California employers were already required to provide employees with a reasonable break time and a reasonable room or other location, “other than a toilet stall,” for the purposes of expressing milk. That, however, is no longer enough thanks to the passage of Assembly Bill 1976 (AB-1976). Employers are now required to make reasonable efforts to provide employees with use of a room or other location, other than a bathroom, for purposes of expressing milk.
An employer would be deemed in compliance if they make a temporary lactation location available that meets certain conditions, including that the location is used only for lactation purposes while an employee expresses milk. An agricultural employer would need to provide employees with a private, enclosed, and shaded space, to be deemed compliant. AB-1976 does have an exemption for employers who can demonstrate to the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) that providing such a location would impose an undue hardship when considering the size, nature, or structure of the employer’s business.
Those who request reasonable lactation accommodations and are terminated or experience other negative consequences at work, may have been unfairly retaliated against and should seek an experienced employment law attorney immediately.