REPORTING VIOLATIONS OF VIRGINIA BREASTFEEDING LAWS:
If you have a question or concern about this law or feel your rights
have been violated please email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you live in the Hampton Roads area, you many also let CINCH, the Consortium
for Infant and Child Health, know of your experience, as they are tracking these
incidents. Additionally, they offer training to the site where it occurred so that
it won’t happen again.
VIRGINIA’S GUIDE TO BREASTFEEDING LAWS FOR BUSINESSES - a fact sheet for printing and sharing. This fact sheet was developed by the Virginia Department of Health in collaboration with Old Dominion School of Nursing & CINCH/Eastern Virginia Medical School.
CONGRATULATIONS VIRGINIA ON YOUR NEW WORKPLACE BREASTFEEDING LAW!
In Virginia, mothers have the right to breastfeed in any public or private location, as long as they are legally allowed to be there. As of July 1, 2020, the “Virginia Values Act,” went into effect and expanded Virginia’s Human Rights Act (“VHRA”). Now, breastfeeding employees are protected from discrimination.
Thanks to new laws passed in 2020, Virginia employers with five or more employees can’t discriminate on the “basis of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, including lactation.” Which means that employers cannot refuse “reasonable accommodations” of break time and a lactation space (that’s not a bathroom) for breastfeeding employees to pump at work. Virginia law also protects breastfeeding teachers and students by directing all school boards to provide “breaks of reasonable length” and a private space (other than a bathroom) to pump at school for up to one year. Read the laws: House Bill 827/Senate Bill 712 and Va. Code § 22.1-79.5 (2014).
BUT THERE IS STILL MORE WORK TO DO!
Virginia still needs state law that protects all working breastfeeding mothers AND additional state legislation protects specific populations OR mandates lactation accommodations for specific locations.
The gold standard. State law protects all working breastfeeding mothers, identifies standards for lactation spaces (e.g., access to a refrigerator), AND additional state legislation protects specific populations AND mandates lactation accommodations for specific locations.
Find out more about how workplace breastfeeding laws benefit employers and Virginia families below.
The ACLU’s Know Your Rights booklet provides effective and useful guidance for pregnant, post-partum, and breastfeeding workers in a user-friendly, question and answer format. You can also consult the ACLU’s overview of federal employment laws that apply when pregnant or breastfeeding on the job, as well as the Department of Labor’s Fact Sheet #73: Break Time for Nursing Mothers under the FLSA.
Read the Center for Worklife Law's Workplace Lactation guide here.
SUMMARY OF ENACTED BREASTFEEDING LEGISLATION IN VIRGINIA
Va. Code § 2.2-1147.1 (2002, 2015) guarantees a woman the right to breastfeed her child on in any place where the mother is lawfully present, including any location where she would otherwise be allowed on property that is owned, leased or controlled by the state. The bill also stipulates that childbirth and related medical conditions specified in the Virginia Human Rights Act include activities of lactation, including breastfeeding and expression of milk by a mother for her child. (HB 1264, HB 1499)
If you have a question or concern about this law or feel your rights have been violated please email email@example.com
Va. Code 18.2-387 (1994) exempts mothers engaged in breastfeeding from indecent exposure laws.
Va. Code 2.2-1147.1 (2002) guarantees a woman the right to breast-feed her child on any property owned, leased or controlled by the state. The bill also stipulates that childbirth and related medical conditions specified in the Virginia Human Rights Act include activities of lactation, including breast-feeding and expression of milk by a mother for her child. (H.B. 1264)
HJ 145 (2002) Encourages employers to recognize the benefits of breastfeeding and to provide unpaid break time and appropriate space for employees to breast-feed or express milk.
Va. Chapter No. 195 (2005) Provides that a mother who is breast-feeding a child may be exempted from jury duty upon her request. The mother need not be “necessarily and personally responsible for a child or children 16 years of age or younger requiring continuous care . . . during normal court hours” as the existing statute provides.
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe signs a bill into law on March 9, 2015 that will protect Virginia mothers who choose to breastfeed in public after July 1, 2015. At the time, Virginia was only one of three states that did not protect breastfeeding mothers in public spaces. The Commonwealth’s previous law only promised not to arrest nursing mothers for indecent exposure. Photo Virginia Governor’s Office.
Information about a new breastfeeding law for women in Virginia. This new law is what every employer needs to know, during COVID-19 and beyond.