MADISON HEIGHTS, Mich. (FOX 2) - A woman claims that her co-workers harassed her when she needed to pump breast milk at work.
Brianna Terry is a lead masker at metal finisher Spraytek in Madison Heights. She returned to work six weeks after giving birth and needed a place to pump, but faced pushback from supervisors.
"He told me that they didn’t have anywhere for me to pump," she said. "He said, ‘You could just do it in the bathroom.’ I am like when you are breastfeeding your child that is their food, this is her steak dinner. Would you eat your steak dinner in the bathroom?"
The Affordable Care Act required employers provide a reasonable break time for a nursing child up to a year after birth, as well as a private place other than a bathroom to express breast milk. Terry said she informed her supervisors, who gave then gave her the quality room, where they check parts, to double as her private breast pumping room.
However, she claims that her co-worker would harass her for needing to pump.
"The problem then was the comments that were made – ‘Pumping doesn’t take that long; you are milking the clock,'" she said.
She claims she dealt with a male-dominated workplace that did not support her for two months.
"HR told me the owner of the company wanted me to go on FMLA so pumping wouldn’t be a problem. She said, ‘By the time you come back she’ll be 6 months, and she quote won’t need you as much,’" Terry said.
Spraytek claims Terry had a problem with attendance and wasn't following the break time policy to breastfeed. The owner and HR director said they have gone out of their way to help Terry, who happens to be their first breastfeeding employee.
Right now, she is home on unpaid family and medical leave. Money is tight, but says she can feed her baby in peace, and she has no intention of stopping any time soon, especially because of the formula recall and nationwide shortage.
"It sucks because I shouldn’t have to choose between providing for my family and for my babies," Terry said.
Terry said she wants to go back to work. Spraytek said they followed the law and have no plans to terminate her.