Female Pilots Challenging Airline's Maternity And Breastfeeding Policies

Won't let sexism fly.

Four female pilots with Frontier Airlines filed discrimination claims on Tuesday against their employer's maternity and breastfeeding policies.

The American Civil Liberties Union issued the complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of pilots Shannon Kiedrowski, Brandy Beck, Erin Zielinski and Randi Freyer.

According to an ACLU YouTube video, Frontier Airlines forced these pilots to take 10 weeks of unpaid leave prior to their due date and forced them to return to work after four months of unpaid maternity leave. After returning to work, they claimed that Frontier Airlines failed to provide breastfeeding accommodations.

Freyer said she suffered two breast infections from delayed pumping as a result of the lack of accommodations.

"There's a very clear law that requires employers to provide breaks and non-bathroom locations for employees to express breast milk," Galen Sherwin, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Women's Rights Project, told CNN.

Kiedrowski, a first officer with Frontier Airlines since 2002, penned a blog with the ACLU describing her uncomfortable experiences working as a pilot and breastfeeding without lactation rooms.

"We're asking for a commonsense set of policy changes that will better meet the needs of pilots who are breastfeeding," she wrote. "These include asking Frontier to provide pilots the option of taking a temporary alternative assignment that would permit us to continue working during pregnancy or breastfeeding; allow nursing mothers additional unpaid parental leave after birth, to remove the worst barriers to breastfeeding; identify places where a breastfeeding pilot can pump at airports Frontier uses; and allow pilots who are breastfeeding to pump on aircraft if they need to."

She added that it was unfair for female pilots to "choose between our jobs and breastfeeding our children."

The airline said that they are complying with all federal and state laws.

"While there are many workplaces that might allow for nursing mothers to express breast milk during a break from work activities, the duties of a commercial airline pilot present unique circumstances," Frontier Airlines said to CNN. "We have made good-faith efforts to identify and provide rooms and other secure locations for use by breastfeeding pilots during their duty travel."

As a public response to the story, the hashtag #SexismWontFly started on Twitter.


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