expressing milk and was told to use the public restroom. There were plenty of vacant offices, as well as private file rooms that never got used. Ms. G. was nice enough to allow me the time I needed to pump, at least. I do appreciate that!

I had to sit in the sink to be close enough to the plug for pumping. I was interrupted several times during pumping, by Ms. G. and a few other women who were "regulars" in the 8th floor restroom, which Ms. G. told me never got any use because the floor was practically vacant. One woman was in there pretty much every time I pumped and she asked all sorts of personal questions. She was the one who took this picture.

When Ms. G. told me where I could pump, she didn't specifically say I should use the restroom. She said to go to the 8th floor, which was vacant since all the businesses up there closed. I went up there and tried several doors and they were all locked so I was satisfied that it probably was vacant. I found a part of the hallway which was around a few corners from the elevator and near a plug and I set everything up, feeling very nervous about pumping in a hallway, but at least it wasn't a bathroom!!! Just as I was about to bare it all and start the milk extraction, a man came down the hall and saw my kit of stuff on the floor, smiled, and said, "they need to give you an office" as he walked into the men's room. Ugh! So I picked everything up and went into the women's room and that's where I pumped ever since.

Like I said, there were many people who went up to the 8th floor to use the restrooms. Apparently a lot of people have public restroom issues and went up there thinking they were the only ones to use those particular restrooms, Ms. G. included.

Oh well, I'm glad I resigned. As I mentioned in my last post, I may have to go back and if they put me at the airport I have no idea how I'll pump. It might be a moot point, anyway, because if I have to work at the airport and wear sleeves that are not of my super soft fabric and sewn dolman style, then it will be too painful for me to cope without going back on Dr. R.'s cocktail (neurontin + vocodin), which would mean the end of breast milk for babies. Very sad, indeed!


Barb said...

Oh my.. so much crap to deal with! It really is law that they provide you with a CLEAN room. That is NOT a restroom. sigh.

Jocasta said...

Hey there,

Not sure if you read my blog - but I do read yours (and enjoy it!). I've updated my blog address it's now