Workforce

Fla. resort draws fire for its handling of a nursing mother on the payroll

Federal enforcement officials say the Hammock did not meet the requirements set out in a new law called the PUMP Act.
The PUMP Act requires all employers to provide breaks and a secluded place for nursing mothers. | Photo: Shutterstock

The U.S. Department of Labor has accused a Florida golf resort of violating the PUMP Act, a new law that requires restaurateurs and other employers to provide break times and a secluded place for mothers to express breast milk at work for their infants at home.

The Hammock Beach Golf Resort and Spa in Palm Coast, Fla., took four months to respond to an employee’s request for a private place to use a breast pump to gather and store her milk for her newborn, the department said in a press announcement.

The release also faulted the management company running the resort, Aimbridge Employee Service Corp., for choosing the site it eventually did, an office used by one of the executives. The PUMP Act requires that the place provided by an employer be private. According to DOL, a manager walked in on the mother while she was pumping.

It also faulted the management company for giving the woman a written admonition after she left the job site without permission to express her milk elsewhere.

“Employers who fail to provide breaktime and a private place as the law requires are creating a barrier for women to balance their career and a child’s needs once they return to work after having a child,” Wage and Hour Division District Director Wildalí De Jesús said in the press announcement. “Employers must provide nursing mothers a place to pump at work, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public.”

The timing indicated in the release suggest the Hammock is one of the first hospitality employers to be accused of violating the PUMP Act, which President Biden signed into law at the end of December. The official name of the law is the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act.

It is intended to ease new mothers’ transition back into the workforce.

Separately, DOL also accused the Hammock of allowing workers aged 14 and 15 to work more hours on a daily and weekly basis than federal law permits for youngsters of those ages. Specifically, the resort was accused of allowing the teens to work more than three hours on a school day; more than eight hours on a non-school day; more than 40 hours per week while school is not in session; and past 7 p.m. on a school night.

Because of those infractions, Aimbridge was fined $6,810, DOL said.

It did not reveal what sanctions the company faces if it is found to have violated the PUMP Act.

The department noted that Aimbridge employs 550 people in total. It is headquartered in Plano, Texas.

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