NYPD employees who have gotten pregnant have had to pump breast milk in their own cars and endured hostile work environment as working mothers because the department failed to project their legal rights, according to at least five women.
In a complaint filed against New York City and the police department last week, Simone Teagle, Theresa Mahon, Melissa Germosen, Viviana Ayende and Elizabeth Ortiz say that the NYPD has neglected to provide nursing employees with a lactation room, as required by law, where they can safely breastfeed or pump milk since August 2007.
Teagle say that she had to pump inside her own car, the locker room and the bathroom, according to the complaint. She also had to store the milk inside a lunchbox in her car or otherwise leave it in the common area refrigerator, or worse, dump it.
In April 2017, Germosen says she was forced to pump inside a locker room that was "filled with dust, bed bugs and smell of pesticide."
The women alleged that under the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act of 2014, the NYPD has to provide "a clean and private area, other than a bathroom, and must provide a refrigerator to store breast milk in the workplace."
Aside from the lack of lactation facilities, the complainants say they were subjected to "jeers, sarcastic comments, ostracization, ridicule, extra supervision, extra burdens to document and prove their personal breaks."
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea, Mayor de Blasio, former mayor Michael Bloomberg and several NYPD administrators and officers were named as defendants in the lawsuit, according to the complaint.
The city's law department has declined to comment on the pending litigation and the police department has not responded to NBC New York's request for comment.