ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A former Albuquerque police officer is suing the department over her breastfeeding rights. She had been on the force for a couple years when she had a baby. When she came back to work, she claims she was sent back out on patrol — and on calls — making it hard for her to pump her breast milk.
Former Albuquerque Police Department officer, Jennifer Lund, claims she was “…forced to lactate while in her patrol car.” Now she is suing APD for the “…endless harassment, work environment hostility, intolerable conditions…” that she faced upon returning from maternity leave.
Lund was hired by APD in 2012. During most of 2014 and 2015, she was a part of a graveyard patrol squad in the Northeast area command. Her attorney, Thomas Grover, said she was a good officer with good standing. Lund took maternity leave in February of 2014, then she returned to work mid-May and was put back on graveyard.
Experts tell KRQE News 13 state law requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for nursing mothers.
“Need to be provided with a clean, private area that is not a bathroom. Need to be provided flexible break times, flexible scheduling,” said Erin Marshall, Acting Executive Director, New Mexico Breastfeeding Task Force.
But Lund claims APD violated her needs to “express milk” during her shifts. She said initially with her supervisor’s approval, she was given about 20 minutes each night to pump milk — requiring her to “…partially undress, remove her police gear..,” so she could not respond to calls during those times. However, when a new immediate supervisor was put in charge, Lund was “…expected to respond to calls for service.”
Experts with the New Mexico Breastfeeding Task Force said not pumping regularly poses health risks.
“Engorgements, mastitis, clogged ducts, which could lead to infection,” said Marshall.
Lund also claims to have suffered physical pain in the lawsuit. She is seeking compensation for the physical pain and emotional distress she suffered — and the loss in wages. Lund is open to getting her job back.
APD did not comment on the lawsuit.
Lund resigned a little more than a year ago. She is now a police officer for Albuquerque Public Schools.