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Breastfeeding teacher, ACLU sue charter school

9:27 PM, Aug 15, 2011   |    comments
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Heather Burgbacher and the ACLU have filed a discrimination lawsuit against a local charter school.

Burgbacher spent five years teaching technology at the Rocky Mountain Academy of Evergreen. She says her contract was not renewed this year because she pumped her breasts for milk while at work.

"I still have days where I can't believe this is happening at this day and age," Burgbacher said.

Back in August 2010, Burgbacher says she approached the director of her school, letting him know she would need 20 minutes three days a week to pump for breast milk.

"He was receptive to the idea in August," she said.

Burgbacher figured she could find someone to fill her shoes in the classroom while she was out pumping, and she did. A few months later, that person apparently did not want to do it anymore.

Burgbacher says the human resources director asked Burgbacher to use some of her time off to make up for her breastfeeding time.

She also says the director recommended she supplement her child's breast milk with formula.

"It's not an employer's place to dictate how I nourish my child," Burgbacher said.

Jeffco Public Schools only had a one line response in regards to the allegation: "The teacher's separation from the school had nothing to do with the issue."

"These are completely new statements that they've made now that they know their under the gun," ACLU Attorney Rebecca Wallace said.

Wallace says a law was passed in Colorado in 2008 to protect women from issues such as this one.

"It says employers need to make reasonable accommodations for their employees who want to return to work, breast feed their child and pump their breasts at work," Wallace explained.

It could take a couple of months before an actual lawsuit is filed. After that, it could be another couple of months before it goes to court.

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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