May 20, 2014 — Many courts lack the resources and policies needed to accommodate jurors who are breastfeeding, the Los Angeles Times reports.
For example, Los Angeles County Superior Court, which encompasses 38 courthouses and relied on 425,000 jurors in the last fiscal year, does not have designated lactation rooms for jurors. Further, a court spokesperson said that while the court tries to accommodate lactating jurors, it does not have an official policy on the matter.
Although California law allows lactating women to postpone jury duty for one year, those who choose not to defer are often at the mercy of individual judges, resulting in "inconsistent and uncomfortable" situations, according to the Times. Some women have been allowed to use judges' chambers or clerks' offices to pump, while others are told to use the bathroom stalls, which is unsanitary. In some cases, breaks are too short or infrequent for pumping.
While federal law mandates that employers with at least 50 employees provide private space other than a bathroom and sufficient breaks to breastfeeding employees, jurors are not considered employees of the court and, thus, are not entitled to those accommodations (Knoll, Los Angeles Times, 5/17).