California Significantly Strengthens Its Lactation Accommodation Law. Other States Are Likely to Follow

02 December 2019 Labor & Employment Law Perspectives Blog
Author(s): Krista M. Cabrera

Earlier this year, the New York City Commission on Human Rights published robust model policies for employers to use in guiding compliance with the city’s lactation accommodation law. Not to be outdone, California has enacted a new law, set to take effect on January 1, 2020, that significantly alters the state’s lactation accommodation statute. 

Among other requirements, California’s new law requires that the room provided to employees for expressing breastmilk contain a surface on which to place a breast pump and personal items, a place to sit, and access to electricity or alternative devices needed to operate an electric or battery-powered breast pump. The new law further requires employers to provide access to a sink with running water, a refrigerator suitable for storing milk in close proximity to the employee’s workspace and, if the employer offers a multipurpose room for lactation, that its use for lactation take precedence over other uses.

Perhaps most notably, the new law includes an anti-retaliation component and provides for specific penalties that employees may recover when employers fail to comply. Finally, the new law requires employers to implement a detailed policy regarding lactation accommodation, including, among other things, a statement about an employee’s right to file a complaint with the Labor Commissioner for any violation of the lactation accommodation law.

Employers, particularly those operating in multiple states, should review and update their handbooks and/or new hire packets to ensure compliance with the ever-changing landscape of accommodating employees who wish to express breastmilk at work.

This blog is made available by Foley & Lardner LLP (“Foley” or “the Firm”) for informational purposes only. It is not meant to convey the Firm’s legal position on behalf of any client, nor is it intended to convey specific legal advice. Any opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Foley & Lardner LLP, its partners, or its clients. Accordingly, do not act upon this information without seeking counsel from a licensed attorney. This blog is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Communicating with Foley through this website by email, blog post, or otherwise, does not create an attorney-client relationship for any legal matter. Therefore, any communication or material you transmit to Foley through this blog, whether by email, blog post or any other manner, will not be treated as confidential or proprietary. The information on this blog is published “AS IS” and is not guaranteed to be complete, accurate, and or up-to-date. Foley makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, as to the operation or content of the site. Foley expressly disclaims all other guarantees, warranties, conditions and representations of any kind, either express or implied, whether arising under any statute, law, commercial use or otherwise, including implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Foley or any of its partners, officers, employees, agents or affiliates be liable, directly or indirectly, under any theory of law (contract, tort, negligence or otherwise), to you or anyone else, for any claims, losses or damages, direct, indirect special, incidental, punitive or consequential, resulting from or occasioned by the creation, use of or reliance on this site (including information and other content) or any third party websites or the information, resources or material accessed through any such websites. In some jurisdictions, the contents of this blog may be considered Attorney Advertising. If applicable, please note that prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Photographs are for dramatization purposes only and may include models. Likenesses do not necessarily imply current client, partnership or employee status.

Related Services