Lawsuit: Women NYPD officers in Brooklyn don't have privacy to pump

Borough officials have requested a facility audit after five Brooklyn officers filed a lawsuit in federal court last week

Thomas Tracy
New York Daily News

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams wants to make sure the city is providing clean, private spaces for the NYPD’s nursing mothers.

On Thursday, Adams (D-Brooklyn) will request the City Comptroller’s office conduct a “comprehensive audit” of NYPD facilities to make sure spaces are being provided for working moms who have to pump breast milk for their newborns.

Five police officers sued the NYPD in Brooklyn Federal Court last week, claiming the department had not provided them with clean and private spaces, as required by law. Instead, the women were forced to pump milk in front of colleagues, in filthy rooms, bathrooms and squad cars, the lawsuit alleges.

“The disturbing allegations in this lawsuit show that our City is failing working mothers," Adams said Wednesday. “We cannot claim we are leading on gender equality when women cannot safely pump breast milk without facing ridicule or dangerous conditions.”

The lawsuit comes 10 months after the women filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, claiming they were assigned to “punishment posts" and being denied meals.

“The boys club culture in our law enforcement must change to embrace and support mothers who are trying to balance the demands of work and family,” Adams said.

Adams also wants the City Council to pass a law that will ensure all city facilities have designated lactation rooms that will remain clean for nursing moms.

A city law that went into effect in November 2018 already requires the police department to provide employees with lactation rooms close to where they work and a refrigerator “suitable for breast milk storage.”

The NYPD said the department was “committed to providing its employees with appropriate accommodations to express breast milk privately, comfortably and in close proximity to work."

“The department continues to maintain an up to date written policy on how to request leave to express breast milk as needed," the statement read. “(We are) in compliance with federal, state, and local laws to provide reasonable accommodations to express breast milk.”

Attorney Eric Sanders, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of the NYPD officers, hopes that Adams’ demands will force the department to make good on their promises.

“With the assistance of the Borough President and hopefully the Comptroller, we intend to ensure the NYPD complies with law and stop treating nursing mothers as second class citizens,” Sanders said.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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