Lactation discrimination does not violate Title VII, according to a Texas federal district court in a case brought by the EEOC. EEOC v. Houston Funding II (S.D. Tex. February 2, 2012). The EEOC claimed the employer fired the worker because she wanted to pump breast milk at work.

In granting summary judgment to the employer, the court noted that discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition violates Title VII but that lactation is none of these. The district court said “[f]iring someone because of lactation or breast-pumping is not sex discrimination.” Even if the EEOC’s allegations were true, “the law does not punish lactation discrimination,” the court added.  


The EEOC appealed the district court’s decision.  A three judge panel of the Fifth Circuit heard oral argument on the appeal on November 6, 2012.