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Teacher sues school she says fired her for too many breaks to pump


Portland, Maine, teacher Shana Swenson sued in federal court on the basis of gender discrimination and pregnancy. She says her school district would not allow her enough time to pump breast milk for her child. (Photo: Getty Images)A Portland, Maine, woman is suing because she says she was fired for taking breaks to pump her breast milk.Former elementary school teacher Shana Swenson, 33, said she told school officials at the Falmouth Elementary School when she returned from maternity leave in August 2017 that she must either pump breast milk three times a day for 20 minutes or feed her child at the on-site day care center, according to the Bangor Daily News.Swenson said in the complaint that she was told to reduce the number of times she fed her child.She was not OK with that. Swenson continued with her three-times-a-day pumping schedule.The lawsuit against Falmouth schools alleges Swenson’s decision to express breast milk at work was met with “extreme animosity and hostility” by some colleagues. She also received her first negative evaluation two months after returning to work, according to the lawsuit. In May 2018, Swenson was told that her contract with the school would not be renewed.”Ms. Swenson was surprised and hurt by the treatment that she was subjected to during her employment,” Adam Lease, a partner with Karpf, Karpf and Cerutti of Bensalem, Pennsylvania, said in a statement obtained by the Portland Press Herald. “We look forward to the discovery process including depositions and document exchanges to vindicate our client’s rights.” The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court last week claims discrimination on the basis of gender and pregnancy.Melissa Hewey, an attorney for Falmouth schools, told the Bangor Daily News that Swenson’s claims are “false.””Falmouth works hard to support employees who are parents by, among other things, providing mothers with paid time to breastfeed and express breast milk during the school day, extended parental leave when needed, and an on-site day care for employees so that they are able to be near their children and participate in their care during the working day,” Hewey said.Swenson was a Response to Intervention teacher who helped students in grades three through five who were struggling in classes.  Contributing: The Associated PressLike All the Moms?Connect with us on Facebook.READ MORERead or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/allthemoms/2019/05/20/maine-teacher-sues-school-fired-her-breast-milk-pumping-breaks/3741684002/

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