Female pilots are accusing Frontier Airlines of blocking them from breastfeeding

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Female Pilots File Discrimination Charges Against Frontier Airlines

On Tuesday, a group of female pilots have filed a complaint against Frontier Airlines, alleging that they've been discriminated against as breastfeeding mothers.

According to the Huffington Post, the legal document, filed with help from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the American Civil Liberties Union, said that in addition to suffering physical harm as a result of the airline's discriminatory practices, the pilots feared losing their jobs for expressing breast milk on duty. (No, not while actually flying in an airplane.)

First officer Shannon Keidrowski said in her complaint that human resources personnel told her they "weren't comfortable" with her plan to pump breastmilk in the airplane bathroom or in the airport during a layover.

Female Pilots Are Accusing Frontier Airlines of Blocking Them From Breastfeeding
Source: David Zalubowski/AP

ACLU senior staff attorney Galen Sherwin told the Huffington Post that these layovers are typically only 45 minutes long, during which pilots still have work-related tasks to complete. While some airports have lactation rooms, it can be impossible to make it to and from them in time for takeoff.

Keidrowski suggested Frontier Airlines follow the steps of other major airlines, many of which allow for a maternity leave long enough for mothers to finish breastfeeding.

For a natural physiological process by which mothers feed their children, breastfeeding can be unnecessarily contentious. Breastfeeding mothers have been asked to leave establishments or have simply been shamed for nursing their children in public. Many moms have stuck it to sexists before, but others can't afford to — because their jobs are at stake.

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Female pilots are accusing Frontier Airlines of blocking them from breastfeeding
A Frontier Airlines jet waits at the gate prior to departure at the Denver International Airport in Denver, Colorado, February 4, 2012. A winter storm walloped eastern Colorado with its first heavy snow of the new year on Friday, closing schools, forcing flight cancellations at Denver International Airport and creating blizzard conditions on the High Plains. REUTERS/Nathan Armes (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENVIRONMENT TRANSPORT)
Frontier Airlines flight attendants Cheryl Jacquot (L) and Deborah Campos walk to work a flight to Washington, D.C. at the Denver airport August 27, 2009. Frontier was acquired by Republic Airways in an August 14 auction. Frontier is expected to exit bankruptcy by the end of next month. REUTERS/Rick Wilking (UNITED STATES)
Frontier Airlines planes wait at their gates for the next batch of passengers at the Denver airport August 27, 2009. Frontier was acquired by Republic Airways in an August 14 auction. Frontier is expected to exit bankruptcy by the end of next month. REUTERS/Rick Wilking (UNITED STATES TRANSPORT BUSINESS)
Passengers check in at the Frontier Airlines ticket counter at the Denver International Airport April 11, 2008. Low-cost carrier Frontier Airlines Holdings has filed for bankruptcy, becoming the fifth U.S. carrier in two weeks to take drastic measures as soaring fuel prices and economic weakness bear down on the industry. REUTERS/Rick Wilking (UNITED STATES)
Passengers check in at the Frontier Airlines ticket counter at the Denver International Airport April 11, 2008. Low-cost carrier Frontier Airlines Holdings has filed for bankruptcy, becoming the fifth U.S. carrier in two weeks to take drastic measures as soaring fuel prices and economic weakness bear down on the industry. REUTERS/Rick Wilking (UNITED STATES)
Passengers check in at the Frontier Airlines ticket counter at the Denver International Airport April 11, 2008. Low-cost carrier Frontier Airlines Holdings has filed for bankruptcy, becoming the fifth U.S. carrier in two weeks to take drastic measures as soaring fuel prices and economic weakness bear down on the industry. REUTERS/Rick Wilking (UNITED STATES)
In this photograph taken late Monday, Feb. 8, 2016, a Frontier Airlines plane lands on a runway at Denver International Airport. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
The Frontier Airlines plane that Amber Vinson flew from Cleveland to Dallas on Monday, taxies from the terminal at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014, in Cleveland. Vinson is the second nurse to be diagnosed with Ebola at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. Ohio health officials aren't sure how many people came into contact with Vinson as she visited family in the Akron area days before being diagnosed with the disease. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
FILE - In this Monday, Feb. 22, 2010, file photo, Frontier Airlines jetliners sit stacked up at gates along the A concourse at Denver International Airport. Carriers are offering more deals to passengers who book flights directly on their websites. Frontier Airlines is the latest carrier to jump into the fight, announcing Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012, that it will penalize passengers who donât book directly with the airline. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
FILE - In this Oct. 15, 2014 file photo, a Frontier Airlines employee directs passengers at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, in Cleveland. The U.S. Department of Transportation on Monday, May 11, 2015 said that it received more complaints from consumers in March than it did in either the previous month or March of 2014. Passengers on Frontier Airlines were 34 times more likely to complain than passengers on Southwest Airlines, which has the lowest complaint rate. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)
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In an official statement from the airline shared by the Huffington Post, representatives insisted they're doing their best to support new mothers, given the "unique circumstances" working for an airline may present.

"While there are many work places that might allow for nursing mothers to express breastmilk during a break from work activities, the duties of a commercial airline pilot present unique circumstances," wrote a spokesperson. "We have made good-faith efforts to identify and provide rooms and other secure locations for use by breastfeeding pilots during their duty travel."

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