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Virginia Breastfeeding Laws

REPORTING VIOLATIONS OF VIRGINIA BREASTFEEDING LAWS:

If you have a question or concern about this law or feel your rights have been violated please email vabreastfeeds@vdh.virginia.gov

If you live in the Hampton Roads area, you many also let CINCH know of your experience, as they are tracking these incidents. Additionally, they offer training to the site where it occurred so that it won’t happen again. – Consortium for Infant and Child Health, CINCH.

VIRGINIA’S GUIDE TO BREASTFEEDING LAWS FOR BUSINESSES

 

SUMMARY OF ENACTED BREASTFEEDING LEGISLATION in VIRGINIA

Va. Code § 2.2-1147.1 (2002, 2015) guarantees a woman the right to breastfeed her child on in any place where the mother is lawfully present, including any location where she would otherwise be allowed on property that is owned, leased or controlled by the state. The bill also stipulates that childbirth and related medical conditions specified in the Virginia Human Rights Act include activities of lactation, including breastfeeding and expression of milk by a mother for her child. (HB 1264, HB 1499)

If you have a question or concern about this law or feel your rights have been violated please email vabreastfeeds@vdh.virginia.gov

Va. Code  18.2-387 (1994) exempts mothers engaged in breastfeeding from indecent exposure laws.

Va. Code 2.2-1147.1 (2002) guarantees a woman the right to breast-feed her child on any property owned, leased or controlled by the state. The bill also stipulates that childbirth and related medical conditions specified in the Virginia Human Rights Act include activities of lactation, including breast-feeding and expression of milk by a mother for her child. (H.B. 1264)

HJ 145 (2002) Encourages employers to recognize the benefits of breastfeeding and to provide unpaid break time and appropriate space for employees to breast-feed or express milk.

Va. Chapter No. 195 (2005) Provides that a mother who is breast-feeding a child may be exempted from jury duty upon her request. The mother need not be “necessarily and personally responsible for a child or children 16 years of age or younger requiring continuous care . . . during normal court hours” as the existing statute provides.

 

Comments (18)

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    Bess Kennedy

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    Is there a fine when employers don’t comply with the federal or this state law HJ 145 (2002) ?

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      Kate Noon

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      No fine at the state or federal level. HJ 145 is what is known as a resolution, and it is not an enforceable law by any means. The language is also “encourages” – not requires or mandates, so employers are not bound by this law. The federal law provides protection to some but not all mothers. For example hourly workers at a business of 50+ employees are covered, but salaried workers or anyone working somewhere with less than 50 employees are not. More info on federal law here: http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs73.htm
      Efforts are being made to strengthen VA’s pumping law. To get involved, check out the FB group VA Alliance for Breastfeeding Laws. Through out FB page you can also access attorneys who provide free info and advisement on resolving breastfeeding related issues and the law.

      Reply

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    Louise

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    The breastfeeding law card link doesn’t work – I really want some for an upcoming event!

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      vabreastfeeding

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      We don’t have a link to the card, but will announce if a new card is going to be made on our Facebook page. Thank you for letting us know about the link!

      Reply

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    BI

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    Is it legal or not to discriminate a breastfeeding mom from a private owned property under the last amendment to the law?

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      Kate Noon

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      Under the 2015 amendment to the VA right to breastfeed law, a mother has a right to breastfeed in ANY place open to the public that she has a right to be. So if the mother is legally present (not trespassing, not at a private club where she is not a member or guest), she can breastfeed. If the mother is asked to stop, leave, move, or cover then that is a violation of the law. The law does not apply to private residences (ex. Inside your neighbors house). Hope that is helpful in clarifying the law.

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    Bill Parker

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    are public buildings (i.e. community centers or theaters) required to make a private space available to mothers needing to breastfeed, other than restrooms?

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      vabreastfeeding

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      Virginia law protects mothers nursing anywhere they are allowed to legally be to breastfeed. They do not have to go into restrooms. Businesses do not have to provide a space.

      Reply

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    C BROWN

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    Are there any laws restricting our supporting the storage of breast milk in the workplace?

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    Thomas S

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    I hear there is a woman suing a church in NOVA over being asked to cover up or use a private room for breastfeeding. She refused – is this what you wanted? People to sue churches insisting they have the right to whip out their boobs in public? The internal policies of churches being dictated by people who decide they have the right to tell everyone else what everyone else should be comfortable with?

    That’s going to be an interesting test case.

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    sarah c marshall

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    Hello.
    I am contacting you as a business owner who runs a nanny agency in Richmond and am doing a post on breast feeding babies in restaurants, not in restrooms. I was in a restaurant yesterday and asked the proprietor about their policy and he said that was fine with them but mentioned an ABC law that prohibits women from breastfeeding in restaurants as a health and safety issue. I am keen to know if that is correct as i don’t wish to misquote.

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      vabreastfeeding

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      If you have a question or concern about this law or feel your rights have been violated please email vabreastfeeds@vdh.virginia.gov

      Reply

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    misty

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    Legally does my employer need to give me separate breaks, aside from the breaks they already provide me as an employee, to pump? or do I have to use those breaks towards pumping? i.e. my employer gives every employee a 30 minute lunch and two 15 minute breaks. do I have to use those for pumpinf, or does my employer have to provide me with separate breaks for pumping specifically?

    Reply

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    Michael Welch

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    Do these law apply is you are out eating at a restaurant?

    Reply

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