Deputy makes harassment claim after breast pump penalty, sheriff responds

“Myself and the entire department take the rights of nursing mothers seriously,” Sheriff David Favro said

By Amanda Spence

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. — A former Clinton County Sheriff’s Department deputy has come forward with allegations of harassment after she was penalized for pumping breast milk. Now, in a recent interview, the sheriff is addressing the matter.

Chelsea Warick, who has been with the department since 2013, claims a superior commented on her body frequently, which prompted her to file a complaint against that lieutenant, according to WCAX3. “It was founded. And ever since then, I was passed over for promotions,” Warick explained.

And once she had her child, Warick had to pump her breast milk for 20 minutes twice during each shift. However, her sergeant claimed she wasn’t being productive while she was pumping. Warick then filed an Equal Employment Opportunity complaint. “Right after I made that complaint, they took my pumping privileges away and made a mothers’ nursing policy,” Warick continued.

The new policy made it so that anyone who was pumping at work had to use paid time off to do so or make the time up at the end of their original shift. “It wasn’t until I brought it to my union’s attention that my lawyer said it was not legal, that they said, ‘Oh, we overlooked it, this isn’t accurate, this isn’t right,’” Warick said.

[RELATED: The high cost and toll of sexual harassment and gender discrimination in law enforcement]

As a result, the department made another policy change for 40 minutes of pumping during an eight-hour shift. In addition, deputies working a 12-hour shift were given one hour of pumping without having to make any time up or use PTO.

Warick later chose to leave the department, telling WCAX3 that she wants “to call for the sheriff’s resignation,” and that the department needs “major change … and it’s got to start from the top.”

Clinton County Sheriff David Favro said he has “no intention of retiring.”

“I don’t see any wrongdoing in what we have done. Our team here at the sheriff’s department is moving forward. We are doing a lot of good for this community,” he continued.

According to Favro, Warick didn’t come to him directly with the complaints she had, though he wishes that she did. “Myself and the entire department take the rights of nursing mothers seriously,” Favro explained to WCAX3. “I went back and looked at our records and I don’t have her using any personal time to express milk. None. Not even one hour.”

After Warick’s complaint, Favro says the department took action and they offered a private room for new mothers to pump along with paid breaks.

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