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Nursing Women Become Protected from Discrimination in DC

Thursday, February 14, 2008
The District joins other jurisdictions in making discrimination against nursing women illegal.

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty signed into law the “Child’s Right to Nurse Human Rights Amendment Act of 2007” (Bill B17-0133) that unanimously passed in City Council. This law amends the DC Human Rights Act of 1977, as amended, to change the definition of discrimination on the basis of sex, and ensures a woman’s right to breastfeed in any location where she has the right to be with her child, public or private. The law requires employers to provide reasonable daily unpaid break periods and a sanitary location so that breastfeeding mothers are able to express breast milk for their children. This law also requires the Department of Health (DOH) to monitor breastfeeding rates in DC and the number of and nature of complaints regarding violations of this law received by the Office of Human Rights (OHR).<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>

Effective December 7, 2007, women in the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /?>District of Columbia who feel they are discriminated against for breastfeeding their children at work or places of public accommodation, can now file a complaint with the DC Office of Human Rights. Women who allege unfair treatment and discrimination are advised to contact the OHR at (202) 727-4559 to learn about the filing process. The OHR has also a step-by-step description of the complaint process through its website at www.ohr.dc.gov. Complaints can be made in person or online. All necessary forms can be downloaded through OHR’s website.