Lubbock Whataburger accused of denying nursing mother time to pump, then fired her

Whataburger logo.
Whataburger logo.(Whataburger)
Published: May. 25, 2023 at 11:16 AM CDT|Updated: May. 25, 2023 at 11:26 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - A Lubbock Whataburger is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor for reportedly denying a nursing mother time to express breast milk while at work then later illegally firing her.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found the restaurant at 7201 Quaker Ave. failed to provide reasonable break time for the employee to pump. Investigators say when the employee left the restaurant to express milk, the employer terminated the employee.

The restaurant was ordered to pay $1,800 in back wages and damages.

“Depriving a nursing mother of her right to express breast milk with enough break time to do it, and then firing her is against the law,” said Wage and Hour District Director Evelyn Ortiz in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “Employers must comply with all of the FLSA provisions, including the right of nursing mothers to request the time and space they need to express milk without fear of retaliation.”

Under the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act, most nursing employees have the right to reasonable break time and a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view to express breast milk while at work. This right is available for up to one year after the child’s birth.

Whataburger issued this response on Thursday evening:

Whataburger understands the unique challenges facing nursing mothers at work and has an official company policy that upholds the right to time and privacy. We strongly believe that nursing mothers have the right to reasonable break time and a private place, other than a bathroom, to express breast milk.

For more than 72 years, we have employed thousands of working mothers (and parents) and pride ourselves on the flexibility and support we offer so they can spend time taking care of their children.

While we are unable to comment on this particular situation, we are committed to supporting nursing mothers – and all parents – as they balance work and family.