GLENDALE, Colo. (CBS4)– A woman claims that she lost her job as a 911 dispatcher with the City of Glendale after repeated requests for breaks so she could pump her breast milk.
“I was not asking for any additional break time,” said nursing mother Katie Falk, “only utilize the breaks the law gives you.”
Falk was aware of the time constraints of her position. Before she took maternity leave, Falk said a patrol officer, who was not trained in her job, would stand in when she needed a break.
Falk said she rarely took a lunch break, instead using a few moments to use the rest room or grab a soda. It was because of her work history that she spoke with her supervisor about needing breaks to pump her breast milk before she went on maternity leave.
Falk returned to work seven weeks after her daughter, Lilly, was born. She wanted to continue breastfeeding but claims she was immediately met with resistance.
“They did not have a place for me to pump, a sanitary area. I was told I would be pumping in a toilet stall and do that while I was working,” said Falk. “To try to answer 911 calls and radio and stick a pump under my uniform was ludicrous to me and that was the expectation of my employer. I was horrified.”
Falk elevated her concerns up the chain of command to her supervisor. That’s when she said things began to get worse.
“I had an officer, sometimes hours after requesting a break, after I was in a wet shirt and extremely uncomfortable, given a few minutes to get back there and pump,” said Falk.
Falk said that Glendale’s Chief of Police, Victor Ross, told her officers would comply with her requests for breaks. She said it created a backlash.
“They made it clear they did not want to give me a break. It was inconvenient and not their problem,” said Falk.
She believes it cost her her job. Falk read an email she received from her employer, “We’ve taken you off the schedule. We can no longer accommodate your needs. It was embarrassing, stressful and they were literally taking food out of my daughter’s mouth.”
Falk outlined her claim in a lawsuit filed Monday against the City of Glendale.
The City of Glendale and Ross cannot comment on the lawsuit. Ross also declined to elaborate on the type of environment that is provided to breastfeeding mothers working in the building.
Ross did confirm that this is the second lawsuit Falk has filed against the city. The first one was dismissed.