Autumn Lampkins says she was demoted because she asked for breaks to pump during her 10-hour shifts
A Delaware Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise must pay over $1.5 million in damages to a former employee who said that she was demoted for needing to pump breast milk.
When Lampkins was hired to be an assistant manager at a Camden location of KFC just a few months after giving birth in 2014, she was told that it would not affect her need to breastfeed. But she immediately had to work 10-hour training sessions with just one break, which didn’t allow her to pump every two hours, as her doctors recommended.
At first, Lampkins pumped in a single-stall restroom, but she was later instructed to instead pump in the manager’s office, which had a surveillance camera that she was told they could not turn off.
Once she completed her training, Lampkins was moved to a KFC in Dover where she was soon demoted to a shift supervisor, and dealt with insubordination from her co-workers who complained that she got too many “breaks” to breast pump, she said in the lawsuit.
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Lampkins said that the experience caused physical pain and led her to switch her baby to formula far sooner than she had planned.
A jury agreed with Lampkins’ claims of workplace discrimination and awarded her $25,000 in compensatory damages and $1.5 million in punitive damages.
“It was a great and long-fought victory,” one of her attorneys, Patrick Gallagher of Wilmington law firm Jacobs & Crumplar P.A., told The News Journal. “It’s a great day for women’s rights. The jury sent a message that employers cannot treat lactating women differently in the workplace.”