NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Breastfeeding mothers in the NYPD are taking a stand and pursuing a class-action lawsuit alleging the department is not providing proper accommodations to female officers to pump.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is calling for an audit of all police lactation facilities, reports CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas.
They cite the lack of cleanliness, no refrigerator to store the milk, time to pump and even the ridicule of fellow officers as some of their top concerns.
Simone Teagle was the first officer to come forward after she said she experienced anxiety every day.
“I knew what I would be facing when I went in to ask for a break,” she said. “Shortly after that it turned into not asking for a break at all. It became easier, easier not to deal with the comments, to pump next to people, have the guys say things.”
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is calling on the comptroller to audit every NYPD facility to determine if they provide satisfactory accommodations to nursing mothers both within the department and the public at large.
“You can’t treat prisoners better than you treat mothers who would like to breastfeed,” said Adams.
In 2015, a Borough Hall file room was turned into a lactation room. It was cleaned, painted, comfortable chairs were brought in along with a refrigerator. Adams says this should be the standard across the city.
Laws are already in place aimed at providing proper accommodations.
Councilman Robert Cornegy is introducing new legislation that would require more oversight.
“The individuals who have lactation stations from the prior legislation are trained properly, those places are clean and sanitary,” said Cornegy Jr.
Simone Teagle said her milk supply depleted prematurely. Now her baby is 2 years old and she’s no longer with the department.
She still hopes the lawsuit creates a different experience for new mothers.
“Providing safe, clean accommodations for nursing mothers is not optional it’s the law,” said Hazel Crampton-Hays in a statement for the comptroller’s office. “We will review these concerning claims to determine the most appropriate way to address them.”
The NYPD sent CBS2 a statement, which read in part, “The NYPD is committed to providing its employees with appropriate accommodations to express breast milk privately, comfortably, and in close proximity to work.”
“Requests to express breast milk are presumed granted upon request to meet the immediate needs of the employee. This allows both the employee and the Department to engage in a dialogue to determine an appropriate schedule, a reasonable amount of time to express milk, and available locations to lactate,” the statement continued. “Retaliation is prohibited against any person requesting a reasonable accommodation to express breast milk and any member of the service who engages in such retaliation or harassment is subject to disciplinary action. Additionally, the Department continues to maintain an up to date written policy on how to request leave to express breast milk as needed. The Department is in compliance with federal, state, and local laws to provide reasonable accommodations to express breast milk.”