NYPD installs 'pumping pods' in headquarters after lawsuit
After a class-action lawsuit and a joint complaint by five mothers claiming a lack of adequate space, the pods have been set up at NYPD headquarters
Thomas Tracy and Elizabeth Keogh
New York Daily News
NEW YORK — The NYPD has installed two “pumping pods” at its headquarters after complaints and legal challenges from cops who say they have no clean space to pump breast milk on the job.
After a class-action lawsuit and a joint complaint by five mothers claiming a lack of adequate space, the pods have been set up at 1 Police Plaza in lower Manhattan. If they’re a success, the department plans to install them at other police facilities around the city.
The pods, built by a Vermont company called Mamava, are freestanding rooms where mothers can express milk in a clean and private setting. They’re equipped with benches and electrical outlets and can be locked from the inside.
The shortage of places to pump breast milk was brought to light in October by Officer Simone Teagle of the 113th Precinct in Jamaica, Queens. Teagle claimed her superiors refused to provide her with the time and a clean space to pump, in violation of department policy and state and federal law.
After Teagle complained about the conditions, she was transferred. She then filed a $5 million lawsuit, which is still pending.
When she returned to her beat in February, the NYPD still did not have adequate spaces for nursing mothers to pump.
That same month, Teagle, along with Officers Theresa Mahon, Melissa Soto-Germosen, Vivian Ayende and Elizabeth Ortiz, filed discrimination complaints against the NYPD, claiming that they were forced to pump breast milk in locker rooms, cars or bathrooms.
The women claim the department’s lack of sanitary pumping places caused several of them to develop mastitis, an inflammation of breast tissue that sometimes involves an infection.
NYPD policy states each precinct must provide “a private room or an office for employees to express breast milk.” The room should “provide an employee with the requisite privacy” and cannot be a bathroom.
According to an NYPD spokeswoman, the pods are part of the department’s ongoing plan to find clean milk-pumping places for mothers.
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