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Bryant Whitten, LLP

Mass transit company facing pregnancy discrimination claims

A mass transit company that helps move commuters and others about the eastern part of the Bay Area in California is facing allegations of pregnancy discrimination. In addition to the pregnancy discrimination allegations, the company, AC Transit, is also being accused of not allowing mothers to engage in breastfeeding or breast-pumping, both of which are activities that California law protects.

The pending lawsuit is a class-action case, meaning that several women have come forward or may come forward with related claims against this company. One woman, a member of this class, stated several facts in support of her allegations. She said, for instance, that after her first baby, she was given a dirty closet as her designated location to pump milk for her baby. She said the closet used to be a smoking area for those who drove buses for the company.

She also said that with her second child, while she was given a suitable room, she was never given sufficient time to actually pump her milk while driving a bus for the company. She also claimed that the company would not replace her uniform with something she could wear while pregnant with her second child, at least not without charging money for it. Given her circumstances, the woman eventually felt compelled to stop driving busses for the company and take a desk job, a change that resulted in a pay cut.

For its part, while AC Transit did not deny the allegations outright. It did indicate it would review the matter and reminded the public that at this point, the allegations are not proven. In any event, this story serves as an important reminder that women who are pregnant or who are choosing to breastfeed have certain legal protections as they continue to work to support their families or advance in their careers.

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