According to Elizabeth Beck, a Florida attorney who deposed Donald Trump in 2011 in connection with a real estate project, Mr. Trump erupted when she requested a break in the deposition so she could pump breast milk:
“He got up, his face got red, he shook his finger at me, and he screamed, ‘You’re disgusting, you’re disgusting,’ and he ran out of there.”
Mr. Trump apparently does not dispute that he used the word “disgusting,” and, in true Trump form, he let his feelings known on Twitter:
“Lawyer Elizabeth Beck did a terrible job against me, she lost (I even got legal fees). I loved beating her, she was easy.”
A misunderstanding, perhaps? Mr. Trump’s team contends that Ms. Beck intended to pump in the deposition room in the presence of Mr. Trump and others. Ms. Beck, on the other hand, contends that a breast-pumping break was set to coincide with a pre-scheduled lunch break and would not have occurred in the presence of others.
I have no idea what really happened during that deposition, nor am I sure it’s newsworthy (I’m fairly certain it isn’t). Let’s at least turn the entertaining squabble into an educational moment — a reminder about state and federal employment laws regarding breastfeeding/pumping:
In 2010, Congress amended the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), the federal law that governs minimum wage, overtime, and child labor. The amendment requires covered employers to provide:
- “Reasonable break time” for a non-exempt employee to express milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child’s birth; and
- A functional location, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion, where the employee may express breast milk. An employer is not required to maintain a space that is dedicated solely for use by nursing mothers. In terms of functionality, it would be prudent to make sure the room has an electrical outlet, a locking door, adequate ventilation, and a chair.
This FLSA amendment does not apply to employers with fewer than 50 employees (in the aggregate, at all locations) if the requirement would impose an undue hardship on the employer. Undue hardship is determined by looking at the difficulty or expense of compliance in comparison to the size, financial resources, nature, and structure of the employer’s business.
There also are state-specific laws to consider. Here in Florida, a mother may breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, where the mother otherwise is authorized to be, even if her breast or nipple is exposed. I wonder what Mr. Trump would have to say about that!
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