A former Kentucky Fried Chicken employee was awarded $1.
5 million in punitive damages and $25,000 in compensatory damages.
A jury has ruled that a KFC franchisee must pay to Autumn Lampkins, 27, who was demoted because she wanted to pump her breast milk.
A lawsuit said supervisors and co-workers at KFC and KFC/Taco Bell restaurants made it difficult for Lampkins to pump during her shift that her milk supply started to decrease significantly.
Documents revealed she was hired months after giving birth in 2014. However, she was only allowed to pump once during every 10-hour training shift. The recommended for nursing moms is once every two hours.
According to the lawsuit, Lampkins was demoted and struggled. Co-workers also complained she had ‘breaks’ to pump breast milk.
She pumped in a single-stall bathroom and was then asked to pump in the manager’s office. However, there was a surveillance camera that could not be turned off, according to the lawsuit.
Lampkins claimed she was not regularly able to pump and when she could, she rarely had any privacy due to the surveillance cameras and windows in the restaurant.
The mother was hired and trained at a KFC in Dover before she was transferred to another where she was demoted. Her co-workers also tried to subordinate her, complaining that she had ‘breaks’ to pump breast milk.
Because she could not pump her breast milk, Lampkins said she suffered physical pain. She was also forced to give formula earlier than planned.
Lampkins sued for harassment and gender discrimination experienced at the two of the Delaware KFC restaurants she worked at.
‘It’s a great day for women’s rights. The jury sent a message that employers cannot treat lactating women differently in the workplace,’ said her attorney Patrick Gallagher.
But there is a limit on compensatory and punitive damages against employers. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the cap is $300,000.
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