Jury Awards $3.8 Million to Tucson Firefighter Over Nursing Mothers Rights

A federal court jury in Arizona has awarded a Tucson firefighter $3.8 million in damages for the department’s failure to accommodate her needs as a nursing mother. Carrie Clark filed suit in 2014 alleging her fire station did not accommodate her need to express breast milk, and that she was retaliated against once her complaints became known.

The suit alleged violations of the Nursing Mothers Act (which is part of the Fair Labor Standards Act), gender discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, and retaliation.  The jury found the city liable on four counts: gender discrimination (disparate treatment), violating the Nursing Mothers Act, and retaliation under both gender discrimination and the Nursing Mothers Act. The breakdown on damages is:

  • $50,000 – Gender discrimination
  • $1.85 million – Gender discrimination retaliation
  • $50,000 – Nursing Mother’s Act (FLSA)
  • $1.85 million – FLSA retaliation

Here is the jury verdict form that was submitted by the jury

The jury rendered its verdict last Friday. Here is an earlier post about the suit. The original suit was filed in Pima County Superior Court, but it was removed to federal court due to the federal issues in the case.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
x

Check Also

Fatal Collision Prompts Suit in Mississippi

The family of a man killed in a collision with a responding fire chief in Mississippi last year, has filed suit against the county fire council and the chief. Kenneth Fitzgerald was killed when the vehicle he was riding in collided with a Ford F-350 owned by the Jones County Volunteer Fire Department Council and operated by Fire Chief Anthony Pitts of the Soso Volunteer Fire Department.

Cleveland Lieutenants Allege Disparate Impact Bias on Captain’s Exam

Twenty-four fire lieutenants with the Cleveland Fire Department are suing the city alleging that the results of a recent captain’s exam produced such a statistical imbalance that it violates federal anti-discrimination guidelines. While such an claim, referred to as disparate impact discrimination, is hardly precedent setting, what is unusual is that white firefighters are making it.