Lawsuit: Philly PD doesn’t give women LEOs time, privacy to pump

The federal suit alleges women officers experience unsanitary nursing conditions and harassment


PoliceOne Staff 

PHILADELPHIA — A federal lawsuit against the Philadelphia Police Department alleges female officers don’t have the time, space and privacy to continue nursing when they return to work. 

PennLive reports the sex and pregnancy discrimination suit filed Wednesday said that, despite legal requirements, women are interrupted, ridiculed and sometimes forced to take leave to go home and pump. 

"We come into work, we want to work, and we're also trying to do the natural thing and nurse our babies," lead plaintiff Janelle Newsome told the Associated Press on Wednesday. 

Newsome and fellow officer Jennifer Allen both allege in the lawsuit they had to pump in unsanitary locker rooms, borrowed offices or lunch rooms.  The lawsuit accuses the department of violating local, state and federal laws that mandate accommodations for nursing mothers.  

About 22% of the city's 6,500 officers are female, according to PennLive. 

Allen told the Associated Press she stopped breastfeeding her child just before his first birthday because she was frustrated by harassment within her department, including derogatory comments and the theft of pumped milk she left in the refrigerator. 

"I've heard several (female) supervisors say, 'Well, we had to deal with it, what's the difference?'” Allen told the Associated Press. “We should not have to deal with it. It's not OK.” 

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