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A Beaumont Amazon employee filed a federal class action lawsuit July 28, alleging violation of state and federal breast pumping law.

Amazon spokesperson Barbara Agrait said by email that the company supports nursing employees.

“We recognize that nursing employees have to navigate extra activities throughout their workday, and that’s why we’re committed to providing them with access to specific lactation space for their comfort and privacy. We work hard to support employees who’ve identified challenges in their workspace,” Agrait wrote.

Fernanda Torres was the mother of a 5-month-old when she began working at Amazon’s four-story, 640,000 square-foot warehouse in Beaumont Aug. 2, 2021, her complaint claims.

Despite informing her supervisors she needed accommodations to pump her breast milk, she was told to use an overused room an 8-minute walk from her workstation, she claims.

The warehouse, which employs more than 1,000 workers, offers one 6-foot by six-foot lactation room on the ground floor of the warehouse, she claims.

There were often 15 other employees waiting in line for the room, she claims.

She was not provided breaks longer than five minutes, except for her lunch break, and was told her pay would be docked if she stopped working for more than five minutes, she claims.

Pumping sessions usually take 15 to 20 minutes, the complaint says. She was unable to breast pump during those 5-minute breaks, and was forced to spend her lunch break and unpaid breaks breast pumping, she claims.

Other parents breast pumped in their cars, where it was difficult to clean their breast pumps, she claims.

“(Torres) often suffered pain, discomfort and engorgement and/or was unable to pump due to long lines for the lactation room during the 30 minutes afforded for lunch,” her complaint says.

Case law

The 2019 Senate Bill 142, requires employers to provide “a reasonable amount of break time” to accommodate employees each time the employee wants to breast pump.

It also requires employers to provide a private breast pumping room, that must not be a bathroom, that must be close to the employee’s workstation.

The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires employers to provide a “reasonable” break time and a suitable place for an employee to breast pump.

Torres claims Amazon broke both laws. Her complaint claims a class of lactating parents who work for Amazon in California.

Case information

Marcus Bradley, Kiley Grombacher and Lirit King of Westlake Village’s Bradley/Grombacher represent Torres.

Amazon’s attorneys have not yet been announced.

California Central District Judge Jesus Bernal presides.

Case number 5:22-cv-01326.

Read the complaint here.

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