William & Mary Business Law Review


Brit Mohler


In June of 2009, the 111th Congress was asked again to consider the Breastfeeding Promotion Act. During that year, for the first time in history, the Senate also took up consideration of the issue, and the President of the United States signed into legislation a portion of the Act as included in a healthcare bill. The Breastfeeding Promotion Act is meant to protect a woman’s right to breastfeed in the workplace. The Act accomplishes this goal by: amending the Civil Rights Act to ensure that breastfeeding will be considered a protected act in the workplace, amending the Fair Labor Standards Act to require large employers to provide space and time for breastfeeding when it is reasonable to do so, and providing a tax credit to businesses that adopt workplace friendly breastfeeding support measures. This Note examines the benefits of breastfeeding, why breastfeeding is an issue in the workplace, and which portions of the Breastfeeding Promotion Act sufficiently respond to the issues women face without unnecessary governmental interference. This Note will also discuss the ways in which the Act goes too far and would impose a burden on society that likely does not match the benefits to be gained from its provisions. Namely, this Note will conclude that the tax credit provisions suggested in the Breastfeeding Promotion Act would impose too great a financial burden on the American taxpayers in light of the inconclusive nature of many breastfeeding studies. This Note concludes that the appropriate measure for workplace breastfeeding support is exactly as it stands—federal support in the form of equitable relief for those obstructing a woman's right to breastfeed, with financial support left to an employer's individual discretion.