Sheila Engelmeier Comments on Delta Airlines Worker’s Claim that Delta is not Providing Proper Space to Express Milk
Jul 23, 2015 8:03 AM CDT – ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) Fox 9 News – by Leah Beno
A Delta Airlines worker claims her employer is not giving her a proper space to use her breast pump. State law requires a secure and private room to do so. View video of interview.
A spokesperson for Delta says it’s a surprise to them, because until Fox 9 called the corporate office in Atlanta, they had not heard any complaints, but first-time mother Symone Patton says that’s not true.
Her 4-month-old Ella has a working mom, and since Patton returned to work at the corporate Delta offices next to Terminal 2, she says it’s been an ongoing battle to get a time and place to use her breast pump. First, Patton said she had to argue with management for unpaid breaks to pump. It takes her longer because she only produces milk in one breast. Next, when both mother’s rooms were repeatedly occupied, she was directed to a conference room.
Sheila Engelmeier is not Patton’s attorney, but has tackled this issue repeatedly over the span of her 30-year career. She said both state and federal laws help protect working, nursing moms, and Minnesota is one of the most stringent in the country.
“The folks at Delta should know well this has been law for 17 years, that you have to provide place and enough time to express milk, so it is surprising that this would be an issue in a large corporation that should know the law very well,” she said.
In a statement, Delta said they are working with the employee to understand her specific needs and have already put in place measures to make sure she and others are accommodated. A spokesperson told Fox 9 corporate has learned of some constraints because of 3 mothers currently nursing, so a schedule has been posted to the room.
Delta full statement
Delta goes to great lengths to support nursing mothers and provides workplace flexibility and dedicated mothers’ rooms for breast-feeding moms, including two such facilities at the Minneapolis Customer Engagement Center. We’re working with this employee to understand her specific needs and have already put in place measures to make sure she and others are well taken care of.