Breastfeeding Cop Put On Unpaid Leave After Asking For Desk Job

Illustration for article titled Breastfeeding Cop Put On Unpaid Leave After Asking For Desk Job

Sashay Brown, a police officer in Washington, D.C., recently asked her superiors to let her stay on a desk job. She'd been sent out on patrol, but there was a problem.

She had just had her second child and was breastfeeding. "Because of my condition, I am unable to wear my [bulletproof] vest," Brown wrote her superiors, according to the Washington Examiner. "Wearing my vest is extremely painful and could clog my ducts and slow down the production of my milk supply." A department doctor agreed with her.

But because of a new department policy that "was meant to force officers who had made dubious claims of health issues back to the street," as described by The Examiner, Brown not only didn't get her request granted — she was put on unpaid leave until "department doctors determine Brown is fit for full duty." (This part is confusing, since the story says a department doctor already checked her out. It also doesn't say how long the unpaid leave will last). She has no more sick days left after the birth.


Interestingly, Washington D.C. has a female police chief, Cathy Lanier, whose statement on the matter seemed distinctly Orwellian: "The Department's leave policies for employees who become new parents are designed to address the medical and emotional needs of new families...The Department's lactation policy is also designed to accommodate mothers as they transition back to performing in a full-duty capacity."

Unless there's something else we don't know about this case, it sounds a lot like the opposite of accommodating mothers.

Breast-Feeding D.C. Cop Forced To Take Leave Without Pay [Washington Examiner]

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I'm all for reasonable accommodations. Demanding that you be given a new job for the length of your breastfeeding (which could easily be for years) on top of the time you were taken off for your pregnancy and maternity leave is not reasonable.

There are plenty of jobs that don't allow for multiple breaks a day for lots of pumping, teaching is one that sticks out to me (teachers are lucky to have enough time to go to the bathroom). I also don't believe her that she can't wear a vest while she's breastfeeding as most nursing women wear compressive bras while they're breastfeeding, the girls don't need to fly free.