Bill would protect Virginia’s working breastfeeding mothers

Bill would protect Virginia’s working breastfeeding mothers
Posted at 12:49 AM, Jan 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-17 01:04:08-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- A new bill before the General Assembly would make breastfeeding more comfortable for working women.

House Bill 139 would keep employers from discriminating against women who choose to lactate on the job. The bill would also not allow an employer to fire any employee based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions,  including lactation.

"When it comes to breastfeeding and lactation, I particularly think it should be a sensitivity to that,” Del. Delores McQuinn (D-70th) said.

Del. Delores McQuinn

Del. Delores McQuinn

As a result, McQuinn is sponsoring the bill because she said she received a number of complaints from her constituents.

"Every woman should have a right, if she's breastfeeding her child, to give her the time and space to lactate once she goes back into the workplace,” McQuinn explained.

House Bill 139 has been introduced and assigned to the General laws committee, but it still has to go through a few hurdles in the General Assembly.

If the bill passes, any employee fired for such could sue and receive back pay.

Bridgett Alford, a mother who supports the bill, pointed out that breast milk contains vitamins and may prevent babies from getting colic.

"Women express throughout the day, so when they can't get to a place to do that, it's uncomfortable. It's embarrassing,” said Alford.