Georgia Breastfeeding Laws: All You Need to Know

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In this article, we’ll discuss everything about Georgia Breastfeeding laws and what every nursing mom has to know.

We’ll also consider what Georgia State Laws permit for breastfeeding moms.

Georgia enacted a law that started by clarifying on the importance of breastfeeding.

It states that every mother has a right to do breastfeeding in any public location where she is permitted to be with their babies.

In Georgia, the law gives full right to a mother to breastfeed her baby in any place, at work or public place, as long as the environment is conducive and she has the right to be there.

The previous law that was removed was requiring breastfeeding to be done modestly.

Law in Georgia encourages but does not mandate employees to provide a private room for lactating mothers. Breastfeeding mothers are protected by Georgia breastfeeding State laws, Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act

1). Georgia Breastfeeding state laws 

Mothers’ right to breastfeed their babies in any private or public places are legally guaranteed under Georgia Breastfeeding laws.

Basically, the Georgia state laws allow employers to get a private space and not bathrooms ready to employees who are breastfeeding. The private space or room should not be visible to workmates or public. The space will be used by an employee (for example, a nursing mom) to pump breast milk.

The room that is made available should be operational to allow the mother to express her breast milk.

If in case the room is specifically for breastfeeding moms, the room should readily be available if needed and meet a statutory obligation.

Employers may opt to establish permanent breastfeeding rooms as a way of being obedient to the law.

2). Georgia Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) 

Also, a reasonable break time should be provided for mothers to breastfeed.

The existence of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) grants workplace immunity to breastfeeding mothers and other employees against unfair labor practices.

Some Employers in Georgia are trying their best to provide a private place and not bathrooms to breastfeeding mothers and avail break time that is reasonable as per the law requirements.

It’s worth noting that these breastfeeding laws do not demand employers to avail reasonable break time or provide private pumping or breastfeeding places — but it only encourages employers to provide the opportunity. For more information, you can refer to Ga. Code § 34-1-6.

But as for Fair Labor Standards Act( FSLA), it stills gives working immunity to mothers in GA so long as they are not hourly based employees.

Under this Act, employers are supposed to avail of a private place other than a bathroom and provide break time that is reasonable for 12 months after the mother has given birth.

3). Title VII of the Civil Rights Act

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act 1978, amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit sex discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions.

In 2013, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that in the year 2013 the Fifth Circuit of The United States appeal court upholds the lower court ruling that “firing a woman because she is lactating or expressing milk is unlawful sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

Summary of Georgia breastfeeding laws 

Georgia State laws 

  • Breastfeeding of a baby is a crucial and basic act provided by nature and must be encouraged for the sake of maternal and child health. Breastfeeding moms in Georgia enjoy a right to do breastfeeding at any public location where they have the right of entry. For more information, refer to a. Code § 31-1-9 (1999)
  • The Georgia laws and even the whole of the United States gives protection to mothers who are breastfeeding in public locations. There are no laws that govern workplace breastfeeding. 
  • The Georgia laws offer rights to workplace breastfeeding employees segment. i.e. city employees. Also, it demands the provision of breastfeeding rooms for specific places like municipality buildings and airports.
  • Georgia laws supersede the Fair Labor Standards Act laws by protecting of all working mothers including those paid on an hourly basis. 
  • Georgia state law protects all working moms. In addition to the state laws, the legislation also protects a specific group of people and mandates the availability of lactation rooms in specific places like airports.
  • Georgia state laws protects all working breastfeeding moms and identify lactation standards. For example, easy access to a refrigerator for storing pumped breast milk. In addition, the state legislation provides a specific group of people mandates and the availability of lactation rooms in specific places like airports.

Regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

i). For those mothers whose contract is on an hourly basis, they get protection from the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The break time should be not be paid unless  it runs alongside the paid breaks. If for instance a breastfeeding staff is not given an opportunity or break to go and do the nursing, he/she should be compensated as part of work time.

ii). It applies to breastfeeding employee moms who are under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA) and are not exempted from the Act’s overtime pay regulation.

It’s worth noting that if an employer is not under the FLSA, then she can still enjoy the cover if the employee’s duties correlate with the interstate commercial requirement.

iii). Regardless of the business size, all employers are under the Fair Labor Standards Act and are required to practice compliance with its provision.

Employers who have less than fifty employees are not mandated under the FLSA to comply with break time requirement but strictly if the employer can justify that the provision will likely prejudice or Cause hardships.

The hardship is determined by cross-checking the organization’s financial capabilities, nature, structure and size of the business or the employer. 

It will be a violation of human rights for any person to portray any form of discrimination against breastfeeding employee who has filed a complaint or assist in the complaint investigation.

If an employee’s right to breastfeeding and break time are denied, that person can lodge complain under the Wage and Hour Division under the labor Court and obtain a court order, which compels the employer to comply with the provision of FLSA.

In addition, a discriminatory employee who is discharged probably because of filing a complaint or is assisting in the complaint investigation, he/she may proceed to file a retaliation complaint under the Wage and Hour Division if labor court.

He/She can also lodge a private Cause of action to be accorded appropriate remedies that include but not limited to reinstatement, recovery of lost pay, and on top of that, accorded equal amount as liquidated damages.

  • Under the FLSA breastfeeding laws, an employee can complain by calling the WHD toll-free at 1-800-487-9243 or visiting www.dol.gov/whd. You will then be directed to your nearest WHD office for assistance.
  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
  • The Civil Rights Act gives protection to national and local government as well as private-sector employers whose size accommodates more than fifteen employees. It also covers labor organizations, employment agents and relevant training projects. The title VII also covers those  federal sectors.
  • There is no clear policy on breastfeeding is provided under Title VII. However, since an employee under this Act is allowed to have break time, alter their daily schedule, or utilize sick leave for regular medical checkups, The Act should as well allow breastfeeding employees to alter their sick leave or regular medical checkup to accommodate their breastfeeding-related needs which just similar. If an employer can allow for break time for personal needs and deny break time for breastfeeding mothers, then the employer will have violated the Title VII provisions.
  • Terminating the employment of a woman or probably imposing tough measures just because she is breastfeeding is a violation of human rights through sex discrimination. If an employee should not be discriminated against because of taking a break for breastfeeding schedule. The break taken by other employees should be the same, like the one that nursing moms should take. At no point will an employee terminate employment, demotes transfer or otherwise harassing an employee based on breastfeeding because she can lodge a complaint against the same and seek remedies.
  • Harassment free workplace should be provided by employers based on pregnancy, childbirth or any other related health conditions that include nursing and breastfeeding.
  • Female employee whose rights based on breastfeeding can file a complaint at the nearest EEOC offices. You can also make a call by dialing 800-669-4000 or visit the EEOC website for comprehensive information on how to file a charge and under the required timelines.
  • For an employee who successfully files a complaint can be awarded damages which include Damage compensation, reinstatement, recovery of lost wages and additional order requiring the employer to desist from similar violations in the future.

What are the Loopholes in Georgia Breastfeeding Laws?

  • Georgia Breastfeeding laws prove to be not very effective. It is simply permissive. It only states that employers “may’’ provide reasonable break time and avail a private room for breastfeeding mothers. This law is very silent and the judges in Georgia courts may dismiss cases of that nature due to lack of merit.
  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and Pregnancy Discrimination Act does not provide clear protection of breastfeeding mothers. And for this reason, courts in Georgia haven’t been able to interpret the two Acts.