US Department of Labor finds Palm Coast resort operator denied employee private space to express milk for newborn, as federal law requires
PALM COAST, FL – The U.S. Department of Labor determined that a Palm Coast resort and spa violated federal laws requiring employers to provide workplace accommodations for workers who need to pump breast milk for their infants, particularly a designated place for them to express milk privately. Additionally, the employer violated federal child labor laws, employing children between the ages of 14 and 15 to work longer than federal law permits.
The department’s Wage and Hour Division investigators found supervisors employed by Aimbridge Employee Service Corp. – operating as Hammock Beach Golf Resort and Spa – failed to provide a private place for a worker to express milk for her newborn baby, in violation of Fair Labor Standards Act protections for employees to pump at work.
The agency learned that when an employee at the Palm Coast resort asked for a private place to pump breast milk, supervisors took nearly four months to identify a space, eventually offering a manager’s office. The office lacked privacy, as the employee learned when another worker entered the room while the mother was attempting to pump milk. In another incident, the employer submitted a written counseling to the employee for leaving workplace property without permission after the worker advised that she needed to leave to express milk for her child.
“Employers who fail to provide break time and a private place as the law requires are creating a barrier for women to balance their career and a child’s needs once they return to work after having a child,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Wildalí De Jesús in Orlando, Florida. “Employers must provide nursing mothers a place to pump at work, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public.”
Federal investigators also found that the employer employed eight children, 14- and 15-year-olds, to work more than three hours on a school day, more than eight hours on a non-school day, more than 40 hours in a week when school was not in session and past 7 p.m. on school nights, all violations of child labor provisions of the FLSA. As a result of these violations, the agency assessed the employer $6,810 in civil money penalties.
“As kids are getting back to school throughout our communities, we encourage employers, parents, teachers and young workers to use the variety of free resources we offer to understand youth workers’ rights under the law,” added De Jesús. “The Fair Labor Standards Act allows for developmental experiences but restricts the hours and times of day that 14- and 15-year-old employees can work and provides for penalties when employers do not follow the law.”
Aimbridge Service Corp., operating as Hammock Beach Golf Resort and Spa, employs approximately 550 employees. The company is headquartered in Plano, Texas.
The Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act extends workers’ rights to receive break time to pump in a private place at work. Under the PUMP Act, most nursing employees have the right to reasonable break time and a private place to express breast milk while at work.
“There are long term benefits to breast feeding both for families and employers. Mothers who breast feed generally take less time off work due to childhood illnesses,” added De Jesús.
The YouthRules! initiative promotes positive and safe work experiences for teens by providing information about protections for young workers to youth, parents, employers and educators. Through this initiative, the U.S. Department of Labor and its partners promote developmental work experiences that help prepare young workers to enter the workforce. The Wage and Hour Division has also published Seven Child Labor Best Practices for Employers to help employers comply with the law.
For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the division, contact the agency’s toll-free helpline confidentially at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). The division protects workers regardless of where they are from and can communicate with workers in more than 200 languages.
Read this news release En Español.