News Release

Texas Counseling Company to Pay $22,000 in Back Wages, Damages For Violating Anti-Retaliation Law in Nursing Mothers Case

LUBBOCK, TX – In a settlement with the U.S. Department of Labor, Allegiance Behavioral Health Center of Plainview doing business as Inspirations, a subsidiary of Allegiance Health Management Inc. based in Shreveport, Louisiana, will pay $22,000 in back wages and compensatory and liquidated damages to a former employee for violating the anti-retaliation provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The Department filed a lawsuit against the employer in federal court after an investigation by the Department's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) found that the family counseling company violated the FLSA's nursing mothers provision when it denied the employee adequate time and space to express milk. The employee had no choice but to express milk in a parking lot accessible to both her co-workers and the public. Faced with continuing that practice or leaving her employment, the employee quit her job, which the Department deemed a constructive discharge under the FLSA's anti-retaliation provisions.

"Employers and employees should understand that forcing a nursing mother to express milk in a restroom or in public is against the law," said Wage and Hour's Southwest Regional Administrator, Betty Campbell. "The law requires employers to provide women who are nursing with privacy during their break time. The Wage and Hour Division provides compliance assistance to help employers understand their responsibilities to their employees, including the right of nursing mothers to request the time and space they need to express milk without interruption and without fear of retaliation."

Under the FLSA, employers are required to provide a place - other than a bathroom - shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, where an employee can express breast milk. Employers are also required to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for up to one year after the child's birth each time the employee has need to express milk. Learn more about the FLSA's nursing mothers' provisions.

For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, contact the toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available at http://www.dol.gov/whd including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the Division.

Civil Action No.:  5:18-cv-00100

Agency
Wage and Hour Division
Date
April 26, 2019
Release Number
19-0442-DAL
Contact: Juan Rodriguez
Contact: Chauntra Rideaux
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