An Oregon mom recently settled a gender discrimination and harassment case against her former employer, Velocitel, Inc. after she was harassed for nursing at work. The amount and terms are undisclosed.
Monica Van De Pitte asserted that she was “mooed” by colleagues when she pumped breast milk at work. She also alleged that a picture of a cow was taped to the door of the supply room where she and another mother were forced to pump.
When the company hired Ms. Van De Pitte, she told them she would need flexibility because she had two small children and was still nursing a 1-year-old son. She needed a private space to pump during the day. On her first day of work, Ms. Van De Pitte learned from another nursing mother that the “private nursing room” was a supply closet. She was told to keep her breast pump hidden because other employees thought it was “gross.” Employees at Velocitel openly discussed their sex lives; one colleague was nicknamed “The Walking HR Violation” because of his hostile and harassing conduct. He pretended to “honk” at female employees’ breasts. When she approached the man to discuss her discomfort, he just “snickered” at her concerns. When she complained to her supervisors, Ms. Van De Pitte was told she needed to “privately reflect on why sexual conversations made her uncomfortable.” Ms. Van De Pitte quit after her bosses told everyone that she complained about sexual harassment.