Donnicia Venters: Lactation Not Related to Pregnancy, Houston Federal Judge Rules

Categories: Courts

Breast-Feeding-007.jpg
Not connected to pregnancy.
U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes is likely about to become the butt of Internet merriment with the news of a recent decision.

He'll also be pissing off breast-feeding moms, and that is one group you do not want to cross, as many companies and entities have discovered to their dismay.

In a suit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Hughes ruled that a company can fire a breast-feeding woman because "lactation is not pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition."

Texas companies cannot fire someone for being pregnant, but Hughes wrote of Donnicia Venters: "She gave birth on December 11, 2009. After that day, she was no longer pregnant and her pregnancy-related conditions ended."

Hughes added: "Firing someone because of lactation or breast-pumping is not sexual discrimination."

Good luck with that in the court of public opinion, judge. (Which is not a court Hughes has much cared about in his career, to be sure.)

Venters had worked for the debt-collection firm Houston Funding since 2006 and left for maternity leave in December 2009.

There was some contact between her and supervisors over when she would return, but the company eventually filled her position. She claimed they did so because she had mentioned the need to find a room to pump breast milk in, but the company said the decision was made before she mentioned that.

in the end the discrepancy was moot, because as Hughes ruled, breast milk has got nothing whatsoever to do with pregnancy.


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27 comments
GF in KS
GF in KS

New health laws require breast pumping facilities be provided at work for mothers who breast feed.  The company has to provide a seperate room (cannot be an existing bathroom) with a breast pump, a refrigerator and a sink.  The employee is intitled up to 3 trips a day, in addition to any regularly scheduled breaks.

Laura Jones
Laura Jones

If you consult a doctor, they will make it abundantly clear that lactation is a direct result of pregnancy. It is absolutely related, and not only that it is essential for caring for a child. Why are children so vilified in this country, and why is sexism in the work place so rampant!? This is the twenty first century people, get with the program and keep up with the times. Women and children need rights and support. Breastfeeding is what comes after pregnancy and live birth. This is not a negotiable opinion, it is a fact!

Michael I. Rosenthal
Michael I. Rosenthal

What an ignorant udderance! Let's see.... she just decided to have her breasts swell with life giving milk for her newBORN ... of course it couldn't be related to her pregnancy. Must be allergies or a compulsion to play with her new chest balloons.

Cdrummo
Cdrummo

Texas education at its best folks....dumbass

Fundgirls2
Fundgirls2

Hope this idiot's decision is tossed!

Ben Jammin
Ben Jammin

A supremely stupid ruling from a jurist appointed by Reagan and who has never been responsible for any notable decisions whatsoever while maintaining a very high rate of having his decisions overturned on appeal... 

God bless America!  

AR
AR

I thought Lynn was a female!?!?. I guess he was picked on a lot in school

Kristin
Kristin

I am thinking that maybe there is more to the story than is being given. Maybe she was a problem causer before going on maternity leave and this was the "in" they were looking for to get rid of her. I have worked for several companies who were very accommodating to breastfeeding and lactating women. Of course, collection agencies aren't known for good morals, so who knows.....

NewsDog
NewsDog

The maternity law doesn't say they have to hold the same job for you, just a job.

And it is possible for a woman who has never been pergnant to lactate so the judge is technically correct 

Tomball mom
Tomball mom

what an idiot is right.....I protested at the museum of Natural Science years ago, when a guard threw a woman out of the museum for nursing her baby, totally covered, in a quiet part of a hallway in the basement near the old education classrooms.  He told her she had to nurse her baby in the bathroom, whereupon she said "You go get your lunch and eat it in the bathroom, too, and I will".....lots of bad publicity for the museum....let's see what happens to the judge

Dee
Dee

Maybe he should be sentenced to 12 months on a dairy farm and then he can rule on this case!

Sam
Sam

"Firing someone because of lactation or breast-pumping is not sexual discrimination."I would REAAAALLY like to see all the men that must be lactating, then.

H_e_x
H_e_x

On the one hand discrimination is horrible, but on the other hand she worked for a debt collection. Crap all around.

Tunnel Mole
Tunnel Mole

Bring on the Texas jokes now...we won't be able to keep abreast of all the derision we'll get over this decision....

Anthem281
Anthem281

This judge works for corporate America.

Lo
Lo

So women lactate at will? 

Kate Pastrich-Klemer
Kate Pastrich-Klemer

I don't think this judge was ever breast fed or had secure attachment with his mommy...

glorrie
glorrie

When I was 15 I had a boyfriend named Lynn. 

Guest
Guest

Lynn was a popular name for boys in the 1940s and 1950s.

glorrie
glorrie

It may be possible for a woman who has never been pregnant to lactate, but it is NOT possible for the lactation of a woman who has just given birth to NOT be related to childbirth. So technically as well as logically, morally, and mental-health-wise, not only is this judge wrong, illogical, immoral, and insane, so are you.

AA
AA

althought it's possible for a woman who has never been pregnant to lactate, lactation IS an effect of pregnancy and i am so sorry, "pregnancy related changes" do NOT end as soon as the baby pops out... lactation is just ONE side effect.  you have the hormones that need to return to normal, the uterus that needs to shrink back down, the skin that needs to tighten back up, and it can take weeks for a woman to stop bleeding.  i am just appalled at this judge and don't even know how this was even a legitimate case.

Ben Jammin
Ben Jammin

"abreast" of all the derision...  Hahah...love the pun... 

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