In a remarkable decision, U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes has ruled that lactation, or breast feeding is not related to pregnancy. See Washington Post blog. The EEOC had filed a lawsuit on behalf of Donnicia Venters, a female employee of a debt collection firm in Houston, Texas. The employee had discussed with her employer when she would return to work after giving birth. She mentioned she would need a place to express milk or feed her baby, as the new statute requires. With no warning her employer then fired her. Ms. Venters had worked for the business for three years at the time.
The new lactation statute does require employers to provide a place for mothers to express milk. But, the law does not provide any protections for the mothers if they get fired for actually expressing milk or intending to express milk. See Connecticut Employment Law Blog for more information about the new law. The only protection for Ms. Venters would be some connection to gender dscrimination.
In the lawsuit, Judge Hughes found that breast-feeding is not related to pregnancy or to sexual discrimination. Therefore, Ms. Venters could not claim her termination was related to her gender. I have heard that only women can breast feed, but Judge Hughes seems to know better. See opinion here.
Judge Hughes apparently has a reputation for saying strange things. He is not too well thought of a the robing room, a website allowing persons to rate judges.