In their solipsism and self-righteousness, lactivists are now threatening workplace equality.
That’s likely to be the ultimate effect of a poorly conceived, basically frivolous complaint being brought by a New Hampshire mother in the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
According to the astoundingly credulous reporter at The Boston Globe:
The 42-year-old New Hampshire woman, who was terminated from her job last August for not returning to work after her maternity leave, says she stayed home because her employers would not agree to what she calls a reasonable request to accommodate her desire to breast-feed her child during the workday.
Imagine that. She was fired simply because she refused to come to work.
I know you’ll be shocked to find that the mother feels terribly sorry for herself.
“I felt like a volcano was erupting and heading straight for me and I was locked in,” she said of the drawn-out communications she had with her employer over her breast-feeding rights. Frederick had worked as a child support officer with the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services in Conway. “If I went back to work and did what I needed to do for my health and [my son]’s health, I would have been insubordinating.”
I know what you’re thinking, because I thought the same thing. Why doesn’t she pump breastmilk for her son? Alas, her special snowflake won’t take a bottle.
The Affordable Care Act and state laws require most employers to accommodate women who wish to breast-feed by allowing them to pump milk during the workday to later bottle-feed their children. But Frederick’s son Devon, like many babies, would not take a bottle at first; to breast-feed him, she would have to physically be with him.
That means she fell into a legal black hole in terms of protection: Employers aren’t required to let their employees breast-feed children during work hours — they just have to make it possible for mothers to pump their milk.
She hasn’t been to work for the past year? How old is this baby anyway? Actually, he’s not a baby. He’s a 14 month old toddler.
Legal eagle Jake Marcus (a woman, and Gina Crossly-Corcoran’s former lawyer in our ongoing court case) offered this bit of brilliance:
Jake Marcus, a Philadelphia lawyer and national breast-feeding advocate, calls that legal distinction between pumping and feeding “absurd.”
“Just the specter of having children in the workplace scares people,” she said.
No, Jake, that doesn’t scare people. It’s interferes with the purpose of the workplace … work.
Dr. Melissa Bartick weighs in. You may remember Dr. Bartick as the researcher who published thoroughly fanciful and fabricated claims about breastfeeding saving hundreds of lives and billions of dollars … as long as we ASSUME (!!) a causal relationship between breastfeeding and health benefits.
Dr. Bartick, vying for the role of lactivist bully-in-chief, has this to say:
“There are enormous risks from not breast-feeding,” said Dr. Melissa Bartick, chair of the Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition. Stopping breast-feeding earlier puts children at risk for many chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and even leukemia, she said.
That, of course, is a bald faced lie, but when you are bullying, the truth apparently doesn’t matter very much.
But let’s leave aside the extraordinary factual problems with this case, including the absurd claims about the benefits of breastfeeding. This case strikes at the heart of workplace equality for women because it is predicated on a radical demand: employers ought to be forced to accommodate whatever a mother deems “best” for her child.
Women have spent decades convincing employers that they can be equal to men in all parameters of work. Now this woman is claiming that children have a need for their mothers that trumps the employer’s needs. Why stop at breastfeeding?
Why wouldn’t women argue that children have a need for their mother’s physical presence for 3 years and that they should be allowed to have 3 year maternity leaves? Why couldn’t women argue that children have a need for mothers to be home at night and therefore, women should not be asked to travel for business? What if the baby has terrible stranger anxiety? Does that mean that the baby should be allowed to come to work with the mother?
Kate Frederick may believe that her baby’s needs come before her employer’s needs. If so, she can act accordingly by putting her baby’s needs ahead of her employer’s needs and resign her job. But Kate seems to think that HER EMPLOYER should put Devon’s needs ahead of his own needs and that’s where she crossed the line.
Are women equal in the workplace, capable of performing at the same level as men? Or does being a mother mean that women can longer be a professional at work, but a mother first?
My generation of women, and the generation that came before me, struggled mightily to convince professional schools, employers and colleagues that women are every bit as capable and every bit as responsible as male employees. We managed to do so AND successfully mother our children.
Now a new generation of women is declaring that, no, women cannot be expected to be every bit as capable and professional as men. Once they have a baby, the baby trumps all and they must be allowed to do whatever they want, whenever they want, by saying the magic words, “it’s good for my baby.”
Lactivists need to grow up and own their own choices. Women can continue a successful breastfeeding relationship by pumping during working hours while still being stellar employees. If Kate Frederick and other lactivists think that’s not good enough for their special snowflakes, they can quit their jobs, do without the income, and accept the fact that their babies are not their employers’ responsibility.