Joel Dillard

Representing Mississippi Workers



Hancock County sued for retaliating against a breastfeeding mother

A Hancock County Sheriff’s Department corrections officer claims she faced harassment and retaliation when she asked for break time to pump breast milk for her newborn.

Crystal Ford, a law enforcement officer at the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department located in Bay St. Louis, has sued her employer for violating her rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The law requires employers to give nursing mothers breaks in an appropriate place to express breast milk. Ms. Ford claims that the Sheriff’s Department repeatedly denied her breaks to pump and forced her to pump in an employee restroom.

On September 2, 2018, Ms. Ford requested permission to return home to retrieve a part of her breast pump. A deputy told her she could not leave and said that he did not give a f--k about Ms. Ford’s emergency. When she attempted to leave, Ms. Ford was locked into the prison facility and mocked over the prison speaker system.

Ms. Ford developed a mastitis infection due to her inability to pump regularly at work. For her health, Ms. Ford took a demotion to a part-time, on-call job, but she was rarely called into work. She later asked to return full time but was not rehired.

According to Mississippi attorney Joel F. Dillard, who is representing Ms. Ford in the lawsuit, The rules are clear: Employers must allow women to nurture their children by pumping at work. Those rules were broken and ignored by the Sheriff’s Department. Ms. Ford is suing to enforce these rules, which should protect every mother and child.

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