Woman awarded more than $1.5M in breastfeeding discrimination case against KFC

A jury has ruled that a Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise must pay a former Delaware employee more than $1.5 million in a discrimination case filed after she said she was demoted for wanting to pump breast milk. 

According to a report by The News Journal, Autumn Lampkins was awarded $25,000 in compensatory damages and $1.5 million in punitive damages Friday.

Lampkins, who was hired a few months after giving birth in 2014, claimed in the lawsuit that she was demoted and faced discrimination from co-workers and supervisors at KFC and KFC/Taco Bell for trying to pump breast milk at work. 

Lampkins said in the lawsuit that she was only allowed to pump about once during each 10-hour training shift resulting in her milk supply ultimately drying up. She had been recommended to pump once every two hours.

ADVERTISEMENT

She also argued in her case that when she was able to pump during shifts, she lacked privacy because of windows and surveillance cameras in the restaurants. Lampkins first pumped in a bathroom before being asked to use the manager's office, which had a surveillance camera that supervisors refused to turn off.

After training, Lampkins was transferred to another restaurant, where co-workers reportedly complained she got "breaks" to pump breast milk, and she was demoted.

The jury ruled Friday that Lampkins proved she suffered discrimination at the two Delaware restaurants and agreed with gender discrimination and harassment claims laid out in the lawsuit.  

"It's a great day for women's rights," one of Lampkins's attorneys told The News Journal. "The jury sent a message that employers cannot treat lactating women differently in the workplace."