Murphy Oil USA Inc. Implements Enterprise-Wide Program to Comply With Federal Law Governing Rights of Nursing Mothers
ELIZABETH CITY, NC – After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Murphy Oil USA Inc. has agreed to systemic changes company-wide to resolve a violation of the reasonable break time for nursing mothers’ requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) at an oil and gas service station in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.
Investigators found that Murphy Oil USA failed to provide reasonable break time free from intrusion, and a shielded view for a nursing mother to express breast milk. The only available area was a small storeroom with constant security surveillance that the employer could not disable. Employers are required to provide a place for employees to express breast milk, other than a bathroom, shielded from public view and free from intrusion by coworkers and the public. A representative of Murphy Oil USA stated the FLSA violation was a result of upper management having no knowledge of the need for accommodations at this location.
After discussions with WHD, Murphy Oil USA agreed to comply, and developed and distributed a new corporate policy for lactation breaks to the more than 7,000 employees. The plan has been implemented in all 1,480 Murphy Oil USA stores and will be enacted once an employee or store manager at each location states a need for a private space to express milk. Once notification is given, the store will be fitted with required equipment designed to retrofit the storerooms and offer the nursing mother a private place free from intrusion. The equipment includes a sign to prohibit entry, a chair, a curtain hung to obstruct security surveillance view and a dedicated refrigerator for the storage of pumped breast milk.
“Federal law requires that for a period of one year after a child’s birth, covered employers must provide reasonable break time each time an employee needs to express breast milk for her nursing child,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Richard Blaylock, in Raleigh, North Carolina. “We applaud the efforts of Murphy Oil USA Inc. in establishing a company-wide lactation break procedure and we encourage all employers to review their obligations and reach out to us for compliance assistance or with any questions they may have.”
The Department offers numerous resources to ensure employers have the tools they need to understand their responsibilities and to comply with federal law, such as online videos and confidential calls to local WHD offices.
For more information about the FLSA, nursing mothers provisions, 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 https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd.
WHD’s mission is to promote and achieve compliance with labor standards to protect and enhance the welfare of the nation’s workforce. WHD enforces federal minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping and child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. WHD also enforces the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, wage garnishment provisions of the Consumer Credit Protection Act and a number of employment standards and worker protections as provided in several immigration related statutes. Additionally, WHD administers and enforces the prevailing wage requirements of the Davis Bacon Act and the Service Contract Act and other statutes applicable to federal contracts for construction and for the provision of goods and services.
The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.
Editor's Note: This release was updated for clarity.