The NYPD has been accused of creating a hostile environment for nursing moms, according to a legal notice filed by a police officer who says she was shamed after the birth of her now-11-month-old son.
An attorney for Simone Teagle told the New York Post that she intends to file a $5 million lawsuit against the city and Mayor Bill de Blasio for not protecting officers who must pump breαst milk on the job.
Teagle claims that she developed mastitis — a painful inflammation of the breαsts that can develop when milk ducts are blocked or not emptied regularly — and was ultimately transferred out of the 113th Precinct in Queens as “retaliation” for insisting on her right to pump in the workplace.
Teagle also complained that moms were forced to pump in bathrooms or locker rooms, which she considered unsanitary.
“There was trash on the floor, mold on the walls, old newspapers,” she said. “It was just a deplorable situation to pump milk in. Just horrible.”
Reactions from her fellow officers also made her uncomfortable.
“They would look at me and roll their eyes,” she told the Post. “Or cut their eyes at me like, ‘Oh, boy, here we go again.’ Sometimes they wouldn’t even acknowledge me.”
The final straw came when a supervisor told Teagle to start logging the breaks she was taking to pump, making Teagle feel as though she had been slacking on the job. The demand prompted her to cut back her pumping, which triggered the mastitis.
“After a while I stopped asking for a break,” she said. “Only when I felt the need and my breαsts were filling up. I didn’t want to deal with the faces and the nastiness.”
While the city’s legal department declined to comment to the Post, Teagle is hoping her lawsuit will help new moms within the NYPD.
“I know there are other women who have dealt with the breαst pump issue,” she told the paper. “Most of them just totally stopped breαstfeeding. They just stopped breαstfeeding because they didn’t want to deal with it.”
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