A Delaware Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise must pay over $1.5 million in damages to a former employee who said that she was demoted for needing to pump breast milk.
New mom Autumn Lampkins said in her lawsuit that management and fellow employees made it so difficult to pump during her long shifts that her breast milk dried up, according to The News Journal.
When Lampkins was hired to be an assistant manager at a Camden location of KFC just a few months after giving birth in 2014, she was told that it would not affect her need to breastfeed. But she immediately had to work 10-hour training sessions with just one break, which didn’t allow her to pump every two hours, as her doctors recommended.
At first, Lampkins pumped in a single-stall restroom, but she was later instructed to instead pump in the manager’s office, which had a surveillance camera that she was told they could not turn off.
Once she completed her training, Lampkins was moved to a KFC in Dover where she was soon demoted to a shift supervisor, and dealt with insubordination from her co-workers who complained that she got too many “breaks” to breast pump, she said in the lawsuit.
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Lampkins said that the experience caused physical pain and led her to switch her baby to formula far sooner than she had planned.
A jury agreed with Lampkins’ claims of workplace discrimination and awarded her $25,000 in compensatory damages and $1.5 million in punitive damages.
“It was a great and long-fought victory,” one of her attorneys, Patrick Gallagher of Wilmington law firm Jacobs & Crumplar P.A., told The News Journal. “It’s a great day for women’s rights. The jury sent a message that employers cannot treat lactating women differently in the workplace.”
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