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Employer Forces Mom to Pump in Dirty Locker Room

Mom forced to pump in dirty locker room
Photograph by Getty Images/iStockphoto

When it comes to office "pumping rooms," we've heard our fair share of complaints from moms. Usually it's that they're being forced to pump somewhere that's awkwardly small or uncomfortably cold. But being forced to pump in a dirty locker room, surrounded by dead bugs? Yep, that's a new one.

Bobbi Bockoras, a working mom from Allegheny, Pa., found herself in that very predicament recently after her job kept repeatedly moving her from one awful pumping locale to the next. First they directed her to pump in a bathroom. Now, that being illegal and all (as explicitly noted in the updated 2010 labor laws), Bockoras spoke up, and requested a new room. So they sent her to the First-Aid room. Then it was a room with glass walls and no lock. (Seriously.) Next she found herself in a shower room.

Clearly, things were not getting better.

Finally, her last protests led her to be sent to a locker room, which was dirty, riddled with bugs and only furnished with one chair.

Think it ends there? Think again. As Bockoras later wrote on the ACLU's blog:

"They said they'd clean it up. But when I showed up to pump there a few days later, I found that the room had not been cleaned … the floor was unfinished and had large patches missing from it, and there was no air conditioning—which is serious, because temperatures can get up to 106 degrees on the factory floor. The only furniture in the room was a single chair. I was completely disgusted, but what could I do? I only had a short break before I had to be back on my shift, and my baby has to eat, so I pumped there anyway. Even though I complained that it was filthy, the company did not have it cleaned. To make matters worse, shortly after that, someone took the chair from the room, which is how I found myself pumping on the floor, with dead bugs for company."

The company did go on to apologize for the whole debacle after she complained further, and it also offered her two weeks of paid vacation time (in addition to promising to comply with federal regulations from now on). All's well that ends well, right? Well, yes, except for the fact that upon her return, Bockoras was told her shift would be switching to a rotation of late nights and early mornings. When she brought in a note from her doctor asking that she keep more regular hours, it was ignored and she was told that she would probably get harassed "no matter what shift she was on."

Finally, the cherry on top came when pranksters covered the door of her "lactation locker room" with grease and shards of metal. (Yes—SHARDS of metal. Is this the worst job ever, or what?) The whole experience caused her so much stress, her milk production started to slow and she had to start supplementing her daughter with formula. That's when she finally had enough, and contacted ACLU, the Women's Law Project. The case is currently being worked on.

Can you believe this story? Have you ever experienced anything similar in the workplace?

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