Former Delaware KFC franchise worker, Autumn Lampkins wins $1.5m after filing gender discrimination lawsuit after being demoted after complaining about not being able to breastfeed.
A jury has ruled that Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) franchisee must pay over $1.5 million to a former Delaware employee who claimed being harassed and demoted after wanted to pump her breast milk.
The News Journal reports Autumn Lampkins, 27, was awarded $25,000 in compensatory damages and $1.5 million in punitive damages Friday following her gender discrimination suit.
The former female worker’s filed lawsuit stated co-workers and supervisors at KFC and KFC/Taco Bell restaurants made it so difficult for Lampkins to breastfeed during her shift that her milk supply dried up.
Documents showed the woman being hired months after giving birth in 2014 and only allowed to pump about once during each 10-hour training shift. The lawsuit says Lampkins was demoted and struggled- with co-workers complaining she got ‘breaks’ to pump breast milk.
At the time of her employment, Lampkins claimed being assured that breastfeeding wouldn’t be a problem at work.
Autumn Lampkins treated differently because she had to lactate:
Upon commencing work at the franchise, filed documents stated Lampkins pumping in a single-stall bathroom before being asked instead to pump in the manager’s office. A practice the worker found debilitating as there was a surveillance camera in the room that Lampkins was told could not be turned off.
She claimed that she wasn’t regularly able to pump at work and when she could, she rarely had any privacy because of the windows and surveillance cameras in the restaurant, according to the lawsuit.
As a result of not being free to pump as much as she wanted, Lampkins alleged she suffered physical pain and was forced to move her baby on to formula earlier than planned.
She sued for gender discrimination and harassment experienced at two of the Delaware KFC restaurants she worked at.
‘It’s a great day for women’s rights. The jury sent a message that employers cannnot treat lactating women differently in the workplace,’ Lampkins’ attorney Patrick Gallagher said.
However, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, there’s a limit on compensatory and punitive damages against employers with a cap of $300,000, as per the Journal.